Start with a short discussion, asking the following questions: What do you know about creating a character so far? What do you think you learned from your puppets and your pantomime stories that can apply here? What can you use to pretend to be someone else? Voice? Body? Costumes? Facial expressions?
Ask students to get out their journals. Show the character powerpoint, and with each picture, ask for words that describe this person/character. With the first two, ask them to answer out loud. With the rest of the slides, have them write down FIVE words that describe that character. Ask them to skip a line before each, to save room, because they are going to come back to these.
Now go back through and ask the students to write down how that person’s voice would sound. Ask for brave volunteers to demonstrate a possible voice for that character. Again, use the first two for a together example.
List of pictures in the powerpoint:
1. Old man/Grandpa 2. Young girl/Toddler 3. Angry mom 4. Cheerleader CHEERING 5. Sick older woman 6. Bored teenaged boy 7. Flight attendant 8. Teacher (you can decide the situation) 9. Radio show host 10. YOUR NEIGHBOR!!! (no picture) (just for fun)
Invite students to move around the classroom as a specific character. At first they should be in soft focus, and just focusing on the movements of that character (silently). Ask them to walk like that character, move like that character (gestures and facial expressions). Then, ask them to greet others, as they continue to move around the space. Ask them to use a voice that the character might use.
List of characters to choose from:
Themselves (to start with) Football Jock* Crazy Cat Lady Damsel in Distress Cowboy* Nerd* Popular kid in school* Alien invader Action Hero Dumb Blonde Zombie Drill Sergeant Principal* Toddler Grandpa Thief Cheerleader* Rock Star Surfer Dude*
Have students sit down where they are. Ask, “What is a stereotype?” Have a few people add to the definition. Get some examples. “Is a stereotype good or bad?” Ask why stereotypes maybe don’t make the best or most interesting characters… How they can be a good place to start, but why they aren’t very realistic… “What can you do to make them more realistic?”
Select a few of the characters to try again and ask students to make some more realistic, less stereotypical characters. (This should be brief. Choose only four or five more.)
Invite students to go back to their journals, and on the same page, do the same thing for their OWN characters. Have students go back to their journals and write down FIVE words that describe their own characters for their play. Ask them to write down what their character’s voice would sound like? How do they move? How do they walk? What gestures do they make (face and body)? How are you going to make your character more realistic and less of a stereotype?
Invite individual groups of students to come up and “model” how their character moves by walking a “runway.” Have the students in one group all go at the same time.
If you are low on time, but would still like to include this activity, have all of the students come walk around the room again, but this time as their characters. Ask them to make realistic choices.
“Looks and how they sound are only a part of creating a character. What else do you need to know about the character or decide about the character?” (feelings, emotions, actions, etc.)
In their journals, under their character description, ask them to answer the following questions about their characters. 1. What does your character care about? 2. What kind of person are they? 3. How does your character treat people that they like? 4. How does your character treat people that they don’t like?
Instagram characterization worksheet. Instruct students to find ONE picture (whether it is found on the internet, in a magazine, or one they take themselves) that their character might instagram (supposing they had an account). Have students come up with an instagram handle, or name, for their character (and show them where to write it). Students will also need to write a caption for their photo (they may include hashtags if they want to). These are due NEXT class. (ask if anyone has questions)