Larry Moss, among the most sought after acting coaches of our time

By Michael Karpienski | Last Updated: November 04, 2023

Script analysis is the essential first step in acting. Actors examine and comprehend their character's life on the page, along with other characters, treating them as real individuals with genuine experiences.

You know, like that bodega owner you see with a big mustache and some backstory you might not ask about but nevertheless gets told to you, coffee after coffee, morning after morning, and always when you are late for work and never remembering the man’s name if your life depended on it? Right . . Analyzing the writer’s script uncovers the overall essence of the play or the film and is a must for all serious actors to enter into the character’s universe so to breathe and speak from it.
"Given circumstances," in Moss’s words, refers to the factual information provided by the script about your character and the story's setting. These are the unalterable facts that serve as the foundation for your performance. Think of facts like, lost wife or, ordered Chipotle Burrito, forgetting to order guac. These facts change how the character walks down a street. In such a backstory, usually a tissue or two is used to wipe the moistening eyes on the way home to eat said burrito.
While the script allows for various interpretations, an actor's job is to build upon this foundation with their specific interpretation. It's crucial not to alter the established facts, as this could lead to an inconsistent performance, and the play or film not making sense.
To prepare for a role, engage in the following exercise:
After thoroughly analyzing the script, express the character's perspective using the format:
"My name is [Character's Name], and the world is [six descriptive words/phrases]."
This exercise helps actors connect with their character's viewpoint and bring authenticity to their portrayal. Finally, everything which follows these concrete facts will come from the you inside the character . . . or the character inside of you. Or the chicken before the egg?
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