Too many times I have got on set with a suitcase full of clothes and accessories for my character, only to be told “what you’re wearing now will be fine”.
Now I understand that time is money, and on a set you’re almost always behind time…but more often than not I haven’t even had a brief of my character before hand – just the script – so the things I’ve brought are based on what I think my character is like – which could be totally wrong! Deciding on the appearance of my character, and also her back story, will help me act much better than if I’m just given a script.
What makes a film / show? The storyline, and the characters. Knowing your characters inside out can change how the behave, how they speak, what they wear, and also, what they do. For example, is your character shy or outgoing? Straight away, this will change how they talk to another character.
Other things to consider:
- Is there anything in their past which has effected them?
- Do they have any tattoos / piercings?
- What is their family – only child, twin, siblings, older, younger? If you want to really go into detail, what about cousins – are they close, or not?
- What music / tv shows / books are they in to? Are they fanatical about these things (go to every show, buy all the merchandise etc), or do they “just like them”?
Now, for appearance. Especially for a female, this can be VERY telling. Also, these things are needed in advance – I need to know if I’m going to have to straighten or curl my hair, take my extensions or pin my hair up to make it look shorter.
- Up or Down?
- Curly or Straight?
- Long or Short?
- Big / Little / None?
- Funky / Stylish / Simple / Elegant?
Clothes and Shoes
- Dress /Skirt or Jeans / Trousers?
- Low Cut or High Cut?
- Short or Long?
- Motif or Plain?
- Heels or Flats?
- Boots or Shoes?
- Backpack / Shoulder / Purse / Satchel?
- Big or Small?
- Everyday or Going Out?
- Bright Colours or Plain?
- Also consider what is in your characters bag – as this can be very telling of their personality.
Of course, this doesn’t hold true for every film. Films with no dialogue, and films that are purely cinamagraphic will probably not need all, or any of the above considerations, but I feel that it is something good for directors, writers, film makers and such to think about.
This is by no means a full list of things to consider, so feel free to post your thoughts on things that need to be considered below.
I hope this post is helpful when you come to creating your next film!