View Full Version : Question for January 24th to January 30th, 2012
01-24-2012, 04:50 PM
Here's one from Monotori :D
How much do you research your characters before you feel you can perform them?
As always, please continue to send some new question ideas via PM over to to Seishiro17 (http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/member.php?1271-Seishiro17), Cydonia (http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/member.php?11232-Cydonia) or Sukisho (http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/member.php?50-Sukisho). Make sure the subject is "Question of the Week" so we know what it's for :D
01-24-2012, 05:01 PM
Now this is something I need to cover, as I can admit, I don't exactly "take time" to get into roles, as sometimes I feel a little too impatient to do that (all part of the plan to knock down all-round impatience). I would usually feel that my instincts kick in more than anything when I see a character and how they would sound. But what does that have to do me with how much research I do into characters? Again, no real time taking I do, when it comes to auditions, I see what I am given to work with, and once I am cast, well let's say (unless I feel I already know the character, who might be an already developed character who has existed for many years) I just try and get "the gist" of what I am trying to accomplish with a character, straight from a director or whoever is running the show.
So that's it; so far my research involves personal instinct on how to approach a character, and a slightly in-depth inquiry from the head honcho. Again, will change, and I will always change the way I think in terms of my mindset towards the crafts I do.
01-24-2012, 05:04 PM
Depending on how familiar I already am with the character I either take alot of time or very little. With certain characters that I've played before or ones i'm particularly fond of I don't take too long studying. But when it's something new or before a big character arc I try to get inside their head and examine why they are the way they are.
Granted i'm not a method actor so if I just murdered a child it's alot harder to get into that mindset, but all in all a bit of research is always good for me.
01-24-2012, 05:20 PM
It depends on how well I know the character. If it's a game or anime I know well I only listen to a few lines they say and then try to get into character.
For an unknown character I mostly watch a few episodes or look up videos with that character so I get an idea of how she is.
01-24-2012, 07:54 PM
Depends on the character, really. I still do a bit of a research even though I know the character very well. My research, especially if I know little to nothing about the character, consists of watching a few episodes where the character gets a lot of screen time and on wikipedia for their bio so I could get a better grasp of the feel of the character.
01-24-2012, 09:16 PM
Being completely honest, I dun do any "research" if I'm not familiar with a character. The most I'll do is read over a profile of them and watch the episode of the scene we're doing in order to get a feel of how they are in that scene but, other than that, I do none.
01-25-2012, 03:43 AM
I like to do a fair bit of research if I don't know them. Wiki profiles, how fans like/see them, a few episodes... If I get cast, then I'll usually do a bit more research. But, like Ovarku, I'm more instinctive than getting-into-character. I just like to know who I am, really.
01-25-2012, 11:27 PM
Not as much as I should, and the performace suffers a bit for it. Research is moving higher on my priority list.
01-26-2012, 04:22 PM
I feel character research is ongoing. A lot of the time I still find myself making discoveries or looking into characters I've performed in the past in the off-chance I'd do the same show again (which has happened). Doing the research and become that character is where all the fun is, for me at least.
01-26-2012, 08:02 PM
Sometimes I will watch the anime to know what to sound like (if it isn't one I haven't seen before). Otherwise, I will try to find a voice based on the criteria.
01-29-2012, 06:59 AM
Usually just an episode or two of the appropriate show, possibly more, just enough to figure out the personality. I've actually tried auditioning once without doing any research, just going by the character's picture, and it turned out I was pretty far off.
01-29-2012, 08:54 PM
As a producer, a pet peeve is an audition that brings nothing new to the table whatsoever - which is often a result of an actor either doing too much research or the producer emphasizing that nothing else is acceptable. Even if the character is heavily established as being a certain way in its source material, I much prefer the actors NOT to do an imitation of something that's been honed by a professional. After all, this is the Voice ACTING Alliance, not the Voice MIMICRY Alliance - being too draconian and iron-fisted about this issue reduces your actors to mere parrots who often feel restricted in trying new things and bringing some of their ideas and interpretations of the characters to the table.
With that said, I must say there is no right or wrong way concerning research - but doing too much can make you feel as if you're just a mimic and quash any organic experiences from the acting process.
Having done many live theatre shows of all kinds (from musicals to Shakespeare), there is nothing worse from an actor's perspective than not being encouraged to strech your creative muscles - I call it the "cardboard box" effect. For example, when I was cast in Grease, every other actor watched the movie dozens of times to research what their characters ought to be. I watched it once to see what things I could do differently. In the movie, Vince Fontaine wears a blue suit - I put together a white one and everyone loved it. As Lorenzo in the Merchant of Venice, in one dialogue exchange, I threw in the "I'm watching you" hand gesture that De Niro does in Meet the Parents that ALWAYS got laughs in rehearsals and performances. Being allowed to flex your creative muscles and spontaneity can give you very pleasing results from your actors that rigidity will deny you.
The flipside is that any established fanbase may be critical and even angry with even the smallest alteration - as a producer, pandering SOLELY to a fanbase will get you in the same position as the actors - stuck in a cycle of mimicry at the cost of creativity. I ignore the fanbase entirely and do what I and my actors feel works best for the production. Audiences will always appreciate when something that has been done the same dozens of times is done differently - only the most anal-retentive get worked up over supposed "accuracy" to the source material.
As an example... I'm not sure if it was on here, but years ago, I watched a two minute fandub clip of a Sailor Moonscene. The characterizations were pretty much the same usual things that I've seen done many times, with one key difference... the actor playing Artemis voiced him as a surfer dude and even if it wasn't accurate to the source material, it JUST PLAIN WORKED for the scene. And you know what? Every second or third YouTube comment said the same thing: "I love what you did with Artemis! So original and creative!" And these were FANS of Sailor Moon saying this.
While there may not be a right answer concerning research, as someone with years of experience in live theatre, acting is infectious and should be creative. More producers and actors (but especially producers) should be involved in community theatre either on the stage or behind. It is really eye-opening and allows you not only to improve your craft, it gives you experience in doing the one thing so many producers on here lack - the ability to interact with actors.
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