One technique I have used throughout the years on stage or screen has been the “inner monologue.” In the development of characters, I find that this is such a vital component to the process. I think all actors use this to a degree but may call it different names, depending upon how it was taught or learned. For me, my acting maestro Sandra Ellenburg-Dorsey taught from a foundation that “it’s about life, not lines” and instructs students to approach the craft from this point.
This is where the inner monologue has great power in shaping the actor’s choices in the moment. I find that it must be a laser focused stream of thought that invokes the needs of the character or some parallel emotional stimuli; so much so that the inner monologue will sometimes bleed into the dialogue of the script. In fact, it should be on the very tip of your tongue. This brings the actor into the moment of the scene and breathes life into the urgency of the character’s needs. I would invite you to try verbalizing this in between takes or during rehearsal. After all, it really is the basis of improvisation in character. Give it a shot and get ready to shoot your best take yet.
I find that it must be a laser focused stream of thought that invokes the needs of the character or some parallel emotional stimuli, so much so that the inner monologue will sometimes bleed into the dialogue of the script. In fact, it should be on the very tip of your tongue.
I have had instances where I was preparing for a role and developing my inner monologue only to discover “life-beats” and emotional catalysts that I asked the director if I could try out as we shot. In some cases, the add from my IM was a welcomed part of the on-screen creation, while in other instances it was appreciated but not implemented. None-the-less, it was still something I could use in my character development and internalizing of the character’s depth.
That’s just scratching the surface. Like I’ve said before, “There’s so much more to it,” but that’s a good thought to leave with you that are looking for help in building a foundation for a character. Thanks for checking in! Blessings!