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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Choosing a character (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Aus
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Australia
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If you want to explore the most effective character for the performance of magic that applies to you then you need to be pragmatic about it. Take your experiences well performing and use them to answer questions like:

What aspects of yourself will work best in the context of the kind of magic you want to do?
What aspects of yourself appeal to your audience?
What aspects of yourself will add to the conviction of your magic?
What aspects of yourself will best produce the kind of reactions you want to elicit from your audience?

Taking your experiences and experimenting with your character will yield you the answers to those questions and much more over time.

Also, the type of magic you perform can define the character you adopt. With magic having a multitude of themes like mental effects, gambling routines, comedic magic, occult effects and others, it might be a good starting point to ask yourself what tricks you like to perform and what those tricks suggest about the person who would perform them.

Magically

Aus
DaveGripenwaldt
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A while back, I posted this in another thread touching on some of the same issues as your post, so some of it may apply for you.

Like Dana and Chris, I am a big believer in having your performing persona be an extension of yourself. Sure, there are people that can pull off a Meryle Streep-like transformation into any character, but most people lack the talent and experience to do that. Being yourself (or close to it) is so much easier to pull off. So that’s where I would start.

1. Know how you come across as a person. Funny? Serious? GQ? Professorial? Charming? Pushy? Con man? Friendly? Current? Chris' suggestion of talking to your friends about how you come across is so valuable - don't miss that one. The adjectives and descriptions of how they see you are gold for developing a performing style that fits.

2. Build on that. Create your on-stage personae out of how you come across naturally.

3. Build on that. Who you are can suggest how you present material. Suave, man of the world? Con Man? Pop Hayden? Chris Angel?

The added benefit of doing the above work is that it will help you make fitting choices in material; helping suggest and reject specific tricks because they flow out of your personae rather than being shoe-horned in because you happen to have bought the prop when you were 12. Shin Lim could choose to do the 20th Century Bra trick, but I doubt he will...it doesn't fit his style and persona.

5. Build on that. Take the material you like and that fits (or you can make fit) your personae and think about how that trick's presentation matches you. Pop's videos are a perfect example of that approach. Another example is Gregory Wilson's character of The Honest Con Man. So, though he can perform twisting the aces with any presentation he wants, he makes it fit by presenting it as a demonstration how a con man can distract/misdirect you. Every ace that turns over becomes a further proof he got you to look away just long enough to do the secret move. It takes a simple routine and makes it a stronger, more memorable performance piece because the patter and presentation makes sense with his performing style.

6. Build on that. Ask yourself why are you showing a particular trick to the audience? An effect can have any number of story arcs, so which one fits in with all of the above?

This is the first trick I ever learned...
There are ghosts...
There are no ghosts. This is really what is going on...
I got scammed the other day...
This is how you can be scammed...
Science just discovered that...
Have you seen the latest security tech?
I found this at a garage sale and...
Do you believe in mind reading?
Mind reading is just face reading...
The NSA is listening to everything...
Let's make a friendly wager...
One time I saw a guy do the weirdest thing...

7. Build on that. Write the trick's specific story content that is consistent with the premise and persona.

8. Build on that. Hone the script through real performance...tweaking it as new lessons are learned and lines come up on the fly.

Good luck on sifting through all that's been shared and applying it to your unique style.
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