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Topic: Different Types of Children Entertainer Characters
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 4, 2008 11:50PM)
What types of Children Entertainer "Characters" have you seen?

Some I Could think of:
[*] Classic Magician: (Tux or Tails with and without Cape)
[*] Wizard: (Wizard Hat & Costume)
[*] Jungle Jim (Zoo Keeper)
[*] Clown Magician (Complete Clown Outfit Performing Magic)
[*] Silly Magician (Colorful Outfit without the Make-up, ie: Silly Billy)
[*] Balloon Magician (A Balloonist who add magic to his Balloon Act)
[*] Zoot Suit Magician (A colorful "Zoot Suit" Magician
[*] Vest Magician (Magician who Performs in a Vest Outfit, Colorful or Plain)
[*] Suit Magician (Standard Suit and Tie, Performing Magic)
[*] Blaze Magician (Suit Coat is a Bright Color, Red, Blue, Yellow, Odd, Etc.)
[*] Fairy Magician (Outfit is a Winged Fairy Costume)
[*] Princess Magician (Outfit is a Princess outfit "Princess Parties")
[*] Mary Poppins (Nanny type outfit: ie: Trixie Bond)
[*] Fire Safety Magician (Outfit is a Fire Officer: Themed Show)
[*] Police Officer Magician (Outfit is a Police Officer: Themed Show)
[*] Dracula Magician (Looks like "The Count" for Themed Halloween Shows)
[*] Elf Magician (Elf Costume for Christmas Show)
[*] Pirate Magician (Pirate Costume for Themed Show)
[*] Comedy Magician (A strange Unique outfit that reeks: Funny Man)
[*] Cowboy Magician (Cowboy Costume with related rope tricks: "Mini-Pony Production?")
[*] Singing Magician (Entertainer in an appropriate costume and his Guitar/Musical Instrument)

I would Love to add to this list....Got any Character you think might work?
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jan 5, 2008 12:22AM)
I have a friend in America who does many of these. Check this out:

Message: Posted by: yfoog (Jan 5, 2008 12:23AM)
I shall neither confirm nor deny that when performing I may resemble one of the people on that list.
Message: Posted by: alexa (Jan 5, 2008 07:41AM)
Are you looking for children's entertainment characters or magician characters? There is a difference.

I book myself as Princess Lexiloo, yes, but I specialize equally in magic and balloons, and have a few other activities (games, face painting) up my sleeve. However, I am NOT a clown.

I guess I fall into many of those categories.

Message: Posted by: AshleyW (Jan 5, 2008 08:02AM)
Dennis, I would like to add another dimension to "character".
I am talking about the character the audience sees.
In other words, "Who are you?"

I think the problem today is, all the performers who try to be "many of those".
The saying goes, Jack of all traits, master of none.
If you are the "magician for all occasions" or have "we do it all" on your website, I think you are sorely missing an important bridge that takes you across to professionalism. (along with that comes professional pay as well).

Remember, "a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician".
If your not in that mindset from the second the curtain opens, then you are merely a product demonstrator who appears overly-prideful at all the things he can do and the audience can't.

A [i]really[/i] good character takes years of trial & error.
It is the sign of accomplishment when you can be known in & out of your area as the __________ magician. Can you fill in that ________________ for yourself, or do too many adjectives come to mind?

I believe the one thing that makes them remember your name, the one thing that makes them tell others about YOU and not your magic is they clearly identified with your character. Your character is unique because it is a small part of who you really are, but more importantly, it is a large part of who you see yourself as onsatge. Let that "kid in you" loose on stage and you will begin to develop an alter ego, known as the _____________ magician.

Important: it's not so much can you fill in that _____________, but can your customer fill in that ________________ ? That is when, I believe, you have succeeded with character.

Although I am far from perfect and have much to learn, I have many client reviews that read almost the same. That means that I am consistent. Many of todays major corporations are striving for that word, consistent. They have found that from Apple to McDonald's, there is success in being consistent.

Your show should be littered with surprises, but your character should maintain consistency. It has been said that an audience does not identify (or become comfortable with) a magician until about the 25 minute mark of the show, well I believe that if you change hats during the show, that timer has to start over again. Therefore in a 45 minute show, you may never connect with your audience.

Look at Chris Capehart, look at Silly Billy...two different styles, two different characters. However, they remain constant. And they remain successful. You could easily fill in the ______________ on them after having seen only one show.

Well, those are my opinions on your show character. I believe it is the element I see most missing in performances today. Let's face it we all do tricks, many do the exact same tricks as the magi up the street, so what is the ONE thing that makes you stand out and become successful?...Your character!
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Jan 5, 2008 10:50AM)
Gee, my character isn't on the list...bummer. That would be "Normal funny guy magician".

I break it down like this:

Good kids show magician
Bad kids show magician.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Jan 5, 2008 10:54AM)
I would agree with Ashley, Dennis' list is certainly full of interesting ideas but only fits a small part of character with some of the options being merely clothes.

Whether you wear a vest or a suit is a very small part of character.

Some of them are a good starting point for developing a specific character (princess/zoo character) something I have considered in the past (I am thinking about performing adult routines as a retired army colonel) but theres still a lot more work to it than a set of wings or an elephant dung bucket.

Myself, like a lot of others use amplified versions of their own character. I sometimes have trouble switching Magic George off after I finish. Which can be quite annoying.

Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Jan 5, 2008 01:34PM)
There's a scarecrow entertainer, I think that's a fantastic theme. Also, a policeman would work, or a fireman. What's important is that you BECOME the character that you're portraying. No doubt a character entertainer is more memorable than a magician (sorry guys!) And can be far more endearing. Definitely food for thought.....
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 5, 2008 01:54PM)
Character in itself is really a skill which actors develop. There is a lot to consider when playing a character.

I Did not want to go into detail as to develoment of character because below are a few things one must consider when he chooses to play a character.

Lots of items won't fit me because of my age.

Date this chart was completed:
Character's Full Name:
Reason or meaning of name:
Reason for nickname:
Astrological Sign:

How old does s/he appear?
Eye Color:
Glasses or contacts:
Weight: Height:
Type of body/build:
Skin tone: Skin type:
Shape of face: Distinguishing Marks:
Predominant feature:
Hair color:
Distinguishable hair feature (bald, receding hairline, etc.):
Type of hair (coarse, fine, thick, etc?)
Character's typical hairstyle:
Looks like:
Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not:
Physical disabilities:

Character's favorite color:
Character's least favorite color:
Favorite Music:
Least favorite Music:
Mode of transportation:
Daredevil or cautious?
Same when alone?

When and how much?
When and how much?
How does character spend a rainy day?

Type of childhood:
First memory:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:

Relationship with her:
Relationship with him:
How many? Birth order:
Relationship with each:
Children of siblings:
Extended family?
Close? Why or why not?

Character's greatest fear:
What is the worst thing that could happen to him/her?
What single event would most throw character's life in complete turmoil?
Character is most at ease when:
Most ill at ease when:
Depressive or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
How s/he feels about self:
Past failure s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about:
If granted one wish, what would it be?

Greatest source of strength in character's personality (whether s/he sees it as
such or not):
Greatest source of weakness in character's personality (whether s/he sees it as
such or not:
Character's soft spot:
Is this soft spot obvious to others?
If not, how does character hide it?
Biggest vulnerability:

Optimist or pessimist:
Introvert or extrovert:
Drives and motivations:
Extremely skilled at:
Extremely unskilled at:
Good characteristics:
Character flaws:
Biggest regret:
Minor regrets:
Biggest accomplishment:
Minor accomplishments:
Character's darkest secret:
Does anyone else know?
If yes, did character tell them?
If no, how did they find out?

One word CHARACTER would use to describe self:
One paragraph description of how CHARACTER would describe self:
What does CHARACTER consider best physical characteristic?
What does CHARACTER consider worst physical characteristic?
Are these realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How CHARACTER thinks others perceive him/her:
What four things would CHARACTER most like to change about self? (#1 most important,
#2 second most important, etc.)
If change #1 was made, would character be as happy as s/he thinks?
If not, why not?

Is character divorced?
Has character ever cheated on significant other?
How does character relate to others?
How is s/he perceived by...
How does character view hero/heroine?
First impression: Why?
What happens to change this perception?
What do family/friends like most about character?
What do family/friends like least about character?

Immediate goals:
Long range goals:
How does character plan to accomplish these goals?
How will other characters be affected?

How character reacts in a crisis:
How character faces problems:
Kinds of problems character usually runs into:
How character reacts to NEW problems:
How character reacts to change:

Favorite clothing:
Least favorite clothing:
Other accessories:
Where does character live?
Where does character want to live?
Spending habits (frugal, spendthrift, etc): Why?
What does s/he do too much of?
Too little of?
Most prized possession:
Play musical instrument?
How does s/he learn?

Person character secretly admires:
Person character was most influenced by:
Most important person in character's life before story starts:
How does character spend the week before the story starts?
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 5, 2008 02:00PM)
I choose the Classical Magician for my Birthday Party Shows because I thought about these questions:

Why is the prospect looking for a Magician?

What is a Magician to a child supposed to look like?

What kind of Magic are they expecting?

Would a Rabbit make a difference?

Would an Illusion make a difference? (Chair Suspension)

Why did they Call me opposed to the many other magicians in the area?

It is these questions which develop the Birthday Party Magician Character.

Asking these same question related to a daycare center and the classic magician may not be as strong as a story telling magician.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 5, 2008 02:25PM)
There is only one character I can pull off and it is an exadurated, over the top version of me.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jan 5, 2008 03:46PM)
Like George, Santa and Al, my character is just my own personality turned up to 11. I wear all black - either a suit or black jeans and a short sleeved shirt. Somehow it seems to work. I suppose that as a vent I have to create and sustain numerous characters within a show and it's my job to be the 'normal' one.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 5, 2008 06:30PM)
I'm just me.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jan 5, 2008 07:04PM)
I fear Dennis may have induldged in a little too much merryment over the New Year! Analysis to Paralasis leaves no room for the creative flow.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 5, 2008 08:01PM)
Creativity Is another issue.

Is Kimmo a vent that does magic or a Magician that does vent? His Character escapes me, his website screams of ventriloquist that does magic. Neither is meant to be right or wrong, only of choice in character. He is a "Suit Entertainer" which fits well since his Characters are the puppets which are colorful and engaging.

"Being Yourself" is part of a character. It makes the job easier if your personality fits that character as oppose to creating a character that is "NOT YOU".

The way Tom and Tony look (thier Avatars), how can anyone take what they say seriously? Their visual display of their "character" says a lot about them.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jan 5, 2008 08:28PM)
I feel quite guilty now that I've given this so little thought!! Luckily I don't have to worry so much, since I only portray myself, and I know me pretty well!

Joking aside, I disagree with Tom's remark - I'm impressed by how much thought and effort Dennis has put into creating the character he portrays as an entertainer. KNOWING your character inside out probably aids the creative process rather than hinders it. There is so much more to BEING a pirate or a clown than just throwing on a costume.
His checklist will prove invaluable to many who are creating a character from scratch - it's great for us vents as well! Certainly food for thought.

Thanks Dennis!

BTW - Nowadays I consider myself a vent who does magic, although Charlie is so real to me that I usually think of myself as a double act! Late last year I dared to drop my rabbit from the show and added another character, who is fast becoming as popular as Charlie with the kids, so I've gone even further down that road.
Message: Posted by: Tom Riddle (Jan 5, 2008 09:12PM)
I am sorry, Dennis, that you take neither myself or Tony seriously. It is hard to take you seriously...........especially when your original words are not your original words. Check this out, all of you:

Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Jan 5, 2008 09:53PM)
On 2008-01-05 14:54, Dennis Michael wrote:
I Did not want to go into detail...[/quote]

LOL, Dennis, if that's not going into detail we all have a lot to live up to.

[quote] His (kimmo) Character escapes me, his website screams of ventriloquist that does magic. [/quote]

Kimmo has videos on his website so you can clearly see the he has character and is one! The essence of your character is surely something that bookers will see in the performance and is too intricate and complicated to describe on your website or use as a selling point, Unless your character happens to be encapsulated in a theme. Even then you will concentrate on the theme rather than what makes it work. i.e Theme: he's a scarecrow=makes good selling point. Character: the performers views and background behind the actions of the scarecrow= makes good performance and strengthens the character. The bookers just need to know Kimmo is a talented and funny vent/magician they don't need to know why (even after the performance)


P.S. I tend to take people more seriously with funny avatars. When I see ultra-professional avatars I always want to poke fun a bit. Don't know why. I'm just naughty I suppose. My gookie avatar was great fun I got a shout out from all the Marx Brothers fans on the Café.
Message: Posted by: Chris Egleston (Jan 6, 2008 01:02AM)

The way Tom and Tony look (thier Avatars), how can anyone take what they say seriously? Their visual display of their "character" says a lot about them.
Are you in elementary school, Dennis?
Message: Posted by: Signor Blitz (Jan 6, 2008 01:13AM)
I agree with magic santa - what ever happened to being a normal well adjusted human type person that is an excellent model of what an adult could and should be (when it comes to the areas of being kind, joyful etc.) Instead of another of the many human cartoons.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Jan 6, 2008 01:29AM)
"Huh" says George and hits Signor Blitz over the head with a frying pan and runs off the edge of a canyon.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Jan 6, 2008 01:29AM)
Dennis, the list you supplied (as Tom pointed out, in fact a list for writers of fiction), really doesn't work in my opinion. Then again, I'm not trained at RADA or something, but have developed my pirate character over years of performing in various pirate-themed shows. But essentially, like the rest of you, my performing character, Potty the Pirate is merely a distillation of my own self.
What IS important though, is that I have answers for the kids when the ask: "Who's your captain?"; "Are you REALLY a pirate?"; "Why are you wearing those funny shoes, pirates don't wear shoes like that?" etc. Also, it's essential to be comfortable in your role. To be a convincing character actor (which is what I consider myself, in addition to the tricks and gags I offer), you have to BE that character. Well, in my own case, I've lived a fairly piratical existence, so you could say that I'm a method actor. I really did spend ten years at sea, mostly in the Caribbean, and the numerous and various pirate shows I've been involved with (everything from "Pirates of Penzance" - many times, to Pirate song-and-dance shows, and other similar themes like "Beggar's Opera", etc), all help to lend an air of credibility to my stage persona.
Because I've spent a long time at sea, I know small details that others might not be aware of. Eg, my "Vanishing Bandanna" package is all beaten up and old, and inside there is a tape cassette. That's because, I can explain, as all sailors know, your post often arrives at port days after you've sailed, and it's possible to keep missing your post for weeks, months, or even years at a time.
I guess it's these small details that can really help to sell your character, but in fact you have to be yourself, it's no good pretending to be something you're not. Kids will see straight through it, and will be unimpressed.
that's why I like the scarecrow theme (and the pirate theme),because there really aren't any rules, you can pretty much make them up yourself. Rather than a big checklist of what your character should be, simply use your imagination. In my opinion it's simpler, and will lead to your developing a more convincing and entertaining stage character.
Potty :)
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 6, 2008 02:28AM)
I think Dennis is much closer to the mark than perhaps some of us realise.

Famous in the UK and possibly even more famous in Australia is and was a show known as The Two Ronnies. Note I don't say an act. It was a show featuring two known and established individual people, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.

Check them out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Ronnies

And whilst you're at it put "Two Ronnies" into Google and sites will provide you with copious quantities of pictures. Then you'll see what I am getting at and why Dennis is so close to the mark.

Corbett is the slim diminutive (5 foot 1 inch) variety act, a comedian who like so many turned his hand to sketches.

Barker, the big avuncular one was an actor and could and did play almost any kind of character, sometimes with no physical change to his appearance whatever.

The point is this. They worked separately in life, with their own careers. they worked together in their joint show and also quite separately in that show.

At some point Corbett would play himself, talking to the audience in hilarious terms about his life, experiences and particularly his home life - a gorgon of a wife, a mess of a home and dreadful children. None of it was even remotely true but as a stand-up (or in his case, sit-down) comedian his 'character' was nothing more than slightly exaggerated version of himself.

Barker, on the other hand, simply couldn't do that. He could not be himself. He loathed and hated people talking to him. He couldn't and wouldn't attend an event and make a speech. He would occasionally go and dress up as a character and talk as that character. But never as himself.

When they worked The London Palladium (twice) with a stage version of their television show (which they then took to Australia) they had at the very start to make an entrance and talk to the audience as themselves. No problem for Corbett but Barker couldn't do it. It was Corbett who had to help Barker (who wrote so many of their sketches) to play a version of himself. Which he did but hated it and couldn't get through it fast enough.

So you see you can as Dennis suggests play absolutely any role whatsoever which suits you and with which you feel not only comfortable but the ancillaries, props and costumes are practical and don't inhibit your performance.

And on the other hand one of those possible characters could simply be a slightly larger than life version of you from which you have hopefully eliminated those undesirable traits such as a limit to your patience and a homicidal attitude towards children.

Personally I'm just me, a slightly larger than life version of me. I'm an adult, not stupid but I am an adult and as all children know, adults don't always understand what a child says first around, they can look and not see what a child can see, like a tiny bird in a bush, so obvious to a child whilst remaining invisible to an adult and these and other adults traits I play upon to provide my character with a degree of - to a child - a degree of amusing confusion and perhaps silliness.

But I'm not stupid and not one of those delicious simple childlike clownish characters I find so funny but could never be.

I'll let you into a little secret. As any long experienced pro will tell you, you will recognise real success in yourself when you are yourself, even if that self can only be expressed through a different looking character. It's essential with children because a child can spot the genuine from the fake in seconds. It seems to be an instinct many of use tend to lose as we get older.

Beware of children. They know the difference between the genuine and the fake.
Message: Posted by: Signor Blitz (Jan 6, 2008 02:31AM)
Hey George,
Was the fry pan from the ACME fry pan company (lol) Beep Beep
Signor Blitz the boring
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Jan 6, 2008 05:07AM)
Dash it, I missed Signor..picks up frying pan and straps rocket to back.

That's a great post, Tony. I loved the two Ronnies and although this isn't a good example of anything you where talking about, I happen to have it in my favourites on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MadRUqMvm9c .

Ronnie Barker was one of our greatest comedy actors. When you saw him (very rarely) in real life you could vaguely see how he accomplished Arkwright and other characters but Fletch was just this perfect comic creation that should've been out of a man like that's realm. Absolutely extraordinary.

Corbett is a treasure (watch him in the clip above) noone can tell a joke like him. I don't remember any of the shaggy dog stories (I tell a lie " don't tell me you have a set of golf clubs down there too") but his presentation was utterly engaging and hilarious who cared about the punchline!

Playing someone different to yourself can work fantastically. Done well you have something unique. Done anything less than perfect blzzzhh (that's how I spell a raspberry).

As Tony says "Beware of children. They know the difference between the genuine and the fake."
So if you aren't playing "you" make sure you believe in however else you are being as much as the children do.

Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Jan 6, 2008 06:42AM)
On 2008-01-05 21:28, kimmo wrote:
KNOWING your character inside out probably aids the creative process rather than hinders it. There is so much more to BEING a pirate or a clown than just throwing on a costume.

kimmo that's is true. when I decided I want to do a children's show as a cowboy I wanted more then just a costume. so I started to look what I like and don't like. what is a cowboy and what does he do?

so I started to learning trick roping and catches. I close my show with this. what is the one thing a cowboy does? lasso! (lariat)

the nice thing is that there are so many magicians around but not so many cowboy childrens shows. this puts me in a nice position.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 6, 2008 07:34AM)
I knew my friend Robert Blake the Dutch cowboy would chime in sooner or later.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Jan 6, 2008 08:06AM)
Al, that's the nice thing if you have a themed character. it also gives many different ideas than just being a magician.

cowboy - cowgirls
wanted posters
harmonica - banjo
medicine show
can can girls
gorcery store
bad guys
sheriff - deputy
ghost town
etc. etc.

so many things possible with western. I see that I can do many years of exploring here for new ideas in just this one theme only
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 6, 2008 08:23AM)
Yes, the Character List I got several years ago, and saved it because it is "food for thought" I didn't save where it came from but I knew I had it.

As Kimmo said, when working with a puppet and one must give the a character, to make that puppet real as possible this list is valuable.

Obviously a Pirate Character would play better if the routines and props were themed related to a Pirate.

A Silly Magician Or Clown Magician could get away with doing more silly stuff than a Classic Magician. In the reverse, it would be harder for the Silly Magician and Clown Magician to pull off something serious.

Tricks and routines "Play Different" and "Work Better" based on character.

Your personality, that is if you really understand it, (That's a topic in itself), has a lot to do with what works and doesn't work.

Now a "Cowboy Singing Magician" is an interesting character, I absolutely know I couldn't pull that one off!

What is really important in this topic is fully understanding "Character" I would love to be an illusionist, but I don't have Black Hair that youthful handsome appearance, however, John Bundy, made me rethink this. Could I be a Count Dracula and do a Halloween Illusion show? Absolutely, and the routines would be re-designed on the theme. I do thank John Bundy for his insight on one of my dreams that I pulled off successfully.

Character requires thought, requires knowledge of what is "self-image" (Be yourself is not as easy as one thinks.) From this build on it. Does one of the listed characters appeal to you more than others, that a start on what might be a successful character. Knowing this makes purchase much simplier, as well as what to wear.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Jan 6, 2008 11:23AM)
I decided to pick my new character by putting the numbers of the cable movie channels into a cup and picking out numbers and taking my character from the descriptions of the main character on that movie or show either from the TV guide or IMBE. I'm proud to announce I am now:

a humorous black man who is also a serial killer who is pursued by an insane sheriff whos brother I killed. I am competing to win a cheer leader compitition but learn that friendship is more important and have sex with three women I meet at a laundry mat. My catch phrase is 'Great Scott!' and I'm a made man.

I'll let you guys know how I incorporate Hippity Hop Bunnies into this. Thanks for the tips on character developing!
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 7, 2008 11:55AM)
Last week the birthday girl kept asking "are you a real magician"....then went on to say all the effects she remembered from the last party. She remembered the magic wand...

In my programs I play me, playing characters.

Have harmonica will travel...


Coming soon to a mail box near me...a Zydeco Tie....can you say thimbles...