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Topic: Another thread about character!
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Oct 29, 2019 06:29AM)
Hello everyone I hope that you all are having a wonderfull day!
I have read a lot of posts on the Café about character but I still have some thoughts that I would like to discuss.

So I an writing a backstory for a character I would like to play. Im not done with the backstory but I have a base. I havent a 100% chosen this character since there are other characters I might want to play instead but I have atleast started on a backstory on this one.

His name is Tecum and he is a wampire.

He is 17 wampire years which is about 170 human years. He has filed his teth down to look human. Everyday he rubs his whole body in very strong suncream so that he can be in the sun. He wears sunglasses during the day. Tecum likes to perform magic in front of auidienced beacuse its the only time where he can show peapole his supernatrual abilities without being found out to be a freak , Tecum was allways taught to hide his abilities from humans. Humans killed Tecums father when he accidentally showed his abilities to humans. So performing magic is the only way for Tecum to express his true self in a world where no one understands him.Doesnt like peapole and lives isolated in s cabin. Tecum is the only wampire left on earth. Tecum also loves art and sees each of his magic routine as a seperate peice of art that he shares with his auidience. Tecum steals his blood from a blood donation centers but somtimes he has had to kill.

What do yall thinck about my character do you thinck it would be interesting and unuiqe?
So this is a short description of the character that I want to eventually play. Either this character or a hannibal style very classy but creepy style character.

This is a lecture tommy wonder did its amazing.

In the first 7 minutes he performs a manipulation routine in two different ways. Please watch the first 7 minutes of the lecture. My questions will make more sense if you do and the information is great.


So my question is what is your reason for beingon stage and pefroming magic

Is it because you want to demonstrate your supernatrual abilities

Is it beacuse your character sees magic as art and wants to share his art with the auidience?

These are just examples.

Now I'm looking for character driven answers what I mean by that is if you play a character what is your character motivation for being on stage and oerforming magic?

I am not sure about mine yet but I am leaning towards that my character sees himself as a artist and wants to share his peices of art to the public.

here I copied this mans post friend2cptsolo to illustrate my question better. Thanck you friend2cptsolo

One thing that did help me was to look up synonyms for the word "magician" = "a person who performs supernatural"
now what I find is...http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/magician
words like:

NOW take these words and just do a quick google image search .... example "virtuoso"
well with this example I see a lot of violinist all wearing very proper formal wear, if I relate this to character of a magician. I would say maybe it is someone very methodical in both his/her words and movement.... Everything is very clean and proper when presented ......

NOW what is a Diabolist???

Scary magic!!!! Casting FIRE!!! Making the unwanted Disappear!!!


Relaxed, and casual while at other times serious and intense.

Mix and match what you like best, something that suits you. How do you want other to see your magic?
To me these visuals help.

So my question is do you have to chose one? Of course I understand that these are just steriotypical examples and you can mix and match them as you like.

But imagine classy guy doing a pierric or cardini style act where the magician has no controll.

If I first do very controlled smooth magic then randomly I the magic just happens and I cant controll it, do yall thinck you can mix them without one ruining the other or do you have to chose one? To me it would seem weird if the magician at first controlls his abilities perfectly then suddenly he loses this controll to me it would ruin the whole thing.

But you could have this magic box that is the source of all your power and if you open it you can no longer controll your powers. You could accidentally open the box and then do a cardini style routine. Or something along those lines do you all thinck that would work?

I don't want to limit myself to one style.
When I see cardini or fred kaps I LOVE the story of how they have no controll.. And when I see lance Burton or yu ho jin I love how classy and perfekt the act is.

Do you have to chose or do you thinck lance Burton could pull of a cardini act.

My question is can you do booth styles in the same show without one ruining the other?

And my last question.

Has anyone played a dark murderer style character or vampire and if so how did that go?

Thanck you

And sorry for any spelling mistakes my english is not that good
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Oct 29, 2019 09:13AM)
And this is the problem with character. Many people that create a character only look at one very "me-based", egocentric element. "What kind of character would I like to make myself?" This is most common in amateurs or beginners. There should be many more elelemnts to this type of determination that often are not considered or understood.

First if it a time-period performance then great I can see a character of the time. But for most others, the majority of their approach and thinking is from a "me" perspective. What would "I" like? What do "I" think would be fun, interesting or cool?" What could "I" see myself as" And so on. This is the first mistake they are making.

A character should be about much more than just you. A character has to be something interesting, acceptable, believable, and comfortable to an audience. Who is your audience? Kids? Adults? Families? Professional? Next, is what primary performance market will your be targeting and serving? What character would be suitable, mass-appealing, and appropriate for that market? What aspects are you seeking from your character? It should be much more than just a premise for performing your tricks. What plays the desired way to the audience? What will get the reactions and responses you need or are seeking? What is a marketable character and dynamic to the buyers in the market? Is the premise mass-appeal to support your vision? Does the character play across all required mediums (one on one, on stage, in the press and media, in the market, etc.? Is it easily understood and identifiable? Does it fit your age and the demographic of your audience and the venues you are seeking? There are soooo many other elements that should be considered rather just "what do I like" or "what do I wanna be."

There is much more to consider from a business aspect as well. Is it commercial? Limiting? Where can you go with it? Will it be profitable? And again, so much more. Can it be congruent?

Also, forget the magic aspect, is it, can it be entertaining (not to you) to those that matter?

What is the real purpose in the first place? Is it necessary at all? What are the benefits and advantages to having a character? What are the negatives? The performance aspects are really only one small consideration of it all. Seems you may be focusing only on one aspect.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Oct 29, 2019 09:47AM)
More important than charectors what story are you trying to tell ? I see it being tough moving back and forth from done spooky actually magic being to a victim of magic. Also the more detailed a charector the more acting ability needed to be able to do it convincingly.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Oct 29, 2019 10:33AM)
Also, as it pertains to story or backstory, does it appeal to the audience and make them care, or is it just a premise that you think is cool? Backstory must be inviting, purposeful, and want to be excepted and indulged by the audience or again they will never invest in you or the performance.

How many people know what a wampire is? How many people really care? What does such a detailed story/backstory matter to the audience? To buyers?

The problem with something like this is the story must be told and understood BEFORE any of the performance will be accepted or make sense. How will this play to someone that does not know or get the backstory? Also, there is a difference between a story/backstory and a premise.
Message: Posted by: peppermeat2000 (Nov 9, 2019 10:57AM)
Will rubbing your whole body in sunscreen be part of the act...?
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Nov 9, 2019 11:24PM)
I get it... I really do. I understand the desire to create a character driven act. It gives us something to hide behind. A way of being something we could never be in real life. I guess I'm just different. I've always said that an act has a character, a show has a personality. The audience can admire a character but they pull for a personality. Yes, I do some character pieces in my show after they know me for who I am. In the end... I just want them to connect with and remember me... a real caring person that cares so much that every single person came out to see me. I do get the whole character thing, I've been a professional actor since the age of 12. I've just never seen a successful headliner in Vegas that gets consistent standing O's with a character driven concept. Yes, Piff is close, but he still allows his personality to shine through the character. That's what makes him a star and not just an act. It just depends on where you want to go and how far up the pyramid you want to rise. Just my 2 cents...
Message: Posted by: critter (Nov 10, 2019 05:01AM)
I can't think of a successful magician who isn't playing a character on some level, even if that character is just an exaggerated version of themselves. Except maybe Doug Henning.
It's all artistic lying.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 10, 2019 08:25AM)
I'm an extension of myself. I am not a good enough actor to do otherwise.
Message: Posted by: critter (Nov 10, 2019 12:30PM)
I will add since I mentioned Henning that his success was a combination of terrific skill AND being so purely himself. He was so genuinely ecstatic about magic and when your good intentions are real people can tell and they respond in kind.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Nov 16, 2019 01:15AM)
[quote]On Nov 10, 2019, critter wrote:
I will add since I mentioned Henning that his success was a combination of terrific skill AND being so purely himself. He was so genuinely ecstatic about magic and when your good intentions are real people can tell and they respond in kind. [/quote]

Again, it was his personality. He did play characters from time to time but his personality always showed through and that is what most people connected with.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 26, 2019 02:46PM)
I think it is important to develop a character that is not limiting. My Whit Haydn stage character was very limiting. The Pop character was changed as necessary to be able to comfortably handle any kind of magic that appealed to me. Pop can do a whole hour and a half stage show, or walk around without changing the character or background story.

I think that anyone contemplating a theatrical character should make sure of all the things that Mind Pro said. A character should be accessible and congenial with the crowd. An emotionally stricken, dangerous, or eerie character may be interesting, but who in the audience wants to spend time with him directly? Hamlet is interesting, but if I am going to have a beer with a Shakespeare character, it would be Falstaff.

Most people that come to me for character advice are really looking for a costume. They have a fantasy that they would like to be "Indiana Jones." Then they start looking for tricks with a whip, a gun, a fedora, etc. This is artificial and limiting. I suggest that it is better to look for a character that would best support the magic that you like and want to perform. I don't think you should even consider character until you have learned to present and entertain with good magic. Character is meant to serve the magic, not the other way around. We don't need theater and story to perform a strong magic trick, but it helps to get people to watch, and to keep their attention over a number of varied effects. In theater--when the story or message is the point--magic effects serve the story as transitional devices or special effects.

In "Our Magic," character and story are supposed to serve the Magic.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 13, 2019 04:25PM)
[quote]On Nov 26, 2019, Pop Haydn wrote:
A character should be accessible and congenial with the crowd. An emotionally stricken, dangerous, or eerie character may be interesting, but who in the audience wants to spend time with him directly? Hamlet is interesting, but if I am going to have a beer with a Shakespeare character, it would be Falstaff.

When I read threads about character, I immediately perk up whenever I see a comment by Pop, because you're pretty much the master of this sort of thing, and as you know I love drinking in your thoughts.

But for the quote above, I just think about our mutual friend, Rob Zabrecky. He's all the things you say the character shouldn't be: emotionally stricken, dangerous, and eerie. And yet it works for him, and he charms the audience. They love him. His little non-magical bit where he get the spectator's home location then peeks out from behind the curtain with one eye and asks, "Do you recognize me now?" has always struck me as a bit that should be avoided by any performer, yet it completely works for Rob, and no one is put off by it. So, how do you account for that kind of character? Do people really need to "want to have a beer" with a character to be successful? Or can a character they'd never want to meet in a dark alley in a million years still be endearing?
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Dec 15, 2019 10:44AM)
Thanck you guys for your responses
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Dec 17, 2019 01:30AM)
[quote]On Dec 13, 2019, danaruns wrote:
Do people really need to "want to have a beer" with a character to be successful? Or can a character they'd never want to meet in a dark alley in a million years still be endearing? [/quote]

This is such a vital concept for breaking out of an "Act" and having the potential for a full evening show. It is well understood that is not the expectation for many character driven performers, but is important to explore for those who are interested. Rob is such a wonderful example. I'll admit that I LOVE what he does and he is indeed a master at his act. I now have to say "Would I want to watch that character for 2 hours solid?" In his case, it's possible he could create a rich enough tapestry to support the time... but most can not. Personality carries a longer form while character typically does not. Yes, there are Broadway shows where artists portray single characters, some in a spectacular performance. Now compare that to a Las Vegas headliner who is a personality. He will typically generate a great audience response as the audience "connects" (or at least feels that they do) with his personality. As I have always said, an audience can respect a character but they pull for a personality. Are there exceptions? Of course. I will still stand by these rules for the VAST majority of performers.

Your own mileage will vary depending on your ultimate career path.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 17, 2019 01:53PM)
I used Rob Zabrecky for my last example. This time I want to do a 180 and go with a guy who's character was the polar opposite of Zabrecky's. His name was Woody Pittman.

In real life, Woody was kind of a goofy dude, and when he got on stage he became super nervous, and more often than not he would fumble and bumble things, and bomb because of his nerves. This caused him a lot of grief and was a big problem. His solution was to take those nerves was and exaggerate the heck out of them (yes, he really was nervous, but he covered it by playing it even more nervous), and turn that into a character. It was genius. So he took being wide-eyed, scared, and bumbling to a much higher level, and made it his character's entire persona. And IMHO it worked phenomenally. If you're not familiar with him, here is Woody Pittman doing his torn and restored newspaper, which I think epitomizes his character: https://youtu.be/KlqFy25PPME

What I like about Woody's character is that real people have flaws, and Woody's character was all flaws. One of the shortcomings of many magician-created characters is that they tend to be idealized versions -- essentially ego expressions -- and they are often without manifest flaws. Woody went the other way. He was a mess, or so it appeared. In the end, though, after bumbling his way through the material, he was revealed as masterful and completely in control, which he did with a wink, a half smile, and a conspiratorial twinkle in his eye. His character worked, IMHO, because audiences related to the flaws in his character. Yes, Woody was emotionally stricken. But it allowed the audience to put themselves right in Woody's shoes. Fear of public speaking is the number one fear, even greater than fear of death according to surveys. Woody allowed the audience to connect with him because he shared their fears, and he was sympathetic because he messed up just the way everyone fears messing up in front of a crowd of strangers.

Would anyone want to spend any real time with Woody's character? Heck no. It would be exhausting. But on stage it was phenomenal. He brought that same accessibility to an audience that Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau did. Woody's character also answered the question about why he was doing these things. He did them because he was a wreck! LOL! Could Woody hold an audience for two hours? I don't know, but he could definitely do it for an hour.

Tecumilic, I think your vampire character would be successful if you brought out his very human flaws, the same flaws the rest of us live with. Is he insecure? Is he afraid people will see who he really is and hate him for it? These are the kind of things everyone shares, and if you bring out those things -- the vampire who tries to pass for human so he will be accepted and loved -- I think audiences will connect very well with him.

Just my humble opinion. Others here know a lot more about this stuff than I do, so grain of salt and all.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 19, 2019 01:39PM)
I think there may be confusion. My posting RARELY will help to clear it but let me try.

To be "congenial with the crowd" is correct. The key word here are "the crowd". The audience that I would attract to my show is 180 degrees different from Rob and his audience. NOTHING wrong with this. Rob has a creation that will satisfy his crowd, and I would die the death for. Also the opposite is true. (Mind you I am only speaking about relating to an audience, not how to find said audience or market an act or any of those concepts, only how we relate to our specific audience.)

This is why in my view it is extremely important to have a very defined character to start with. You work within those boundaries and the audience that is there to see THAT creation is always satisfied. You can then present them as humble, arrogant, nervous, scared or any emotion you want to paint that particular trick with.

I think it is one of the things that magic suffers from. Guys feel the need to fill 80 minutes and go through some schizophrenic turns. I mean even as much as I admire Lance Burton it was odd to see in the same show him do the classic Lamp Post segment, and then do the American Indian theme bump routine. Yes he carried through with his personality the whole way through but it just seemed as if the themes were a bit of a stretch.

It is often tough to get magicians to understand that at the end of the day it might not be the "magic" that brings people to see them. Rather it is the person DOING the magic which drives people to want to see them, at least regularly.

Now for the confusing part LOL. Trying to FIND and ESTABLISH an audience is another entire subject. Meaning that if you go to a corporate strolling event it might be tough to push the vampire deal. It will have to wait until you can find your own audience to be able to actually find out just what will and will not work when you have these sort of less than mainstream ideas. They are niche for certain. Nothing wrong with doing a show like that. I actually think they are great. It is just tough to pull them off because of how limited the market is for them. In the right environment it can be a great selling point though!
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Dec 19, 2019 03:24PM)
[quote]at the end of the day it might not be the "magic" that brings people to see them. Rather it is the person DOING the magic which drives people to want to see them, at least regularly. [/quote]

That's the goal, isn't it? To be a unique act rather than an interchangeable "magician"?

Well, I guess that may not be the goal for everyone.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 19, 2019 06:05PM)
It always has been for me but I've found out mileage varies.
Message: Posted by: critter (Dec 19, 2019 10:34PM)
How about Gazzo? Pretending to be rude doing magic but much nicer IRL? (At least it seems, I've never met the guy.)