3 Acting Tips to Make Your Character to Come to Life

Guess what? Somehow in the past three years, I’ve published almost 300 blog posts. *mind blown*

Anyway, since I’ve posted about writing mostly these past few months, I’m going to blog in a category I haven’t yet: acting.

These tips are just from my experience as an actress. I’m not famous, haven’t been on Broadway, or gotten my own show, but I have had experience in plays, film (growing up a media-maker’s daughter), and watching plenty of informational YouTube videos.

Disclaimer: When I say make them come to life, please do not mistake me for Dr. Frankenstein. We are actors, not scientists. What I mean is how to make them come to life through your acting. Thank you.

1. Backstory

Even the smallest characters who only have one line, or perhaps none at all, have a backstory. Think about this when you’re acting in the scenes. Yes, even if you’re playing a tree.

The way your character has lived before the script was created affects everything in the scenes they’re in. Sometimes, the writers have already created a backstory. Build on that through dialogue and blocking.

Think about how their scenes make them react. If they had a traumatic experience with their brother choking on a cookie, and her friend’s mom offers chocolate chip cookies, she may have a flash of horror then politely disagree. Of course, make sure it actually has something to do with the script, like if there was a scene later that night when your character tells her friend about the incident. Don’t take over the script, either! Just subtle hints here and there make your character come alive.

2. Interpretation

I’m going to show you an exercise I did with my brother to get him ready for the auditions for the church play. Read over a few of your lines. Now, take the character you’re auditioning for/playing and write down four traits you see in them from the dialogue.

Read it again, this time, using your motions and tone of voice to show those traits. One thing I see in a lot of young or new actors is they simply read the lines they’re given. Do not do this. Read the action tags, incorporate them with your lines. Take sighs when you’re sad. Smile when you’re happy. Tapping in to your character’s emotions will make them come alive. 

3. Really, really love it

Love acting. Love your character, no matter how small or large the part is. Love the emotions, and play on them. Just really have a good time, and it will bleed into your performance. I see a lot of people doing acting because “why not” or “I hate all the other classes for this period”. Don’t. Just really, really love it. The fact that you’re reading articles about acting already shows part of your commitment. Live it. That will make your character come alive.

I hope this helps you with your acting! If you liked this post, leave a comment or share it on social media!

Do you want more acting posts? Let me know what kinds of posts you would like! Maybe a theatre/film FAQ, or a BTS of how a theater or film production works?