Why do we act? Some people hope to gain notorierty and wealth. Others love movies and television and dream of becoming part of that world. At it's core, acting is a form of storytelling. You get inside the mind of a character you may not understand, justify his/her actions, and come out of the experience with insight on their perspective. Dustin Hoffman is a character actor whose career has spanned over 40 years and includes roles in films such as The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Kramer vs Kramer, Rain Man, etc. Most recently he took on the role of director in the 2012 film Quartet. In an interview with The American Film Institute Hoffman discussed the profound effect working on 1982's Tootsie had on him. In the film he portrays a talented actor whose reputation as being difficult forces him to adopt the identity of a woman to land a job.
Watch the creation of Hoffman's alter ego Dorothy Michaels:
Watch Hoffman's emotional reaction to the character in a recent interview with American Film Institute:
These sort of realizations should be what you strive for in your career. Have you had an experience in which playing a role has changed your perspective?