Thespian Lifestyle

14 Brilliant Ways to Get Into Character

Although landing your dream role can be an exciting moment (to say the least), it’s actually just a tiny piece of the puzzle. But now comes the fun part – stepping into someone else’s shoes! Sometimes it can be a challenge to fully get into character, but we have you covered with 10 brilliant ways to do so.

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1. Make use of a scent.

Pick a specific cologne, perfume, or simple scent that your character might like or wear. But only use it when transitioning into that role. However, out of politeness, only use a tiny bit of it, and don’t use it right before the show. You don’t want any sensitive noses to get all sneezy. Because of this, a dab-on scent would be better than a spray-on scent.

2. Use a photo trigger.

Find or create a mini photo of someone your character holds dear. Put the photo in your wallet and reflect on it for a moment before each show. Or if a photo doesn’t feel quite right, come up with a keepsake that you can use instead.

3. Read a book.

Find a book or magazine that your character would be interested in reading, and keep it in your rehearsal bag. This way, if you need to unwind while on break, you can at least read the same type of material that your character would read.

4. People watch.

Sit in a public place or watch candid videos on YouTube. Notice how different people act in specific situations. And specifically scope out people who have something in common with the character you’re trying to adopt.

5. Alter your style.

Consider a slight alteration in your everyday style in order to ease the transition into your character. For example, if you play a character who is sweet and innocent, you could try removing that nose ring in order to better understand the world through their eyes.

6. Talk to others.

Find friends or family members who may have gone through something similar to what your character has gone through. Ask them how they dealt with it. Maybe their insights will help give you a new outlook on your role.

7. Accessorize.

Pick a specific accessory or piece of jewelry that your character always wears (of course with the approval of the director). And put this piece on as the last step of your ritual to help you get into character.

8. Get physical.

Think about the way your character holds themself physically. Do they have any nervous ticks? Is their posture upright or more hunched over? Do they take up a lot of space while sitting? Establish some basics and make sure to begin getting into this physical zone before each rehearsal or performance.

9. Work together.

Have a discussion with your fellow castmates about the possibility of all getting into character together (before a show or rehearsal). It’s going to be much easier to make that transition if you know that everyone else is transitioning exactly 30 minutes before the start of the rehearsal or performance too.

10. Want something.

Remind yourself of what it is that your character wants and needs. Take a few quiet moments to reflect on these desires and really internalize them before stepping fully into their shoes.

11. Alter your playlists.

Create a playlist that is specifically for the purpose of helping you get into character. Choose songs that are reflective of not only the time period, but also the character’s personality and place in life. And speaking of playlists, have you checked out Theatre Trip’s Spotify playlists➝ yet!?

12. Keep calm.

It’s important to learn how to calm yourself before taking on a new persona. And the process for doing so is different for everyone. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, dancing or drinking tea, find your sense of calm and use it as preparation. Here are some extra tips and ideas on how to calm pre-performance nerves.

13. Know your lines.

The sooner you know your lines, the faster you can get into the juicy stuff. Although the simple act of knowing your lines won’t necessarily cause you to get into character, it will allow you to play around and make new discoveries that might not have been possible when still on book.

14. Let go.

Although some of these tips and tricks may prove to be helpful, overthinking can also be a distraction. Remind yourself to let go and allow the character to come naturally rather than forcing it.

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And how do you get into character?

We would love to hear all about your process and ideas in the comments below! If you end up trying and loving one of these ideas, feel free to share that as well! And if you’re looking for ways to further improve your craft, you can browse through our massive list of international acting programs!

Stacy Karyn, Author of How to Get Into Character.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


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