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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz
By Adam Hill
Acting In order to overcome obstacles,
you must be willing to ask
yourselves the right questions
that will help you get past them
and master your craft
T here are ﬁve basic questions that must be an-
swered when approaching any character: Who
am I? Where am I? What is my relationship with
the people around me? What do I want? What is
preventing me from getting what I want? Acting
is not acting, it’s being. Just as you are able to answer these
questions about yourself, so must you be able to answer
these questions for you character.
There are two magical words in acting: speciﬁc and clar-
ity. So, let’s be speciﬁc and clear in how you are to approach
1. WHO AM I?
Identify your character from the information supplied in
the script. Name, age, background, anything the author tells
you. From there on it is up to you to ﬁll in the blanks.
Studying human nature and people is a required aspect of
becoming an actor.
Your character is as unique as you. All characters are
physically, emotionally, and psychologically different from
us and each other. We share some traits. Those are givens.
What we work on as actors is what is different. In terms of
the physical, if your character is a blond and you are a
blond, you don’t have to do anything. However, if your
character is a redhead and you’re a blond, you need to do
something. Buy a wig or dye your hair. The same is true if
your character is by nature an angry person and you aren’t,
you must do something to be true to that character. I sug-
DRIVEN: Robert De Niro actually got a taxi license to understand his character for
his role in “Taxi Driver.” On break while ﬁlming, the actor literally drove around New
York City in a cab as a Taxi Driver.
gest to the beginning actor to make list of your character’s
likes and dislikes, what your character can and can’t do, and
personality characteristics. Get to know who you’re playing
so you may eventually embody that character.
Build your character’s history. The more you learn about
them the more speciﬁc that history will become. Depend-
ing on the complexities of these characters, seasoned actors
can sometime spend months on research. A new actor
should spend at least some hours doing the same.
2. WHERE AM I?
This question has to do with place, atmosphere, and ob-
jects. Wherever you may be reading this article, that place
is having an effect on you. It is most likely subtle, but still
you can’t help but be affected by your surroundings no mat-
ter how slight. Imagine if you were reading this article on a
ﬂight during turbulence. What if you were reading at the
beach on a blazing hot summer’s day? Imagine if this mag-
azine were 20 pounds heavier. Every actor must investigate
our characters’ environment, the props they are using, and
the effects these have on what they’re doing and feeling.
3. WHAT IS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PEOPLE
Personalization is paramount in acting. Think of how
you behave around different people. Your boss, your par-
ents, your friends, your siblings, your enemies, those you
identify with and those you don’t. When you speak to these