Researching a Character

Learning Objective:

Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of character research by completing a character background worksheet and drawing a character portrait.


Materials Needed:

Character background sheet, statement about Johnny Depp, markers, white paper.  

Character Lesson 2.Questions      

Character Lesson 2.Statement about Johnny Depp



Give out a worksheet that has different character on one side and the descriptions on the other side. Give the students 3 minutes to complete it.


Step One: Instruction

Today we are going to be talking about the process an actor needs to go through to truly understand their character. The first step is to do research. The more specific you can make your character the more interesting it will be to watch you on stage.


Step Two: Modeling

Show a short clip of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, and Edward Scissorhands. Before you begin tell the class to take notice of how Johnny Depp uses his voice and body to create three completely different people. Pay attention to the details.


Step Three: Discussion

Ask the class what did you observe? How did Johnny Depp use his voice and body to create three completely different characters? If I didn’t know very much about film I would think that these three roles were played by three different people.


Step Four: Instruction

Each actor creates a character in a different way. Ask the class how do you go about creating a character? What is the first thing you do? No process is superior then another if they all create believable character. I want to share one example of how Johnny Depp prepares to play a role, have a student read the passage. This passage shows us that research is NECESSARY!!! And the importance of asking questions.


Step Five:

Give each student their scene assignments. Have them get with their partner and take a few minutes to read it through. When you are reading it through write down different questions you have about your own character as well as the people in their life. Share those questions with your partner and discuss possible answers.


Step Six:

Bring the class together. Hand out a character background worksheet. Give them three minutes to fill it out.


Step Seven: Instruction

Take your character background sheet and the list of questions you have about your character and come up to the front of the classroom and get a piece of paper and some coloring utensils and lets do what Johnny Depp does when he prepares. Draw a portrait of your character. Each choice you make should have a purpose behind it. We are going to present these to a partner.


Step Eight:

Give them 10 minutes to draw their portraits. Walk around the room and see how they are doing.


Step Nine: Partner Work

Once they are done with their portraits have them turn to a person near them. Have partner A share with partner B their character. The person who is listening is allowed to ask any questions they have. Each partner has 2 minutes to share. If you finish before time is up give more detail about your character and explain WHY! Once time is up have them switch.


Step Ten: Assessment

Ask for volunteers who would like to share their portraits with the whole class and the reasoning behind their decisions. Invite the class to ask them any questions they like.


Step Eleven: Discussion

Research is extremely important. Take all of your questions that you are still unsure about and go find the answers. Read the play that your scene is from. Research the context of the play. Tell them to turn in their character background worksheets.



Student will demonstrate their knowledge of character research by completing a character background worksheet and drawing a character portrait.



Printed statement about Johnny Depp, white paper, markers, copies of character background worksheet.