It is thespian convention that “When creating a character the first thing that has to be done is to get the walk right!!”
Why? Why? WHY?
If the character of a person determines the way they behave what on earth does the way they walk have to do with it? A quadraplegic can’t walk. DOES THIS MEAN THEY HAVE NO CHARACTER?
Maybe this practice is based on the fact that as walking is an intuitive process a new walk needs to be practiced A LOT. Walking needs to be automatic. But even this has MAJOR issues of practicality. “What happens if you put ALL THAT TIME into getting the walk right only to find that the character you have created is NOT RIGHT for the story?”
I ask myself, “Should you go back and find a NEW WALK?”
Sure, what makes people walk in different ways is fascinating. But that’s of minimal use to the actor – unless you are moving into the area of imitation or mimicry or you need to create a specific physical defect.
BEHAVIOUR IS THE SINGLE ELEMENT THAT DEFINES A CHARACTER. Working on behaviour is highly productive. That’s an area that can produce massively diverse options. What is more you can consistently make big changes very effectively controlling patterns of behaviour.
Forget about starting with THE WALK!!
SOME DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS of ‘CHARACTER’
Your Dictionary … “You learn about who people are and what their character traits are by watching how they interact with the world and paying attention to how they treat you and interact with YOU.”
MacMillan Dictionary … “The part of a person that makes them behave in a particular way in social situations”
Not much mention of walking there, eh!!!