Character creation is one of the most challenging aspects of any actor’s career. Not only do you have to create physicality for this person or thing, you then have to give them a voice and understand the forces that drive them to act the way you’ve chosen. While daunting at first, there are steps you can take to develop a strong character without burning yourself out.
Read the text you’re given. If the text mentions anything outside of its world, look into that material. Find out what you can about the character. If you aren’t given specifics about age or where they were born, come up with something. When were they born? What was their family like? Where there any events that shaped them growing up? These are all important questions that provide you the color palette from which you will paint this character.
To keep the scope limited, find three physical ticks this character has. The best place to look is the script. Often time, other characters will comment on how this character acts. Maybe they even mention some physical things. If it’s a short and you need to develop a strong character really quickly, what are three words that define your character? How do you then embody those traits? If they’re happy, your character will most definitely smile. If they’re not confident, maybe then slouch.
Finally, add your voice. Feel how all of the physicality has affected your thinking. Look at the words you character uses. Is it mostly positive or negative? Are you young or old? Is it verbose and grandiose or short and sweet? Though this may be the least developed aspect of the character, it’s the icing on the cake when it aligns with everything else.