Who Am I?
Ah, the most basic question we ask ourselves as humans is also a crucial question to ask as we create a character. Sometimes the information is stated by the script and other times it needs to be created by finding clues in the text. Some things to ask: how old am I? What is my race, my religion, my cultural affiliation? Where do I live? What time do I live in? What is my education? My socio-economic status? What kind of family do I come from? All these factors shape the character just as they shape us in life. If you are a person of Jewish descent living in New York in 2017, your experience is very different than that of a Jewish person living in Berlin in 1939. If you are female, your experience is very different in 2010 than in 1642. If you are a police officer your world view will different than that of a debutante, an artist or a philosophy professor. If you can find a few contextual clues, you can begin to fill in missing pieces. For example, a college professor would have attained a master’s degree or doctorate and would have somehow had to have the financial means to pay for it. A coal miner would likely have come from a culture or family that left him few, if any, other options. How would that upbringing shape his world view? Once you are clear on who you are, you can relax and let the lines take care of themselves.