How To Analyze A Character & Play It Perfectly

Do actors play a character, or do they play themselves as a character? That is the eternal question an actor faces when analyzing a written character and deciding how best to portray it. And while this process of analysis is the primary job of an actor; there are no hard and fast rules of how to do it.

Different actors have different methods. Take some of the world’s most iconic and accomplished actors. Some, like Aamir Khan, use ‘method acting’; where they immerse themselves in the skin of the character. They try and live their characters by behaving and embodying the part. Like Robert De Niro’s famous portrayal of the boxer in Raging Bull, for which he went through not just an emotional and psychological transformation, but also a physical variation by putting on and loosing weight.

Then there are more instinctive actors who try and find aspects of their own personalities in the characters they are to play. An acting giant such as Meryl Streep is one such actor, who relies completely on instinct (not preparation in advance), to play her characters. Says she, “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” Similarly, Craig MacDonald is of the opinion that, “The best acting is instinctive. It’s not intellectual, it’s not mechanical, it’s instinctive.”

 Whatever your method may be – getting into the skin of the character, or playing it by instinct; one thing that runs common in playing any character, is a certain amount of analysis. And it is that analysis in which an actor’s interpretive powers come in. Its all about creative imagination, with a caveat of being realistic. Actors and their interpretations will always vary. Take the film Ghajni for example – while Surya played the memory-loss protagonist in the Tamil original a certain way, the same character was played very differently by Aamir Khan in the hindi blockbuster remake. Which was better, is also a matter of subjective opinion.

What however is not a matter of debate, is that learning the true art of character analysis and portrayal, requires years of training. And this process ought to be studied in a scientific and methodical manner. Reading books, observing great actors, are things that will always help. But by taking a program at an accomplished film academy will instill an erudite, informed, and in depth manner of really getting into the character analysis process, and then manifesting those learnings in an engaging performance.

Aspiring actors in India today have that opportunity in the form of world class film academies, that will hone their raw skills and polish them to shine like sparkling diamonds. Give your passion for acting the education it deserves, and see your creativity flourish… after all…

Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.
~ Bette Davis

 

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