Knowing how to commit to a character fully is a lifetime pursuit, but five essential tips will help every actor if practiced and applied. Learn these basics, and you're on your way.
Let's take a look!
Know Your Lines
No, I'm not wasting your time, and yes, this is as fundamental as it gets, but it all begins here. Simply put, you cannot become a character if you struggle to remember what they are supposed to say. You cannot achieve the almost metaphysical transformation to which all actors aspire if your words are not entirely committed to memory and have become your own.
Research Your Character
Or, to put it another way, learn everything there is to know about who you are to become. Learn about the playwright, discover their background, what was going on in their life when your play and character were created, and their motivations. Was your character a real person? If so, find out everything there is to know about them. Learn about the time and place they lived, all of it. Is your character a composite of people? Then you will want to know about every person borrowed from to bring them to life -- and approach your research that way, the person you are to be on stage or set is alive; you want to become them 100%.
Focus On Mannerisms, Actions, and Dialect, But Be Subtle
The little things bring a character to life, a distinctive walk, a southern drawl, maybe a facial tic, but always remember they are but a part of who your character is, not the entire presentation, so be subtle. Again, in your hands, your character is a living, breathing being with all of the complexities of any person, so don't make them into a caricature by over-emphasizing any particular trait.
Communicate, Don't Recite
So your lines are memorized, you know your character backward and forwards, you look like them and sound like them, now you want to communicate like them, with an emphasis on communication. The core element of every theatrical production is communication. When you say a line to another on stage or on a television or movie set, you are communicating and participating in a conversation. It is essential to full character commitment that you make the transition from reciting to communicating. Hear what the other character says and respond, do not recite.
And finally, lose you. Full commitment means eliminating you. You do not exist. Learn to purge thoughts about today's lunch, who else is auditioning, or what day street cleaning is (although important). You are your character. Be them to the fullest.
Fully committing to character is the essence of acting and one of the many ways to achieve success. We are here to guide you to stardom!