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HOW TO DEVELOP A SCARY CHARACTER FOR FILM & TELEVISION



It isn't so much what your character says but what your character does that makes them scary. Take, for example, the use of a SIGNATURE HAND GESTURE.


A SIGNATURE HAND GESTURE is a hand gesture used by that person more often than other hand gestures and can show insight into that person's personality.

Actors can use signature hand gestures to show the personality of the character they are playing. You can show the subtle creepy side of your character just by adding a well-placed signature hand gesture into the performance.


Let's look at an example.


the SHUSHING HAND GESTURE!

Here is a small excerpt from the SCARY CHARACTERIZATION workshop. To learn more register below.


The "shush gesture" is a menacing motion of putting your finger to your mouth as if to tell the other person to be quiet. It can have other meanings but in the right context, it can be horrifying.


Can you think of a character that did this signature hand gesture in a movie or television show? (Email me your favorite clip)


Of course, it takes more than one shushing gesture to bring a scary character to life. If you want to learn more about building the scary character or you need to try it out for yourself in a workshop environment first. Now you can!


Join me for this 1-night LIVE on ZOOM workshop!

October 27th, 2022

1-night workshop, 2.5 hours Thursday, 6-8:30 PM MDT

$75 early / $99 after October 21st

Limited to 15 students for plenty of on-camera time. The last section of this class sold out!



Written by Faith Hibbs-Clark, Founder of the Communication Method for Actors, casting director for 25+ years, body language expert



Updated: Oct 17

At some point in your acting career, you are going to play a role that is nothing at all like you. Or at least you don't think it is. If you are like a lot of actors, then you need to learn how to create and master these types of unique roles.


However, if you’ve never tried creating a scary character before, then it may seem overwhelming. And if you have ever tried to find the dark side of the character you are portraying, then you already know that it’s not something you want to do through trial and error.


That’s why I’ve developed this handy-dandy little mini-lesson for creating scary characters.


Just in time for Halloween!

So let’s get started…



#1: The scary character doesn't know they are bad.


Part of what makes these characters scary is that they don't know they are bad. In their mind, there is nothing wrong with them. You, as the actor, have to play this character as if it is perfectly normal to be this way.


#2 The scary character defies social norms.


These characters don't do things the way most people do them. Their "deviation from normalcy" is what makes others uncomfortable around them. If others are happy, they probably are not. If others are not happy, they probably are happy. They are just always on the fringe of society.


#3 The scary character has a fatal flaw.


These characters would get by in the world somewhat undisturbed were it not for one thing that becomes their downfall. They can blend in well enought until a need or a desire drives them to give themselves away. This is when their true character is revealed.


#4 The scary character has body language that reveals their truth.


Maybe it is the way they hold their spinal posture or a tiny thing they do with their finger that makes others feel uncomfortable without even knowing why. Perhaps this scary character makes direct eye contact to the point of an uncomfortable stare or maybe they avoid eye contact all together. This body language communicates something disturbing that other around them can't quite articulate.


If you’re like a lot of actors, then you need to have a process to develop The scary character or you need to try it out for yourself in a workshop environment first. Now you can!


You can skip the long learning curve, skip the trial and error and hopefully skip over all the frustrating mistakes that most beginning actors make when they try to create a scary character that has lots of complexity.


Join me for this 1-night LIVE on ZOOM workshop!

October 13th, 2022

1-night workshop, 2.5 hours Thursday, 6-8:30 PM MDT

$75 early / $99