Character Actor: Creating a Character

After emailing the video below to the director I just got this email back:
“I didn’t even make it all the way through your video. I love you, I think you are hysterical and believable. I’d love to have you on board.” Sweet! So I guess today the process I describe below worked out for this director. Not every director will love your work, but if you work hard and discover our own process at least you always know you brought YOUR personal best to the table.

Many people have asked me what I do as an actor to create a character. The beauty is that it is a bit different every time depending on the character and the project. Here is an example of my process.

I was asked to improvise a drunken rant by a selfish but not hatable woman named Isabella. The only suggestions were that she may mention her kids, or someone from the country club. It is also a drama, not a comedy. That was all I got. So, I figured that if she has kids she is a bit older and if she goes to the country club she has money. From there I always start with Wardrobe! Wardrobe is the first step, for me, in creating a character. As soon as I step into a different “skin” I begin to feel like the person I am about to portray.

Isabella, I decided, wears pearls and a dress even when she is casually spending time at her home. This decision helps guide her actions and thought patterns. I know she is an alcoholic and that she rants when drunk, but I was not given another character to work with. I decided to make her talk to herself, so to speak, in the form of a video blog. I also think her kids probably try to help her in various ways without coming out and forcing her into rehab, so I inserted that into some of the dialogue. I decided that she doesn’t really intend to show anyone the video so she could say whatever she wants, but since the camera is still on her as a sort of third party that she would not completely let loose. She would “perform” a bit for the camera as she sees herself in the computer.

It’s hard to portray drunk without being comedic, so I tried to remember to keep it as real as possible. Then I just got in a drunken mindset, which I think is one of the hardest things to pull of and make look natural. I’m not a pro at it, but I gave it a good run in this video of Isabella. I decided to make her get progressively more drunk to show range. So if she isn’t always drunk the casting director would get a bit of both. Since she is ultimately very lonely and sad, I tried to convey that in moments but without giving her sadness away.

Here is what I came up with.

Be Silly. Have Fun!

Love and Light,


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