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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The August 2014 entrée: Jason Palter » » Acting and Magic » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Steven Steele
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Jason,

Since you have been trained as an actor, can you perhaps give us some of YOUR insights in how you develop a character for a part. Maybe some advice that we can use to help develop ours initially,or maybe even further. I'd be interested to hear your perspective. Thanks!
Jason Palter
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Hi Steve:

That is a great question! Unlike many magic creators and lecturers, yes I am a full-time performer and an actor.

I’ll tell you that as an actor, a dancer, a magician, a singer, we really are just playing a “part” on stage. That character can literally be anything of course. In terms of magic, most professional magicians (me included) will tell you that the character really has to come from within, and you must be patient and let it evolve. So in my case, I discovered at a very early age that I had an ability to make people laugh, and as a result, that is basically the type of character I play on stage as a magician; comedy magic. That style of mine has evolved even more over the years, and I do a lot of ad-libbing and improvising too while performing. I could not play the type of more “dramatic” or serious character on stage to present illusions, mentalism, etc. or be a tattooed street-performer, because that simply just is not me. So I really think that your character has to come from within you and develop on its own. There are many younger performers that get frustrated because they are (example) 22 years old and don’t have a SOLID character down yet that they can portray. My response to that is to be patient, and let it come. Figure out WHO YOU ARE as a person, and let the character on stage come from there. It may take some time, but don’t be afraid to just let it flow.

Also don’t be afraid to ask others that you trust. I’ve had performers contact me for thoughts on this stuff too and character development, so your members can also certainly can give me a shout and we can chat about this.

Unlike a script that you get hired as an actor to play, you don’t HAVE to necessarily be a character you don’t want to on stage. Be who you want!

The other thing I suggest to any magician us that it is very important to take classes in acting, improvisation, and voice. Learn how to move on stage. Learn how to ad-lib a bit—even if that isn’t your style—because it is a good skill to have. Also learn how to BE HEARD….I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen a magician on stage or even doing close-up in a noisy restaurant without a microphone, who doesn’t understand how to project his/her voice, and beyond the first couple of rows, no one can hear anything. Or in other cases they do in fact have a microphone, and don’t understand how to use it (example: yes folks, when you continue talking to go pick up a prop and you move your head away from the mic, we can’t hear what you’re saying! lol).

Part of your character too is what you do on stage in terms of routines, so please be sure to choose the effects that work FOR YOU. Just because you saw a magician get a great reaction with a certain trick, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get the same reaction if you did it…..Maybe try to do the trick in a different way that suits better your style and character…..Or maybe be honest with yourself and determine that the trick doesn’t really fit for you, and go and do something else that will instead get a great reaction from an audience. As an example, my good magician friend Derek Selinger in Calgary, Alberta here in Canada has a very different performing style and character on stage than I do. He wanted to perform my trick that I created called “The Red Carpet” (http://www.paltergeist.com/theredcarpet.php). If you are familiar with the effect, the magician basically has “failed” at the end of the routine, and is left standing alone on stage with a fabric bag on their head. There is a shocking and hilarious climax that follows, but Derek had determined that while he wanted to perform the effect, he knew that he had to change it fit his style and on-stage persona. As he said to me in a phone call, “Jason, it doesn’t suit my character to fail on stage.” So he came up with a different presentation that involved the trick’s climax happening in a different way; more along the lines that in the routine he MEANT to do it in that way as far as the audience was concerned. To be honest, I think it is a great idea!…..but it certainly doesn’t fit my personal style or how I envision doing the trick. However it totally works for him and for his audience, and at the end of the day, that is what matters.

So hopefully that answers the question….or at least starts the discussion a bit more. What do you think, Steve?

Best regards,

Jason
shomemagic
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WOW...what a load of GREAT information.. Thank you Jason for sharing....
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
Steven Steele
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Thanks for the info Jason. I am not a classroom person, I don't function well as a kinetic learning environment. That being said, I have read several books and complemented the with videos to learn stage movement and acting. I have taken voice lessons and still do my voice exercises on a fairly routine basis. I've also read books on character development written by stage people as well as fiction writers. They have all given me a bit of information and I continue to read and develop further.
Jason Palter
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Hi Shomemagic, you're very welcome and glad what I wrote was helpful!

And yes, Steven the thing is that everyone learns differently. I sometimes like to learn off of a video or reading a book, but I also enjoy the environment of a class. It's good that you have recognized the way that you learn best, and are pursuing that way. If I may just offer a thought to perhaps once in a while try a classroom environment if you'd like--even if it is just with a private coach. The reason is that you will have a trained and OBJECTIVE person to give you thoughts and critique you (a book and video can't do that. lol).

Thanks again!

Best regards,

Jason
RobDougherty
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Hi Jason, I'm a beginner coin magician but have been performing on-stage as a musician and dancer for around 15 years and have amateur theatrical training. I've recently began incorporating a lot of technique learned from dancing to my coin magic (specifically in flurry routines and similar) and am worried that I may be "overshadowing" the magic with my (much more practised) "dance movements." Can you give any advice on how to effectively "reign in" those skills to ensure that they are working "for" the effects I'm attempting to achieve instead of against them?

Thank you for your time

Rob
Jason Palter
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Hi DiamonDobb:

That's an interesting question,. Your background as a dancer and musician would obviously lend a lot to performing magic; I'd be interested to see how you marry the two together!.......Basically I suggest that you want to ensure that the dance and music is sprinkled in as a "flavour" to what you're cooking with the magic. The trick is the main dish; the dance/music are the spices that you're putting on to make sure it tastes even better, if that makes any sense. lol The other thing I suggest is to have someone who understands performing and magic to watch your act and routines. That fresh set of eyes can be invaluable to point things out; sometimes we ourselves just can't see the forest for the trees, if you catch my drift.

I answered something very similar here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=372 The concern there was the same as yours---to make sure the effect is still prominent, and not the style (comedy, dance, etc.). You can have a read there too, but please let me know if I answered your question, and if you have any other thoughts. Thanks!

Best regards,

Jason
RobDougherty
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Hi Jason, thanks for the great reply and also the link to the other thread. It's definitely given me some food for thought going forward. I'm attempting to marry the "illusion" of magic with the "illusionary" style of funkstyles/body popping (use of muscles to give hand/arm movements more "animation" and emphasis being the main focus so far) and hopefully drawing closer to having a solid routine I can use to open a performance to music before moving on to more "classic" tricks like coins across etc. Thank you very much for your time, it's much appreciated.

Rob
Jason Palter
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My pleasure DiamonDobb! Good luck with it, and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best regards,

Jason
lilpixie
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For staters, I would like to welcome Mr. Jason Palter. While reading this thread I took notes. You answered some questions I been meaning to have answered.
I'm speaking on the behalf of myself when I say this, but I appreciate
you taking the time for coming to the Café and answering questions. Have a great
day and as always best regards..

Lil Pixie Smile
Jason Palter
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Hi lilpixie:

That is very nice of you to say! Thank you so much, and I'm glad that I helped give you some answers that you were looking for.

It's my pleasure to continue answering any questions and continuing the discussions!

Best regards,

Jason
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The August 2014 entrée: Jason Palter » » Acting and Magic » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes)
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