There's a concept that I learned about in acting class recently that amped up not only my acting classes that was revolutionary to me as an actor but more importantly as a human being. That is the concept of the "ego-gram." Most actors don't know that the ego-gram exists, and frankly, I feel like it has improved my acting drastically even just being aware of this tool. The concept of the "ego-gram" is a tool for determining who your character is. Based on 5 questions about the character, you can better understand the behavior of any character:
1) Critical parent: to what degree (1-100) do you think your character knows right from wrong, good from bad, wise to unwise:
2) Nurturing parent: to what degree (1-100) do you think your character has an impulse to love, nurture, and protect?
3) Adult: to what degree (1-100) do you think your character embraces and dispatches the responsibilities of adulthood (being on time, paying bills, washing dishes, etc.)?
4) Adopted child: to what degree (1-100) do you think your character uses strategy, sophisticated thinking, pushing boundaries, never breaking rules, to get what he/she wants?
5) Free child: to what degree (1-100) do you think your character seeks instant gratification, with no regard for rules, to get what he/she wants?
Incumbency: what am I supposed to be at this age vs. where am I now? You have to creatively deduce what happened to get them to where they are today? (in this scene)
My scores were as follows:
1) Critical parent-96
2) Nurturing parent-99
4) Adopted child-50
5) Free child-30 (because I believe in completely embracing adult responsibilities). Interestingly enough, one of my acting teachers once told me that people who don't get the childhood that they wanted or needed often gravitate towards the arts for a sense of play, also becomes doing a show can feel like a family
Some of the other interesting feedback I received was that I seem like I've had a solid upbringing (true), that I appear quite responsible for my age, and that I appear to have a very strong impulse to nurture and love because my score of 97 for "adult" is very high for a 24 year old. I was also told that I appear highly structure, like I have my ducks in a row, and seem super prepared, which I took as a great compliment, because that was certainly not always the case. I find it endlessly fascinating the assumptions that people can make about someone before ever meeting them, and this certainly applies to auditions. I was also told that I seem like I'm someone whose so structured that they need play, and that I seem like I grew up Quaker, which is ironic because I did grow up in Amish country Pennsylvania (despite being half Jewish). My teacher also assumed that my parents were "educated professionals," which is eerily accurate because my parents were both college professors growing up.