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Nicole Linger / The Six ‘W’s of Character Creation Creating a believable character as an actor is about far more than simply reading a script and requires the actor to lose themselves in some way, in order to let the character they are playing become real. Every single situation we encounter in life triggers some form of emotional reaction, be that large or small, happy or sad, excited or nervous, curious or any of the many human emotions. The key to creating a believable character is twofold – first the actor must suppress their own natural emotional reaction, then they must imagine how their character would react and convey that. Nicole Linger is an actress and advocate of positive psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on playing to our strengths, rather than overcoming our weaknesses. Practitioners of positive psychology have been shown to be more creative and less prone to anxiety. Through using positive psychology techniques, Nicole Linger is able to strengthen her performances, drawing on inner creativity and asking the six questions relating to character creation – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. In many cases, actors are able to draw information in answer to these questions from the script itself. Filling in the blanks requires using the power of imagination and the ability to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes. Thinking beyond what the character is actually saying, to the reasons why they might be saying something helps actors to flesh out their roles, creating convincing characters. Truly great actors are able to immerse themselves fully in each role they play, to some extent actually becoming that character for a period of time. To do this requires research, practice and imagination. Actors such as Nicole Linger will use the script and the stage directions as a guideline, but not as the be all and end all of the character they are playing. Instead, they will dig deeper and ask themselves the reasons why their character may behave in a certain way, what emotional reaction they will have to a particular situation and why that particular reaction is appropriate. It could be related to an incident in the character’s past which the audience know nothing about, or it could relate to an intense emotional state brought on by a trauma, or could even be due to something which has clearly just happened as set out in the script. By using a combination of scripted words, stage directions and a healthy dose of imagination, actors are able to use the six ‘W’s to immerse themselves in a role so fully that the audience believe that their character is actually real.


Nicole Linger / The Six 'W's of Character Creation