Published on February 13th, 2011 | by Julia1
All About Auditions: Thinking About Character
You found a casting call, submitting yourself and gotten a call; they want you to audition! Yay! They sent you sides — script pages — to learn. Now what?
Acting is about more than just reading the lines on a page. When you’re saying your lines, you have to be in character.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when looking at a script:
Who is my character?
Think of ways to describe your character. Are you smart? Willful? Playful? How old are you? What kinds of things are you afraid of? What kinds of things does your character like to do?
We can get a lot of information about our characters from the Casting Breakdown. For example, we know from the Ruby Skye P.I. casting breakdown that Ruby is a “hyper-curious and self-taught super-sleuth.” We know she’s a great detective! We also know that she’s not exactly the most popular girl in school. All these things give us clues as to who Ruby is.
TIP: Even with clues from the audition sides and the casting breakdown, you won’t always get a lot of information about your character. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination to bring your role to life!
What is my objective?
In every scene, characters have an “objective.” An objective is what the character wants.
Take a look at the audition scene for Ruby Skye. Remember how Ruby gets a lead on Ms. Springer in Chapter 2: Kay Eye Ess Ess? Ruby sees Ms. Springer writing on a piece of paper and notices that she’s uncharacteristically happy.
Ruby wants that piece of paper – it might have the answer she’s looking for. Get the paper! is Ruby’s objective.
What is my motivation?
Your motivation is why your character wants what they want.
Why does Ruby want the paper so much? She thinks Ms. Springer might be behind the scam! She’s worried about Ms. Gooje and her poor starving stuffed animals!
What are my tactics?
Tactics are how the character goes about getting what they want. Your lines will give you clues as to what your tactics are.
Look at this dialogue between Ruby and Vinnie:
RUBY: I’m the class recycling monitor.
VINNIE: Vinnie, janitor.
RUBY: I have to check this bin. I may have been tainted with wax paper.
Ruby is lying to get the paper. Lying is Ruby’s tactic.
Tactics change throughout the scene when your previous tactics don’t work, or when another character says or does something that changes your action.
Vinnie challenges Ruby to a game of Rock Paper Scissors and Ruby accepts the challenge.
Play Rock Paper Scissors becomes Ruby’s tactic to get the paper out of the recycle bin.
Remember, who we are makes each of us think, act and feel in a unique way. Try to think, act and feel how your character would.
All About Auditions is a series of posts. Read them all: Casting Calls, Submitting Yourself, The Lingo, Thinking About Character, Getting Ready for the Big Day and The Audition. When you’ve read all the posts, check out our Audition MashUp to see the actors audition for Ruby Skye P.I.: The Spam Scam.