Julie's Character Workshop

Published by: sirtanicmills on 10th Sep 2012 | View all blogs by sirtanicmills
Julie Cohen's Character Workshop was a huge success: a hoot. About seventy people were entertained and inspired - I won't say too much about the process because I'm sure there will be opportunities for you to experience it first hand. We were given a few simple props on the way in, and with a brief introduction, we set about building seventy unique and rounded characters.
I was pleased when Skylark parked next to me on the second row; we could exchange puzzled glances. The gender of our individual character was determined by the toss of a coin. Heads or tails, what could be simpler? Of course, if your coin landed on it's edge you had to develop the character of a hermaphrodite. The same if you dropped it - Skylark. Rules are rules, but I could tell by the covert coin retrieval operation to my right that this one was about to be broken.
My attempt at disapproval was undermined by my smile, no doubt, but I could afford to feel smug - I was to create a bloke; I know about them. It went well for a while. Then we had to describe our character in action - walking across a room and then picking up an object. Easy.
Next, we had to explain why the object in question was of fundamental and urgent importance to our character. My internal shout of "bollocks" may have been externalised a tad, to the extent that I owed an explanation to Julie and my workshop colleagues.
"Sorry. My bloke picked up a plump, pink, prawn canape."
The measure of Julie's workshop is that I could recover from this and complete the exercise. She told me the following morning that my decison making skills may feature in her next performance. I was tickled pink.



  • Debi
    by Debi 5 years ago
    Oh, the prawn belonged to you! Julie tweeted about that. Anyway, I'm snatching this for that there book thingy. Thanks. :-)
  • Ele
    by Ele 5 years ago
    Prawn canapes are deeply important, I'm sure, to someone! So was the exercise helpful at all?
  • sirtanicmills
    by sirtanicmills 5 years ago
    Hi Ele, Yes, it was enormously helpful - everyone I spoke too felt the same and I think there were numerous "lightbulb" moments. Julie has some interesting stuff about character arcs on her website julie-cohen.com
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 5 years ago
    So were you given the objects, or did you have to think them up for yourself? If the latter...why on earth was it a plump pink prawn canape?
  • AlanP
    by AlanP 5 years ago
    I was handicapped from the outset by having the initials T & Q and falling on heads, so I couldn't have a Quentin. So I chose Tania Quintain and when it came to describing her I decided someone with that name would be a bit posh and ride to hounds. Anyways it led to her picking up a small statue of a greek warrior, first century BC and probably a forgery. Fessing anything more would be a spoiler for next year. I'll just say go with it and don't cheat. It happens in order for a reason.

    It was great fun. Could be the best one I attended.
  • sirtanicmills
    by sirtanicmills 5 years ago
    Squidge, it was all my own work. Why? I'm hoping the therapist can help me with that on thursday ;)
  • sirtanicmills
    by sirtanicmills 5 years ago
    That's a much better approach Alan :) It was good to meet you.
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