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PREP IN PRE-PRODUCTION
"Naturally" speaking and physically behaving as the character you're playing in its true form needs to be prepped before the first day on the set. You are combing through the script and seeing what your character does/reacts/says in conjunction with the other characters.
Suggestion: Most characters, particularly the main characters have backstory already written about them before the script is written. Speak to the Writer, Director, Producer...to see how to get a hold of these notes on your character. This will give you clear insight on bringing your character alive in his or her true form. I will do this with my actors.
Are you all, as characters, best friends? Lovers? Secret rivals? Known rivals?...etc.
What happened in the past with your character and the characters in your same story prior to the beginning of the story. Did your love run away? Did your child change their gender, to your dismay? Did you leave your job, which led you to no longer be able to afford your house and at the beginning of the story, you and your family has to move? Are they all mad at you? Are they all in agreement with you? There are so many things to consider in it all.
How do you as an actor make this a vivid reality on the screen that will stay in many of the audiences' minds for many years? Think of "Rain Man". Think of "Forrest Gump". Some other notable characters come to mind right now, don't they? Yes. You got it! They were unique and YOU need to be, AS WELL!!! Communicate with the Director on what is revealed to you and listen to the Director’s wishes and notes. The Director with his/her skill and production wisdom was chosen for this production for a reason.
ACTING - PRE-PRODUCTION