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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » How long did it take you to find Silly Billy? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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One of the most hashed-out complaints amongst kid magicians is the guy who buys a book, gets some props, and expects to be a performer in a week. I know I've been guilty of buying something that looks great, figuring out how to work it, and then throwing it up into my show. (Sometimes that a more appropriate picture than I want to admit!) And it can sometimes take a while to realize that it's not the tricks - it's the performer, and you'd better have a performer up there doing those tricks or things will fall flat.

How long did it take you to find Silly Billy and look at your routines and perfomrmances through his eyes and mind? Can you share some about how you grew into this character.

Ed
David Kaye
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Another interesting question...

Your character is usually, and most easily created as, an extension of your own personality. Often the character is your characteristics, but exaggerated. For example, Larry David on TV is well-known to be a lot like he is off TV. But more so.

In school I was always the class clown. So I have been making people laugh for a long time. I think SIlly Billy must have started out as ME, but just in a costume. I would say it took at least 5 years to understand Silly Billy and really think like him. Who is he? How old is he? Where does he live? Sisters, brothers?

You know you have your character when you start talking about him in the third person.

I often teach about character by talking about Bart Simpson. If I said, Bart Simpson goes in a car wash. You could probably tell me 5 things he would do while he was there. Think about it. ... Im waiting.... Seriously, stop reading and think about it. What do you think?

He might try to walk thru the wash and see what happened. He might spray his dad with a hose when he gets out of the car. He might smoosh his face into the windshield so when the car comes out of the wash the cleaning guys see his face all funny. The reason we know this about Bart is because his character is so well defined. So you have to have a well-defined character. Ultimately, your character will react automatically like its own person.


I recently heard Meryl Streep talk about this. She was asked if when she acts is she aware that she is Meryl acting. And Streep said that sometimes she loses herself and then she really is the character, reacting as the character. Interesting stuff.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
www.sillymagic.com
Ba Ba Booey
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In Denver, I have no less than
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Hi David,

Are there any books you would recommend on character development?

Mark
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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I imagine you did a TT routine during your early years. And I can imagine that it wasn't like you do it now. With a routine like that (or perhaps the Crystal Tube or something else), did you ever have to just stop and put it away until you could fit the new person into the trick? Was it a gradual adding bit by bit? Or was there some "quantum leaps" as this new person began to take over your show?

Did you actually have to take some time to plot out this character? Or is Silly Billy just someone you began to understand gradually over time? Can you point to some definite events or resources that guided you or made you turn a corner? Or was it just working things through one show at a time?

Ed
David Kaye
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Ba Ba Booey, I don't really know about the books on the subject. Though I would guess that Max Howard has probably written about this. He is the expert on character creation. His Chinese Checkers lecture is brilliant.

Ed, The tricks and the character developed continually over time. There were no giant leaps. I remember adding a new joke into my Farmyard Frolics routine years after I started doing it. After 500 shows I got a new joke. That is very rewarding. So the TT and other routines I always did and always evolved.

There are tricks that I bought and didn't use for years. just sat around and I would notice them once in a while. and then at a later date, something about it jumps out at me, and I start using it.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
www.sillymagic.com
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » How long did it take you to find Silly Billy? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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