Home Acting Appearing Coach Caryn West on the Significance of Understanding Your Character’s Perform

Appearing Coach Caryn West on the Significance of Understanding Your Character’s Perform

Appearing Coach Caryn West on the Significance of Understanding Your Character’s Perform


Photograph by Erik Mclean on Unsplash.

What’s your character’s operate within the position and the scene? In response to Caryn West, the reply to this query makes all of the distinction in giving an incredible efficiency.

West is an acclaimed performing coach and trainer who is thought for her experience in script evaluation and character improvement. Primarily based in Los Angeles, West has labored with quite a few actors to assist develop their craft utilizing varied methods from Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Tom Todoroff. Along with conducting workshops, courses and personal teaching periods through Caryn’s House for Actors, West is a working actress herself, and this firsthand expertise informs her educating strategies. The Stanford graduate says her auditioning courses are “based mostly on each mistake [she] made in the course of the first ten years of [her] profession.” Her college students embody Strike Again actor Dan MacPherson, Alysia Reiner from Orange Is the New Black, Large Little Lies actor James Tupper and Loopy Wealthy Asians lead Jimmy O. Yang.

A Character’s Perform

West explores the subject of a personality’s operate inside the position or a scene throughout interviews with Appearing Is Every little thing and SAG-AFTRA. One thing she finds lacking from actors’ coaching is an emphasis on storytelling. “As actors, a number of instances we create characters; we create moments. What we neglect is our operate within the story,” she says.

“I do suppose the paradigm of Twentieth-century Stanislavski-based actor coaching didn’t take into impact storytelling by way of educating us dramaturgical expertise as actors—what the director wants, or what the author must make the scene work,” West continues. “We’re at all times fascinated by our characters and intention versus what’s the factor that occurs within the scene that strikes the story ahead, that the director wants and the author wants, the [executive producer] wants. And after we begin considering a bit extra that approach, we make better-informed selections by way of storytelling. And I believe that’s one thing we don’t begin with sufficient by way of breaking down the script.”

West cautions actors about primarily specializing in nice actor moments. “Typically you would possibly simply act the crap out of a scene considering, ‘Gee, I used to be good in there!’ Proper? However you had been completely inappropriate for what the story wanted. And it’s tragic to have an actor work that arduous after which miss the storytelling boat by way of what’s your operate.”

Examples of Lacking the Storytelling Boat

West describes what it appears like when performers overlook their character’s operate within the storyline. “Loads of instances in a sitcom, you’re the visitor—you’re the [stock character] to arrange the star who will get the snigger. They get the payoff; you need to set them up in a number of cases. Otherwise you’re the comedian aid in an in any other case critical, forensic procedural drama, and also you get to have a bit comedian aid,” she notes. “So, figuring out your operate each within the story and inside the scene, after which figuring out the occasion of the scene that has to occur. What strikes the story ahead? Good administrators know this.”

Eager to Play the Hero

In her courses, West offers out a nurse scene from a well-liked crime collection. “What occurs rather a lot in visitor spots is folks attempt to are available and be the hero of the scene, like they know every thing,” she notices. “I at all times get these heroic nurses who appear to know that somebody got here into the affected person’s room when the nurse wasn’t there,” as if the nurse is actively making an attempt to resolve a criminal offense when in actuality, she or he can be targeted on the sensible activity of tending to sufferers. It’s the lead actors who get to be the hero by successful the battle, making an incredible level in cross-examination, fixing the crime and getting to inform the intelligent joke.

The tendency to wish to be the hero can present up within the audition room. “Loads of us are so invested in being the hero of our audition,” West asserts. “You realize, we get confused. We wish to present them how a lot we all know, how figuring out we’re, how perceptive we’re. Typically we’re supposed to be the unknowing one—the dumb one, the clueless one. And the collection regulars are virtually at all times the heroes, or the antagonists that we develop to like, the anti-hero we develop to like. So, I believe by way of visitor spots and co-stars, actors make huge errors on the best way up making an attempt to be heroic.” Apart from, she finds the clueless elements are sometimes extra enjoyable to play.

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