The Character Preference™ System
"Before you choose how you want your character to move, know how to be still in their preference." - Piero Dusa
My strongest addition to the world of acting is “ The Character Preference System.” A technique I developed in 1997 that focuses on character work. After studying the Hermann Brain Dominance Model, I made a breakthrough connection between the craft of acting and the science of human behavior. The Preference System is designed to help actors differentiate their own feelings, mannerisms and beliefs from those of the character. Understanding your creative preference gives you insight into the authentic individual beneath the surface. This foundation allows you to reach your maximum potential and excel as an artist.
Character Preference is a character’s style of thinking and behaving that chooses certain actions over others. It’s a system unique and personal to every actor in which the artists build the foundation of the character.
Throughout this course, the actor will explore their personal behavioral preferences, learn to separate their own preferences (speech, reactions, beliefs, choices, movement) and play only the preference of their character. Movie clips are used as visual aids.
A practical approach for all actors, from novice to professional, who want to stand out at an audition and increase their chances at a callback. Character Expression is the actions the actor manifests in the body and phrasing to create the character’s essence, emotional life and inner rhythm; expressed in preference and brought to life in performance. Expression teaches the actor to fully embody the character through detailed exploration such as body language, behavior, speech, triggers and physical impediments. The actor will learn to believably shift into the character even if it’s opposite of their own natural preference. It’s the job of the actor to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
This course explores the dark side and primal feelings of the character. Conflict leads to an internal battle where the character’s pathology manifests. To create a standout performance, the actor must embrace the destructive behavior within their character. The actor will know where internal struggles lie (hatred, low-self esteem, jealously, etc.) and can then express those conflicts externally (addiction, abuse, manipulation, etc.) in continuity with the character. Great actors strive to identify their character’s destructive preference to either overcome their pathology or fail with dramatic consequence.
Developed originally in collaboration with the late Syd Field, this workshop tested how Character Preference could enhance writer’s script development, and equip them with new tools for writing compelling dialogue in preference of the character. Its success inspired me to create a new course called Writers Preference, a must for any writer in the business, providing new insights for cultivating authentic dialogue, action and behavior, very natural to each character’s preference. Students are taught how to employ the Preference Technique to manifest character pathologies, learning the right time to present them to achieve heightened conflict and dynamic, believable characters. This class also offers effective coaching pointers supplying students with creative yet organized brainstorming techniques, practice with pitching, critical feedback, and efficient rewrite methods.
When reading a script, Writers Preference will always ask; “By covering the name of the character, when I read the dialogue, can I still recognize the individual’s voice and tone or does it read like one’s own preference is moving the story?"