As much as we admire and look up to the masters such as Johnny Lever, Boman Irani or Vijay Raaz for their effortless ability for playing characters, we must know that these actors work very hard. The very first step to playing a character is to know the character, so research! A good in-depth research is the foundation of your new persona.
You should know your work inside out because every little detail plays a crucial role in forming your character and to make your audience believe in it. So for starters, some questions you should ask yourself are – “What sort of childhood did this character have??”, “What are their ambitions?”, “Why do they act the way they do?”. Basically, try to know your character as well as you know yourself.
Physicality and Psychology:
You would often observe people having a unique body language and ways to do things. Some people use hand gestures a lot while some would always keep their hands in their pockets, different people will react differently if you call their name from afar. To play a character, you need to learn and develop such ‘habits’ for the character. The way they walk, hold things, turn around or simply how they smile. All these physical aspects are related to a person’s emotions, so learning basic psychology will help you understand a lot.
Now that you’ve learned to get inside your character, the next challenge is to do a scene or step in an audition as the required personality. You need to learn to disassociate your real self and think with your character’s mind. You need to have new goals and desires, thinking “What is it that I want?” , “Where am I headed to?”. The key to be successful at it is to practice your character.
Start observing, researching, and exercising new characters. Create scenarios, write lines, or simply get any script available on the internet and start practicing. A more efficient way of practicing would be doing it with others – join a theater group, try improv theater/comedy, or simply do it with your friends. This way, you’ll be able to eliminate nervousness, stage fright, and hence be more comfortable in your new skin. If these are not possible, the ever-green practicing in front of your mirror works best!
It still won’t work until you really believe in yourself. A little bit of nervousness, or not being prepared will 100% reflect on your character. So it’s very important to communicate it to yourself that you have to believe in it, so that the audience believes in it and buys it.s