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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The clothes we wear » » How do you develop a character? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Whitewolfny
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I tried for years to develop an on-stage character that I thought would be what a magician was supposed to be. My idea of a proper magician was the man dressed in a tux, elegant, aloof from the audience. I tried doing that but felt very uncomfortable on stage. I then started performing not as a character but in a style that felt comfortable to me. It felt natural for me to talk to the audience, crack jokes, and be light hearted. As a result my magic got better and I got more bookings. So as the others have said, being yourself is a great way to start.

What feels comfortable to you as you perform is your natural character coming through. And after all, as the Professor used to say, "Be natural." By feeling comfortable in the style you like, you will most likely perform better because you aren't thinking about "What would my character do now, in this situation?"

At the IBM/SAM convention last year we watched a young lady perform a routine in which she played a character inspired from reading stories and a movie. She told the story of a girl going from rags to riches with her magic. This is entirely different from picking a character out of thin air and saying "Okay, on stage I'm going to be like this or that." If you're a natural at telling jokes or being easy going, than work magic that will let you bring that out in the performance. Don't try to think up a character, be yourself and one will develop over time.
Braxton Mannar
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John Long
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I recently saw a teaching video of Whit Haydn performing a trick in his prescoundrel days. I had previously seen him perform the same trick after the development of his "scoundrel" persona. What a difference! In his pre-scoundrel days he was a "nice"/ clean-cut young man performing magic. In his scoundrel character, he is doing theater; he is pulling you in to HIS world.

This is motivation for me to develop my "character"; I have a loooooong ways to go. But here's to that trip.

John
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Dennis Michael
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Developing Character is harder than doing the magic!

Sometimes it takes years, especially to be unique.
Dennis Michael
David Alexander
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I've seen Whit perform both before and after the "Pops" character was developed. At this point in his life he has the life and magic experience to make Pops work. I've seen Pops perform for lay audiences in Bel Air and he was wonderfully charming and well received.

Now, for Matt's question - I commend you for your ambition. The problem is that character-based magic is difficult to pull off even by experienced adults. I would suggest that you simply expand on the better qualities of your own personality for your performing persona. That's what a lot of really successful performers have done. Being seen as likeable the moment you walk on is a great skill to have. A sincere smile to the audience will help win them over as they will be making up their minds in the first few seconds you're on stage.

One of the keys to winning an audience is self-confidence. That comes from knowing your material so you can do it in your sleep. Don't just rehearse in little segments. Make sure you put everything together and work that. Pay attention to how you handle your props. Familiarity with your props, how easily you handle them, helps you look more competent on stage.

Script everything so you know exactly what you're going to say and then learn how to say it so it sounds natural and not something you're reciting by rote.

Don’t be overly ambitious in what you want to do. Doing three or four effects well, extracting all the entertainment you can, is far better than doing eight or nine things with less competence.

Best of luck.
RodHousley
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I agree that it is the hardest thing to do while you are young as sometimes your character comes with age because you have to know yourself before you can create a character for yourself. Knowing oneself may take time may take years, but don't give up just keep performing and soon you will wake up one day and say oh, that's my character and be totally comfortable with it. Keep performing and time will tell.
Steve_Mollett
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You will also notice certain character traits and personal 'themes' that naturally arise, again and again, as you practice and perform.
In time, these traits and 'themes' will become a foundation for developing your personal character.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
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Mike.Hankins
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There are many ways to develop a character. I taught improv, character creation, and development for a few years with a well known improv troupe. People came in looking to develop a character for all sorts of situations.

The actual "how to" could take days for me to type on here but let me try to name a few important things.

OTHER PEOPLE:
There are so many diverse people out there walking around who look different than us, talk different than us, move different than us, and heck, even SMELL different than us.
An exercise I used to give to students was to go out into the park or somewhere heavily populated with nothing but a tiny notepad and pen. Next step is to study as many people as possible. Write down a character trait you see from someone else that stands out to you. Maybe it is their accent that appeals to you. Now look at someone else. Maybe they have a very noticeable limp. Jot that down. Do this until you have about 5 or 6 things and now look at your list. Put it all together and become that character. You have just "created" a persona/character that you have never thought of before. Doing this one time may not give you the character you are looking for, but it will give you an idea on the character creation process. Eventually, you will have so many notes with so many traits written down, you will be able to come up with something very dynamic.

IMPROV CLASSES:
Some people hate improv. Other people love it. Whatever side you take, know that there is no denying that proper improv WILL help you open up your creative juices. Improv FORCES you to create characters on the fly. (And in the process, you will learn blocking, staging, learning how to come out of a situation when things go wrong, etc...). Check out your local community college and sign up for an improv class!

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
Mr. Steve Mollett brings up a HUGE point in that your personal experiences WILL help you develop a character over time. A lot of one-liners and routines have been developed by mistakes, hecklers...etc. Magic by Design, by John Carney talks a LOT about character creation and development.

That is all I can muster up at the moment, but there are a lot of books out there that teach us about all of this stuff Smile

Mike
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Keith Mitchell
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Quote:
On 2009-02-25 12:22, Alan Munro wrote:
One of the hardest things to do, especially when you're young, is to be yourself. A big part of the problem is not knowing who you really are. Many think they know who they are, but they're usually mistaken. It's a hard thing to figure out, because it may require stripping away your upbringing and see who you are at the core.

On the other hand, creating a character may be easier, and in the process you may figure out who you are. Start with the physical traits, how you move and talk - all the things that an audience can observe about you. Then, work from there.


I agree with a lot of this, but sometimes it is also our peer group that influences our behavior. So, if your peer group is influencing you on how you behave and dress, are you ready step away from those influences and make changes?

Try this as a test to see how far you are willing to go to step away from the norms of your social life. You are probably dressed in t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers when you go to school so now you want to develop a new character. Pick one day of the week for a whole month or longer to put on nice dress shoes, pants, shirt, tie, and jacket and watch the way people are going to behave towards your new dressing habits. This has to be done at your school where it makes everything harder. What is going to happen? This all depend on you and how you are able to deal with it. If you find yourself able to deal with it in a positive way, then it might make it easier for you to get up in front of an audience. Remember this is a test and it might be a challenge, maybe a challenge that could make you stronger giving you ideas to build a new character.

Another test is to where a different costume on this chosen day of the week, but make sure you have permission from your school to do this.

Have fun
Al Angello
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Keith
I began to develop my character when I cut off my pony tail, and started to wear a tie. My wife helped me pick out dress clothes with a flair, and I went from a burnt out, middle aged hippy to wild dressing short haired juggler/magician.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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pradell
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Matt, when I was in Jr. High I took magic lessons on Saturdays from Herb Downs, who lived on 44 Marked Tree road in Needham Mass., the town where you live! He was the secretary and then the president of the Society of American Magicians. He was also my graphic arts teacher, the founder of an after school magic club, and my magic mentor. His picture is prominently displayed in the magic room. The inscription reads, "To my friend in Magic." While Herb passed away many years ago, his mentoring and motivation of me as a teenager is still something I cherish.

I have mentored other entertainers over the years and helped them to develop their characters. So my advice to you, at age 15, is to find someone in the Boston area like Mr. Downs who can take you under his or her wing, get to know you, and help you to develop your unique style of presentation and character.

:magicrabbit:
MrHoudini666
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Should your character be a reflection of your real personality? Or is it okay to have a completely different character than what you are really like?
Dougini
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This lady wanted to know if her clothes reflected her "look" as a magician. Here is her website:

http://www.MissEdith.de

Today, I believe, she does not need the "Sorceress" look. She is perfect in the pink outfit on her opening page, and, the page under "Kontakt", the white dress with red flowers is another very attractive look.

I wonder if anyone else agrees? She does children's birthday parties and balloon sculpturing. May I add, a very pretty woman as well, in my opinion.

Doug
Al Angello
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She looks like she is going to lunch with her girl friends. I would never wear a white dress to do a kid show.

My character is an exadurated version of me.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Bill Hegbli
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Al Angello, you would terrible in any kind of dress. LOL

Not reading German or the language that is on the page, it all depends on the magic she is presenting.

I did see a 20 minute act and a 30 minutes of balloon modeling. The Hot Pink is great for the Balloon modeling.

A sun dress would not be good unless she cover here shoulders with a jacket.
Dougini
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Quote:
On 2010-09-04 07:16, wmhegbli wrote:
Al Angello, you would terrible in any kind of dress. LOL


ROFLMAO!!!! Ohhh. Bill, you about made me spit my ginger ale all over the computer! Man, that was funny! Ha!

I made a mistake, it's not the Kontakt page, it's the Angebot one. Regardless, the lady has class. And really, it fits her. She has a black outfit on one of those links. That is also very magical...dark and mysterious. Matter of taste, I guess. Germany has a different fashion sense, than we do, here in the states. I lived there for two years. I'd love to see her perform. She is unique.

Doug
magic maniac
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As a kid I always thought injuring myself was the way to build character. In fact every time I ever hurt my leg, my dad would say "walk it off, it builds character".
Pat Perry
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Most of us don't play a real different character on stage. It's more an extrovertet version of yourself. Still your real personality, but adoppted for a performance in front of an audience. In my opinion it's the same for the clothes we are wearing. Is has to have a connection to your personality and not to the cliche of a magician (same story for the effects you present). This way the magic world would be far more authentic and diverse.
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