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  • 3 Tips to Help Young Actors Get into Character

    Preparation is more than knowing your lines. It is embodying the life of the character. Your emotional state, mood, and choices you make while you prepare all affect that first moment the director yells, “Action.”
    When I was just out of college, I apprenticed at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Fla. Although I sacrificed sleep and suffered the indignity of washing smelly laundry, it was worth it as I got an insider’s view into the craft and process of some of America’s most iconic and loved actors. 
    I was struck how every night before Martin Sheen took the stage in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest,” he would play basketball with the guys outside the stage door. I wondered at the time why he wasn’t preparing, only to later realize that he was. Basketball—rough, cursing, shoving, and joking—was what he needed to get in the mindset to be the loud, dirty, sexual, and determined character of McMurphy. In his case, genius literally was one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration!
    I tell my students what Sheen knew: An actor cannot begin a scene emotionally empty. It is critical to make good choices leading up to that first moment. Child actors have some

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