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Topic: Character
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Sep 8, 2013 12:31PM)
I'd be interested in people's thoughts about (1) Why creating a character is important and (2) How to go about creating a character that best works for the individual magician. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Sep 8, 2013 07:18PM)
Not sure this post belongs in "Ever So Sleightly" but I guess it'll get moved if it's in the wrong place.

Besides "characters" potentially being more entertaining than we are ourselves, they allow us to step back and focus more on the entire presentation of our acts--our words, our actions, our dress. Is the character funny? Is he pompous and stuffy? Is he mystical? Is he a shyster? Is he a sharp dresser? Is he a bum? Is he a wizard or a clown?

People are not necessarily going to be in the correct frame of mind to be entertained if the performer seems to be an ordinary, boring guy who just got up from watching tv in his apartment before showing up onstage. Or maybe they could be if THAT character were fully explored.

Some very well known performers--actors, musicians, magicians--never appear in public out of character, but the character we see may be nothing like what they are when they're at home with a beer and their feet are up on the coffee table.

The "character" can simply be a variation of you or it can be someone completely removed from your own personality. But it should be very carefully thought about.

If you just learn some tricks and show them off, you're going to look like a guy who learned some tricks. Would you pay good money to hire or see him?
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Sep 8, 2013 09:20PM)
CJ is completely right.

Because character can make a good show great and a great show even better.
Some characters are just an extension or exaggeration of one's self. Greg Wilson , urban ninja- is the honest con man. Bill Malone - just the funniest guy in the room. Others take their character someplace completely different. John van der putt has a great effect- VDP. How much better is it when he does his character PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGON. It takes that effect and show to the next level.
Perhaps the best example of this is whit Hadyn's character. Whit was a tremendous performer- a leading magician and creator in his field for over 30 days. Then He became Pop. IMO - the best Character and performer there is. Absolutely made a great act even better. Watch YouTube vids of early Whit doing his teleportation device and then watch the evolution of both his character and the performance while he performs as Pop.
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Sep 8, 2013 09:22PM)
And as Harvey Keitel once said" just. Because you are a character doesn't mean you have character". Or something like that. Great line.
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Sep 9, 2013 05:44AM)
Thanks for the responses. I guess my reason for posting to this forum comes from struggle to do final loads. It becomes easier if you bring some sort of "style" to your act which explains special clothing (like a jacket or vest) or covers exaggerated motions like twisting to the side and putting a hand behind my back. I'm naturally kind of laid back and thoughtful, and I'm having difficulty finding a style that feels natural but also covers what I need to do. I could never pulls off Gazzo's in-your-face and right-under-your-nose antics. Al Schneider is a better model for me.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Sep 9, 2013 08:11AM)
You can load from your back pockets.

If you think exaggerated motions make up good magic, you're on the wrong path. You don't need any sort of character to get a decent loading sequence working.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 9, 2013 02:49PM)
Kent is absolutely right here. ANY movements you make must be completely natural. Period.

There is a lot about final loads in the Secret Sessions. Get your post count up to 50, and you will be able to find that area.
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Sep 9, 2013 05:34PM)
Thanks all.
Message: Posted by: scott0819 (Sep 10, 2013 09:24AM)
My opinion; creating a “character” for yourself is only applicable to working performers and then only in certain venues. Snapping into a “character” when it’s time to show friends or family a trick is just strange. I find it totally bizarre and alienating as a spectator when I see people I know do this.

Interacting with your audience in a natural way can provide all the misdirection you need for your final loads.
Message: Posted by: Rook (Sep 10, 2013 09:38AM)
Characterization helps build cohesiveness through a routine; one trick flows more easily from one to the next if there is some reason that the person performing has to do it.
-Tom
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 10, 2013 10:31PM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-10 10:24, scott0819 wrote:
My opinion; creating a “character” for yourself is only applicable to working performers and then only in certain venues. Snapping into a “character” when it’s time to show friends or family a trick is just strange. I find it totally bizarre and alienating as a spectator when I see people I know do this.

Interacting with your audience in a natural way can provide all the misdirection you need for your final loads.

[/quote]

This is not actually the case. If you find yourself assuming a second persona when working for your friends and family and getting caught because they think you are "doing something," an effective way of keeping this from happening is to create a character that is similar to your own persona, and then staying in that character as much as you possibly can.

It's not easy.
Message: Posted by: Motley Mage (Sep 11, 2013 06:16AM)
I am with Bill on this; even in everyday life, we play variations of ourselves as we move through different roles. My "professor" character in the classroom is still me, but he is a far more confident, energetic me than.the "father" I play at home or the "colleague" I play in a faculty meeting.

Another issue mentioned is consistency in a given seyying. While many magicians play multiple themed characters depending on the venue (Payne, are you listening?) a common error less experienced magicians make is to change character based on the trick. That is, don't be smoothly debonaire when doing silks, then slick and hustler-like when doing a shellgame routine, then get all mysterious when doing a mentalism bit. Adjust the performance to the character whose skin fits you best.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Sep 14, 2013 02:59PM)
Personally, I'd love to see Payne, but only Payne, slip from character to character between tricks. A one-man "Magic Through Time" act.

I bet he could pull it off.
Message: Posted by: yin_howe (Sep 16, 2013 10:41AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-09 09:11, kentfgunn wrote:
You can load from your back pockets.

If you think exaggerated motions make up good magic, you're on the wrong path. You don't need any sort of character to get a decent loading sequence working.


[/quote]

I learnt something here! Nice one Mr Gunn
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Sep 16, 2013 03:34PM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-11 07:16, Motley Mage wrote:
I am with Bill on this; even in everyday life, we play variations of ourselves as we move through different roles. My "professor" character in the classroom is still me, but he is a far more confident, energetic me than.the "father" I play at home or the "colleague" I play in a faculty meeting.

Another issue mentioned is consistency in a given seyying. While many magicians play multiple themed characters depending on the venue (Payne, are you listening?) a common error less experienced magicians make is to change character based on the trick. That is, don't be smoothly debonaire when doing silks, then slick and hustler-like when doing a shellgame routine, then get all mysterious when doing a mentalism bit. Adjust the performance to the character whose skin fits you best.
[/quote]

I used to be guilty of this. Changing Character based off of the trick I was doing. Video tape your performance and watch it a week later. You might be surprised on what you see.
Many tricks, including the classics can be modified to fit your character. Make the trick your own. If it doesn't fit your act, remove it from your act.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Sep 18, 2013 05:54AM)
There is a very interesting discusssion here in the café (in Food For Thoughts) about this topic with a superb master in building up a character: Pop Haydn.
Message: Posted by: BeThePlunk (Sep 18, 2013 06:45PM)
Thank you, Lawrence for referencing the Food for Thought thread.