There are several techniques used for acting, Brooke Williams says. One is not better than another, and great actors have used all the methods, she adds. However, one popular technique that’s probably used more than any other is called method acting, which is based on the principles of Stanislavsky*, adds Brooke Williams. It’s a technique that was made famous in the 1930s by actor and director, Lee Strasberg, at the Actors Studio in New York.
Brooke Williams says method acting is one that uses a wide range of approaches, which allows the actor to understand better the emotions and feelings of the person he is portraying. “This technique allows you to bring your own experiences to the table,” Brooke Williams says, “and you use those experiences to better relate to your character.” Method acting lets you get into the character’s head, she adds, so the audience sees a real person there.
When learning method acting, Brooke Williams says this technique is one of the more challenging ones. First, she recommends a complete analysis of your character, so you completely and unequivocally understand him. Your goal is to not only understand their motivations but also to understand what they most desire.
Brooke Williams says you also will want to learn the character’s past. You’ll want to know how this person reacted to different things in his past and how these emotions have formed the “person” he is today. Developing this back story, Brooke Williams says, will help you connect more deeply with the character, no matter what the situation is.
Next, Brooke Williams says to think of times in your past to determine how that character would react. Then determine what would cause you to act as the character does. In other words, what “script” is running through that character’s head that causes him to be the way he is? Once you have identified the true emotions your character feels, see if you can recall a time in your own life that you felt similar.
Brooke says learning a character this way requires hours and hours of contemplation on the actor’s part. It takes a deep look inside to determine your character’s personality and how your personality relates to his. “The goal,” Brooke Williams says, “is to get out of the ‘acting’ stage and into the ‘being’ stage, where you can actually ‘become’ the character. At that point, the audience will see the real person that the character has become, which is the whole point of great acting.”