One of the biggest problems I have as Game Master, (going on 30+yrs) is in portraying NPC and Monsters in any RPG. Is there a good resource for becoming a better 'actor'?
Instead of just saying... the monster or NPC acts like or says blah, blah, blah... I prefer to act out the part whenever I can. This adds more flavor and bring some fun to the table, but I sometimes feel my NPCs and monsters are a bit similar and frankly boring.
Any help would be appreciated.
WOW! So many great things have been said, I thought I would summarize the data so others could benefit.
Highlights from the answers: (and who said it)
Develop a cast of personas/actors to draw from. – Aberrant Hive Mind
Graham Walmsley's book Play Unsafe – Jmstar
Use 3x5 cards to track NPC notes not just stat numbers or powers: motivation, knowledge, party interaction/standing, physical appearance (can you say plot hooks) - MadMaxjr
List three distinct mannerisms for each NPC – Jmstar
Pick one thing to focus on that is unique to that persona (physical appearance, body action, held object, verbal distinction). – yhw42
Read, watch, study, practice … stewbob; aramis, RMorrisey, MadMaxjr
Here is what I'm doing:
Modifying my note cards as follows - Add motivation, appearance, and body language AND highlighting one thing that will be that persona's signature item.
Read the book Play Unsafe by Walmsley, reviews say it is a must.
Develop a standard cast of characterizations on note cards to use quickly, and practice them so they are fluid. Why didn't I think of this one before?
Get some props to use as trigger points for each persona.
Follow up - year 2.5 since asking the question. I have definitely become a far better NPC handler than I was thanks to this forum. The Whamsley book is a must. I am not a better 'actor' as I had hoped, but I have discovered that I don't need to be. What I needed was clear system to allow me to record and communicate an NPC to the characters quickly and keep them interesting.
Finally I have discovered that following these things has had a side effect. I now have more plot hooks and story options than I know what to do with. What an unexpected benefit.
Once again - Thank You Group!