You know those introductory acting classes where there’s a drama teacher telling a bunch of her students to scream, or cry, or tap into their emotions? And they all do and look like a bunch of wild animals? Anyway, I’ve never been in one of those classes, but I’ve seen actors do these kind of exercises and while I don’t doubt that this is beneficial in some way, I gotta admit—I think it’s weird, slightly creepy, and makes me wanna laugh and say, “Oh my God, what freaks!”
I know, that’s kind of mean, and I swear I’m not a mean person. But I’m also a bit of a wallflower and the idea of displaying that kind of uninhibited emotion in front of others makes me squeamish.
However, here’s what I have been doing lately.
I’ve been depressing myself…on purpose. *audience laughs and screams, “Oh my God, what a freak!”*
That’s right, that’s right, people. Pipe down. It’s…uh, perfectly normal. Right? Okay, here’s my explanation:
So, I’ve been having crazy trouble with my WIP. Not just the hoarding mess I told you guys about before, but it’s also taken me longer than usual to figure out this main character. I mean, really figure her out ‘cause she’s been fighting me for some reason. But, finally, finally, I have a good idea of who she is and what she’s dealing with and now I’m thrilled that I’m finally getting more to the heart of the story, the parts that up until now sounded too…generic, contrived, or just off somehow. But while I’m thrilled and excited that it’s finally coming together how I envisioned, excitement and happiness is not what I want to infuse into these scenes. I need to be in that melancholic state that makes sense for my character (at least for these particular scenes) so her voice sounds genuine. So, what do I do? Listen to some straight up depressing ass music and try to feel what she’s feeling. Note: try to do this at home instead of the crowded coffee shop where the funny faces you try not to make as you try not to cry as you’re typing away tend to elicit the same funny looks you’d get if you just started sobbing and screaming, “WHY! WHY! WHY!”
Anyway, my point is, this seems to be a form of “getting into character,” which sounds a little weird, but seems to work well for me and this particular character. Though, I do have to be careful not to give in to some melodramatic tendencies. How about you, have you ever gotten into character, depressed yourself on purpose, or thought, Oh my God, what freaks!
Feel free to judge me…
Follow me on Twitter @jetchez