Throughout my years of working in the entertainment industry as an actor, casting director, production assistant and professional stand-in, I have learned many tips and tricks to help those who wish to enhance their performance. Perhaps one of the most important of these, is understanding how to create a character biography when approaching a new role/character.
The following character biography worksheet is one that I have personally compiled and used for the past several years whenever I’ve approached a new character.
Please feel free to use this worksheet when developing your character, and feel free to add or remove sections at your leisure.
First Section – When?
Within this first section strive to answer all of the following questions as detailed as possible.
· What year is it? · What month(s) does the story take place? · What time of day is each scene your character in? · How is the weather within each individual scene? · How does the time of year, month and time of day of each scene affect your character?
Second Section – Who?
· What is the personal history of my character? · What is my self-perception? · What is my moral self-perception? · What is my mental self-perception? · What is my social self-perception? · What is my spiritual self-perception? · What do I wear in each of the scenes? · What are my relationships?
Third Section – Where?
· What are my surroundings within each scene? · What city/state am I located in? · How does my current physical location (i.e., city/state/country) affect my life?
Fourth Section – Why?
· What is my simple objective for each scene? · What is my motivational impulse for each scene? · What is my primary objective?
Fifth Section – How?
· What obstacles must I overcome in each scene? · What are the primary (overall) obstacles preventing me from achieving my objective? · What am I willing to do in order to achieve my objective?
Take your time when answering the aforementioned questions. Because some of the questions require a scene-by-scene answer, do not expect to finish this worksheet within a single sitting. The goal should not be how quickly you can answer these questions, but rather, how accurately and detailed you can answer the aforementioned questions.