How to Film Clips that Match Your Type

Wendy Alane Wright

Wendy Alane Wright

How to shoot clips that match your type. That’s a big question. What that would mean is you’d have to know your type, which means this also has to be about how to figure out your type. 

So, figuring out your type is really, really important in the entertainment business if you’re going to be an actor. You cannot play everything regardless of what your lovely theater teacher who cast you as a tree in sixth grade said. 

You cannot play everything. 

There are certain essences that you have that are amazingly you. I like to call it your ‘soul print’. You have your own soul print. Just like everybody has a fingerprint that’s different, your unique expression of you is different than anyone else. So let me be more clear about what that means. When 200 saxophone players play the sax, all 200 of them sound a little different, just a little different.

Yes, they’re playing the same instrument. It’s the same note. It’s the same fingering, but the tone that comes out of it is different than everyone else’s because it’s coming through their instrument themselves. They’re playing through their soul, they’re playing through their spirits, through their essence, into the sax and that’s why it’s different for every single player.

 It just sounds and has a different feel because each artist is using their own soul. It’s the same as an actor. You have your own soul print. When you do a script, it comes through your instrument, you, and it sounds different than anyone else who is ever going to do it. No one can compete with you on your soul print. And inside that soul print is kind of a type, kind of an essence that you have. You might be a bit commanding or powerful like a leader and there’s kind of a big presence about you that people respect and you’re kind of in charge. And you’re not wussy and you’re not a follower.

You’re the leader. It’s part of your essence. It’s part of your soul. So those are the types of roles you’re most likely going to play; the commander, the captain of the army, the chief of police, somebody who’s in charge of something, because that’s just your essence. Now, what if you had a quieter essence and talking loudly is even hard for you, which is definitely not the case for me. 

I’m not really good at talking softly. And if I did, it just doesn’t fit my personality. You know that right? I’m aggressive. I’m loud. I’m, I’m full of energy and that’s my essence. That’s my type. There are people who are quieter. They’re very soft-spoken. I feel like I have to literally control every part of my being to calm down and I can’t do that. 

That’s why I can never work in a bank or any kind of corporate environment where you have to almost be like wallpaper in order to work there. I can’t because I have so much charisma and energy and personality that I cannot just ‘put it away’.

But there are people that have that quiet stillness inside them. That’s their essence. And those are the types of roles they’re going to play. They’re not going to play the commander in chief, the head of the FBI, anything that requires a forceful, dominating presence like a judge. 

They’re going to play the librarian, the sweet PTA or kindergarten teacher, maybe they’ll play a gentle nurse, a meek wife, an abused wife maybe; not to say all abused people are weak. They’re not. Sometimes strong people get broken down by bad people. But my point is the energy of gentleness, grounded-ness or centeredness; that goes to those kinds of people. 

Those kinds of roles go to those kinds of people.

So, you have to look at yourself honestly, and think, “Okay, what are my main character types? My main personality traits.” Because you’re going to get cast along those lines. So, are you dorky and nerdy? Are you goofy and nutty and a little wacky? Are you hip and cool like John Travolta in Grease’ and in everything else he plays? Are you an underdog?  Are you the one that’s always the good guy? Are you the hero? Are you the villain? Is there some negative energy about you that would be perfect for the killer, for the criminal? 

It’s important to learn your type. And then when you shoot clips to match your type, you literally go, “Okay, I’m going to play the criminal. Now let me find a scene of a criminal and a really great piece of dialogue, great piece of dialogue” and then record a scene for that type. And when you do your take on the material, you’re going to use your own soul print on it. Nobody else can compete with that. That’s your essence, that’s your type. 

And that’s how you get a piece of footage that matches your type. And you can shoot 10 different things that match different types of characters that are within your wheelhouse, meaning they’re within the energy that you possess. They’re not against the energy that you have.

You’re probably never going to get cast in a role that’s really against the energy that you have. That’s just probably not going to happen. So, embrace the energy that you have, write out all your good personality traits and your bad personality traits, things about you that you don’t like, because that actually could be what gets you a role. 

That all makes up your personality. And when people get typecast, they get cast closely to the type of person they actually are.

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