How do you express your character?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Philipp S.(4), Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Hey there,

    recently I thought of how I can express my character in my tricks. Do you do it through language, through subtle body language signs, your behaviour (which is everything but how you treat people, how you react to them, etc.) and where should I first focus to express my character? And how you do it? I got some of my favored attributes down like being approachable, being warm, being nice/sympathetic. But thats not really hard. How would you express being sophisticated or/and provocative?
    Cheers
    Philipp
     
  2. Well, first you have to understand your character. Who is he? Why does he do the things he does? How does he do them? What is his goal?

    From there you develop with, How does he dress? What's his aesthetic sense? Is he spartan, decadent, utilitarian? How does he talk? What kind of words is he likely to use?

    And of course, all of that dictates the kind of material you can perform and will often dictate the kind of scripting you can use. This, then, becomes how you express yourself.
     
  3. Sophistication is a challenge for persons that were not raised in a social world where things like etiquette and political tact are taught via osmosis -- the environment in which you were raise. That's not to say you can't develop such an image but it takes some serious dedication, attending workshops that will help you cultivate the skills "for working the room" as well as how to project yourself as a proper gentleman that's educated, knows how to speak properly and who has a wide range of knowledge on numerous topics. We're talking about years of cultivation and modeling yourself off of similar personalities as Lance Burton, Blackstone, and similar legends.

    A Provocative persona is a bit more complicated in that there are many routes that one can take that are provocative, not all of them conducive when it comes to show biz. I'm a provocative personality in that I'm rather blunt most of the time and call a spade a spade -- it's rare that I pull my punches and so I rub a lot of people wrong. At the same time however, my personality has brought a long list of working pros to my door because they know I don't go in for the BS; I want things simple and to the point. I want to create what is effective that leaves long lasting affects on one's audience. My ties to Urban~Shamanism compounds these things adding a layer of mystical belief that many in magic rear from because we are indoctrinated (brain washed) to not believe in the fantastic and miraculous. Interestingly, there are more and more of us coming out of the wood work and claiming our beliefs and daring the bullies to challenge them. But that's another story.

    My persona is the result of decades of living life in that I play myself for the most part; a guy that has a unique family pedigree that lends itself well to the flavor of magic he performs. More than familial ties to mysticism there is the fact that I've been involved with the "New Age"/Neo Pagan movement for most of my adult years and am reasonably well rooted therein e.g. it is a part of who and what I am. The moral of the story being; look at your own life, family history, etc. and find those quirks that best fit who you see yourself as or more importantly, who you see yourself becoming. While I have a family of believers and mystic doers there's likewise a long line of intellectuals, politicians and even inventors that I could have pulled from. All of us have a variety of personalities in our family line that can help sustain the mold we find to be most comfortable; all of us have personal interests and a "resume" from which we can help augment and build that idea, refining it so as to meet our personal vision.

    If you've ever played a Fantasy Role Play game in which dice are used to help generate a character then you know that characters NEVER turn out how you envision them, it's a roll of the die. This is true with life, but we must start with our basic vision and then trust that fate will deliver to us those tools and assets we require for rounding out that manifestation.
     
  4. I don't feel like character is something that you should necessarily work towards. I feel like a better way to establish character would be to do and perform magic that fits you. Have a good idea of what you like in magic and what you feel like you can achieve. Work on your magic tighten it up and perform it as best you can. You don't need a label to become a great magician.
     
  5. This is true if you want your character to be an extension of yourself. When performing close-up, I am basically performing as myself (perhaps a slightly overconfident and bigger version of myself, but myself nonetheless). However I have done parlour shows as a variety of different characters in the past; a grouchy old man with a hatred for his fellow performer; a slimy politician in the run up to the previous general election etc. These shows were so dependent on the characters in them that trying to play them as myself would have defeated the point.

    In regards to expressing your character, learn to act. If you have the time and money, taking an acting class could do wonders for your performances. Watch videos of similar people and pick up on any mannerisms they have, the way they interact with others, even what clothes they wear. It's really not down to any one thing (language, subtle body signs etc) but really all these things as a whole. Even if your character is an extension of yourself and not a new person completely, pay attention to your own personality and figure out which bits should shine through in a performance and which bits you should de-emphasize. As Goatears mentions, the tricks and script you use will help shape your character, or should be shaped around your character.
     
  6. Hey there,

    first of all thanks for your answers. I made a list with the characteristics I want to represent. Then I tried to model the scripts around the tricks so that they represent my character. Afterwards I tried the out. I failed miserably. It was generally a bad day but most of the scripts I wrote have to be rewritten/can't be used further. Do you think this is good? That if some things don't work one evening (4h for me) you throw them out or when do you decide a script doesn't work for you? My humour mostly relies on situational humour (I can pick up on what spectators said and can turn it into a joke pretty good.) and it's hard to embed this into my scripts. I sometime ask provocative questions where I am hoping for some answers but I don't force them. I think I am a warm, approachable and sympathetic person and I think I am able to translate this very well in my performances. I also am able to project my thoughtfulness. But I find that the answers aren't equally good. Some tables seem to be very good (I call them normal tables), then there are tables who are sceptics, hard to win over, tables who just don't want it and tables who have a very critical, reserved attitude. I find it hard to win those tables over. Usually my success rate with tables is close to 85-90% (tables which liked the performances, weren't disturbed, who had a great time, etc.). The other tables are not playable for me. I'm sure I am doing something wrong. But that evening where I tried out my new tricks the failure rate was significantly higher (got busted a couple of times which is not good but now I know what to improve, and some tables were plain awkward.). I feel like before I tried to shape my character my success rate was better. Maybe its's just the disappointment over a bad night. I will see where I can improve in the future.
    Cheers
    Philipp
     
  7. That;s awesome that yo can do that but make sure to have some jokes that can work all the time. Some spectators aren't going to give you anything to work with. In which case stock jokes work fine.
     
  8. Perhaps it was that the performance felt unnatural. I'm assuming you only had a day or two to practice them there. Was it certain lines/jokes that didn't seem to work, or were they just not receptive to the performance overall? Could you film a trick for us, so we can get a better idea of what isn't working?
     
  9. It felt kind of awkward because some of the jokes didn't come over as I imagined while others came over better than I thought. I guess I will try out different presentations and see what happens.
     
  10. Good luck. If you can pick out the bits that worked last time, your presentation will gradually refine itself. Have another look at the jokes that didn't work like as you'd expected and keep tweaking it until it fits you.
     

  11. I wear pink robes and a pointy hat, speak with an affected voice and archaic vocabulary, and occasionally ramble about my fictional powers and back story from the LARP world I came out of. I also tend toward magic and other performance mediums that lend well to the Wizardry theme. For me, the voice is the biggest ingredient to developing a character. Once I've got a voice, everything else falls into line: movement, mannerisms, vocabulary, posture...the list goes on. Different people start in different places when getting a character together, but for me it starts with the way they talk.
     
  12. @RedbeardThePink
    That's a nice idea. I notice that my character changes depending on which voice I am using. But what if I am using my normal voice. How would you build a character around that?
    @all
    What do you think of the apporach to write down all the characteristics one wants to project and then try to implement them in every script?
     
  13. That sounds like an excellent plan. You might not need every characteristic in every script, necessarily, but have a go and see what feels right. Let us know how you get on.
     
  14. MY basic character is being very polite, somewhat funny and not really outgoing and very warm/nice/sympathetic. Then I randomly add (during my performances) some things that I think will convey a certain characteristic. That hurts somewhat. I will see how it goes. If I showed you a basic script of mine and showed you the changes I did to it, would you be willing to assist me a little bit so I have an action which I can follow to transfer every script of mine?
     
  15. Hey There,

    i wanted to give a quick feedback on how my evening went. Why should that interest you? Because I think I made some important discoveries that I want to share with you. On Wednesday I was able to whitness a Doc Eason seminar. It was great. 2 things that paticularly stuck with me were: a) remember their name for a longer period of time (you leave the table, 20 mins you come back and ask how X is doing) and b) forward leaning (active posture) and backward leaning (passive posture). Also I bought this awesome book by Gary Kurtz. I found that with more energy, more focus on the spectator, longer moments of silence and ignoring every kind of heckler I moved to a stage where I am able to detect in 1 sec. if the table is accepting me or not/if they even want to, when to ask a spectator a question, how to involve everyone and how to amplifying magic effects while still giving them some kind of magical experiences to them. I also noticed that people love to watch the reactions of their friends. All in all I think I found a little part of me today and a part of performing I will carry on.
    Cheers
    Philipp
     
  16. If you have a template that you use for every script, then every script will sound the same and it won't be natural.

    I find the best way to write natural, flowing scripts is first to start with a well defined character. By this I mean - know the character so well that you know what they would say in any given situation. Your character is polite, funny, not very outgoing, but very warm. What books does he like to read? What art does he like to look at? What movies would he go see? What's his favorite drink on a cold night? What would he ideal vacation be?

    When you really delve into character creation you start melding that character with yourself. You start becoming that character to a degree which allows you simply to know what they would say. At that point, writing a script is just writing down what you're thinking then cleaning it up.
     

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