The Acting Technique You’ve Never Heard of (But Should Definitely Consider)

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Photo Source: Anne Marie Fox/HBO

I recently finished reading “The Warner Loughlin Technique” by actor Warner Loughlin and cannot recommend it enough. Not only does it read like an acting workshop rather than a book full of dense information, it truly felt revolutionary. (Not to mention, it’s the technique favored by award-winning talent like Amy Adams, Ryan Reynolds, and Zooey Deschanel.)

If you’re trying to figure out which acting approach is for you, here are a few reasons I’d urge you to consider the Warner Loughlin Technique.

It promotes a healthier approach to acting.
While approaches like the Method encourage actors to call on past, often painful memories, the Warner Loughlin Technique takes a different path: encouraging imagination to create the history and life of your character. What a great perspective! Encouraging your creativity to build a new human instead of calling on our own hurt and pain.

Approaching a scene from a place of past pain isn’t exactly the healthiest thing, reliving those moments over and over and over again. Plus, you can’t guarantee you’ll have control over whatever emotions arise. But if you create from scratch, you can call on that little kid inside you to empathize and portray a character with conviction and honesty. This is a much healthier path; at the end of the day, there’s no need to carry the emotional baggage of the character with you. It gives you a healthy distance from the character while still allowing you to know them inside and out.

It encourages creativity.
I already mentioned this, but I love how Warner’s approach encourages us to create using tools like her Base Human Emotion: The overwhelming, overriding emotion—triggered by an event that occurred early in life—that leads the character to interpret and perceive the world in a unique and specific way.”

What I love about this and the Emotion With Detail tool—creating memories by giving every object and event an emotional attachment—is that they feel more like exploring and breathing life into a character than other methods. These tools not only helped me flesh out a more natural character, but I felt less focused on me because I wasn’t trying to find a past experience to supply an idea of how this character would respond, but rather was thinking about how this unique individual would feel about the situation.

This technique gives actors room to play more diverse and unique characters because we’re relying less on how we’d respond and more on a new “person” we’re helping to create. I, for one, am finding the Warner Loughlin Technique to be revolutionary after so many years of wading through other techniques that never delivered as fully.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Charis Joy Jackson
Charis Joy Jackson is an actress, casting director, director, and producer. She’s been working in independent film for 10 years and teaches an intensive three-month acting school.
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