VERBS


The following is a list of some more active verbs that will help you as you decide what your character wants throughout your piece:

I want to....


CONVINCE                    COMPLIMENT                     HELP                     CHARM
ENCOURAGE                 FLATTER                             SEDUCE                 FASCINATE
PREPARE                       PRAISE                               IGNITE                   DAZZLE
ENLIGHTEN                   REINFORCE                        BUILD                    WIN
ANNIHILATE                  ENCOURAGE                       HURT                    MANIPULATE
GET EVEN                      STRENGTHEN                     AWAKEN                SEDUCE
OVERWHELM                 FORTIFY                             MOCK                    SURROUND
REASSURE                     INVIGORATE                       CRUSH                   OVERWHELM
BOMBARD                     ELEVATE                              INSPIRE                 DOMINATE
SUPPRESS                     EXALT                                  DESTROY               VICTIMIZE

BELITTLE                       IMMORTALIZE                     INCITE                   CONQUER
LAMBAST                       LIONIZE                              TEASE                    TYRANNIZE
MONARCHIZE                DIEFY                                  POSSESS                OCCUPY

EXPLAIN                        ORGANIZE                          PREPARE                ENSNARE

CHEER UP                     JUSTIFY


​Existential Verbs: ​ These verbs include those activities that go on without our volition.  They are too vague to be endeavored in.  For instance, one can hardly push hard for ten minutes on the verbs to be, to exist, to die, to become, to live, to use, to try or to think. Other existential verbs include:  create, do, need, intend, hope, love, happen, begin. 


Adjectival Verbs:  This classification is extremely subjective, and one director will consider a certain verb in this category to be dangerous, while another will consider it acceptable.  The determining factor is this: Does the choice of the verb sound dangerously close to imitating -- or playing​ the adjective? For instance we might discourage the use of a verb such as argue, because it slides so unnoticeably into the adjectival playing of argumentative; charm because it slides into being charming; pity leads to pitiful; imagine leads to imaginative; deceive leads to deceptive, and so forth. Others include: create, aggravate, discuss, forgive, pine, deplore, adore, enchant, marvel, loathe, grieve, judge. 


Trigger Verbs:  These verbs depict actions that occur so quickly the doer could not pursue them for ten minutes: shoot, slap, kick, kiss, touch, quit, kill, slice, tweak, wince, lock, notice, omit, meet, flash, snap. 


Intellectual Verbs: (not usable) reciprocate, atone, glean, repudiate, reign, blame, mollify, avenge, vilify, obfuscate, ruminate, reinstate, postulate, avow, require, accomplish, adjust, narrate, impugn.


Behavioral or Conditional: (not usable) walk, sneeze, cry, laugh, shout, run, eat, sleep, sit, stand, fear, like, endure, hiccough, belch, wait, record, see, recover.


Actable Verbs: These verbs, it is worth repeating, are commonplace, gutsy activities that and ordinary person could put his shoulder behind and push hard for ten minutes.  One can certainly work hard for a long time to convince, excite, tease, encourage, destroy, prove, entice, intimidate. Others include: hurt, inspire, suppress, incite, enlighten, crush, lambast, explain, organize, prepare, build, ensnare, cheer up, reassure, justify, mock. 

WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE?


What does your character want?

from Bill Ball's book: A Sense of Direction


"There is never a moment when a human being is not wanting to do something....wnts are what create drama.  Wants are what give life to the character.  wants are what the waking individual is never without.  Wants cause action.  Wants create conflict."  By finding out what your character wants throughout your piece, you can make your character come to life.  You will need to constantly ask (as your character) what do I want?  What am I trying to get him/her to do?  Or what am I trying to make him/her do?


​As you go through your piece, deciding what your character wants, you will want to apply the following sentence.  


"I want to __________(verb)________"


​Always use verbs to describe what your character wants.  VERBS are more exciting and allow you, the actor, to fight for what your character wants.  Here are some examples of using VERBS versus nouns or adjectives


​ADJECTIVE                                             VERB


​I am angry with her                            I want to DESTROY her.

I am nervous.                                      I want to FOCUS my attention.

I am frustrated.                                   I want to FIND a way out.

I am in love.                                         I want to TAKE CARE of her forever.

I am being charming.                         I want to DAZZLE the guests. 

I am confused.                                    I want to FIGURE OUT a solution.

I am giddy.                                           I want to CONTAIN my rapture.

I am drunk.                                          I want to PRESERVE business as usual.

I am friendly.                                       I want to WIN him over.

I am arrogant.                                     I want to BELITTLE him.



NOUN                                                  VERB


I want a motorboat.                           I want to EARN enough for a motorboat.

I want a wife.                                       I want to WIN Georgia's heart.

I want peace.                                       I want to ELIMINATE distraction.

I want attention.                                 I want to FASCINATE everyone.

I want order.                                        I want to ORGANIZE this mess.



"The actor is working at his best when he, as the character, has a vivid want at all times.  Secondly, the actor's power is increased when his want is directed to a specific person.  And thirdly, the vitality of the want is amplified when the characters want is immediately dependent on a specific response." Thus, in every moment that you are your character there should exist ---


1.  An ongoing want

2.  A receiver (the person you are communicating with)

3.  A desired response from the receiver.


For example:


             VERB                   RECIEVER           DESIRED RESPONSE


I want....   to WIN.........          Gloria's.........         admiration.

I want...    to AWAKEN...        my father's...         enthusiasm.

I want...    to REDUCE....        my lover........         to tears.

I want...    to IGNITE......         the crowd.....         to riot.

I want...    to PERSUADE..      Ann...............         to kiss me.

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