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Character Development

What is a Character Breakdown?

Hey everybody! Welcome to the Green Actors Guild. This week, we are talking about Breakdowns, again. No not mental breakdowns but Character Breakdowns. Let’s get it!

Character Breakdowns…

Ok, so we have gone over slate details and we have gone over Audition Breakdowns, but what about the Character? More specifically, the Character Breakdowns. Most of the time with auditions, you have a short turnaround. This means you have a limited amount of time to submit your audition to Casting Directors. Because of the short turnarounds, you have a small amount of time to develop a solid character to portray. How do you handle this? Here are a few tips and tricks on Character Development, with short turnaround times.

How to Develop a Character with the Moment Before

The Moment Before

When it comes to your auditioning scene and the character you are assigned to play, I LOVE the technique of “Moment Before”. What is a moment before you ask? It basically means what happened before the scene.

With audition, you are given your slides, your character description, the character description of your scene partner and that’s it. You won’t know the scene before you, so make it up! Ask yourself questions, on your character’s behalf.

Questions to think about:

  • Was she running late before this scene started?
  • Was it raining and she missed the cab or train?
  • Did her car stop working?
  • Did she run into an ex?
  • Did she like this ex?
  • Is the character mad, sad, or happy in your assigned scene? Well, why are they mad, sad, or angry. The list goes on and on.

To help guide you, I created a Moment Before Journal to help you practice, process, and develop each of your characters. You can find this guide here, on Amazon.com.

Moment Before Journal
Moment Before Journal – Amazon.com

The Backstory

Whenever you book a gig, you end up getting the full script to read. This provides a more in-depth detail to the character and Backstory related. For audition’s sake, you do not have this option. So, you need to create a backstory for audition purposes! More specifically the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

  1. Who:

The questions to ask related to Who:

  • Who am I?
  • Who is this Character?
  • Who are the people in the scene with this character?
  • Are they parents?
  • Are they Siblings?
  • Are they enemies?

2. When:

Examples of questions to ask about When:

  • When is this scene taking place?
  • 1920? 1980?
  • October?
  • Afternoon? Morning?
  • When was the atraumatic event for this character?
  • When was a pivotal moment for this character?
  • How did these moments change them?

3. Where:

Some questions to ask when it comes to Where:

  • Where does this character live?
  • Where does this character work?
  • Do they work?

4. Why:

  • Why is it a beast of its own, so I want to break WHY down in more depth of explanation?

But Why?

Why has three moving parts. The goals, the risk, and the obstacles of a character. All of these contribute to the reasons why a character acts the way they do and why they are driven to be this person…well that and everything else you created.

The Goals – basically what is the intention of the character? Are they trying to find a child? Trying to find a mother or father? Are they trying to grab that dream job? Are they trying to save someone?

The Risks – What are the stakes for the character? What do they stand to lose or gain, while on this hunt for a goal? Will they gain notoriety? Will they lose their sanity? Will they gain a parent or lose a parent? Will they gain a child but lose a lover? Remember these do not have to be physical things or even people, characters can lose emotions, too.

The Obstacles – Finally, what is standing in the characters’ way to achieving their purpose? Do they have a stalker? Did their first love show up the day they were supposed to move for that dream job?

Ending Credits

WE DID IT, GREEN ACTORS. This was a long one but a much-needed talk on Character Development. When you use these tips, you are on your way to building a solid character for every audition.

Like I said before, check out the Moment Before Journal found here on Amazon.com.

I’ll see yall next time!

The Green Actors Guild