Thursday, November 24, 2011



Slightly over a week ago I got a chance to spend some time on the other side of an audition floor and despite being involved in TV and Film productions before, I realized that I have never really watched actors auditioning from such a perspective. Being in that position allowed me to observe several unique and, I believe, important insights into actor behaviors and alas, some actor misconceptions. But I digress, the audition came after a very interesting class by Neil Schell about ‘character’ and how actors can understand the concept and use this understanding to interpret their roles. And that is what this blog post is about:


Though meanings of words vary from use to use depending on circumstance, intention and context. It is likely your understanding of ‘character’ in relation to its use within film, is closely related to one or all of the following meanings:
- The Mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual
- The quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way
- Strength and originality in a person's nature
- A person in a novel, play, or movie
- A part played by an actor

The word's ancient precursor is the Latin term kharakter which referred to ‘a stamping tool’ similar to the unique seals used in early times to identify and distinguish families and institutions. Ostensibly, character is supposed to distinguish one person from another and in this particular instance, one actor from the other. 

Johnny Depp and some of the most famous characters he has brought to our cinema screens. From left. Johnny Depp himself, Willy Wonka, Edward Scissorhands, The Mad Hatter, Todd Sweeney, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Anybody see a pattern?