Tips for Drama Actors – Creating a Character Biography

by on January 23rd, 2015
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When I was preparing to write this article, I kept getting flashbacks to my high school drama class. While this class was almost a decade ago, the lessons learned have stuck with me throughout all this time. One of the most effective character development skills my teacher taught me was to make a character biography. When you are getting ready to perform a dramatic role, it is vital that you have a solid understanding of your character, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by writing a character biography.

Character’s Childhood

When you’re reviewing your character, you must think of him as an actual person – not some fictitious personality. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by writing out a childhood biography for him. When you think back on your childhood, there were certain circumstances and situations that helped shape who you are as an adult. The same is true for your character. The childhood biography can be as long and detailed as you desire, and the years covered can vary; however, I find that the most effective character biographies are those that cover a childhood from birth to age 15.

Relationships with Others

This portion of a character’s biography is often overlooked by actors. While this isn’t exactly a “history” of a person, it is vital to get a true understanding of who your character is. When delving into this aspect of a character, try to be as detailed as possible. How does he interact with his family? What dynamics are involved within his relationships? Does he put up a wall with this friends and family? If so, why? Answering these, and other, questions about your character will give you a well-rounded approach to the script as well as in character choices.

Goals and Dreams

We all have goals and dreams. Since you’re reading this article, you probably have a goal or dream of becoming a professional actor. This dream may go deeper as you may want to become a famous actor or a working actor. Our goals and dreams are the fuel to our life’s fire. It’s what inspires us to get out of bed and do great things with our life. Sometimes, our goals and dreams are not realized, either by choice or circumstance. And these situations help to further mold us into who we are today. The same can be said about your character. I find that uncovering my character’s goals and dreams helps make him more human, so much so I often sympathize with my characters – a very interesting experience, that’s for sure.

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