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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Developing a character (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

TheTopHat
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Hello everyone!
I just signed up here and this is my very first post. I have a problem I have been struggling with for many years and I need some advice. I know there are many threads about developing a stage persona but none of them really answers my questions.

I'm kind of an introvert and shy to my nature. In everyday life I tend to avoid being the center for everyones attention and avoid the spotlight. When I was a child I found magic and fell in love with it. I practiced it by myself and performed only for familymembers. In seventh grade I started to perform to others outside of my family and slowly my confidence and courage started to grow. Eventually I started doing childrens parties, daycarecenters, schools and minor gigs in the community. I did that for about three years before I started working more and my magic gigs got less. I still perform from time to time but there is something holding me back...

Up to this point I still haven't figured out who I am on stage. I have no persona, no character, no real theme when I perform and my tricks lack that final punch. I'm afraid to make fun of myself because it feels like I'm making a fool out of myself. It feels like I'm ME standing there showing simple tricks that I've learned and it gives me somewhat of a stagefright.

If I had a role to play, a stage-persona, or some kind of "mask" to hide behind it wouldn't feel like it was really me standing there. I have read other threads and they suggest taking a personalitytrait of your own and really exaggerate it and base your persona on that. I have tried that but I still feels like me, only exaggerated.

Have anyone here had a similar problem in their career? Any tips on how to deal with this problem and how to create a stage-persona? I welcome any help that I can get.

Yours,
TheTopHat.
Zephury
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A character for a magician is very important, however I think you may be thinking a little bit too hard. Decide what type of magic you like. Comedy, kid, family, adult, bar, elegant, what is the gist of magic that you want to do? Take that and tie it to your personality itself. Naturally, before magic, I was quite sarcastic and enjoyed telling stories, so I tied that in to my close-up card magic. You need to find your inner self and bring the beautiful part about YOU out with your magic.

What I said there simply isn't enough.. I've found that there's one more step that needs to be taken. You need to figure out what type of person you are and describe yourself in one sentence. Look at Martin Nash, "The Charming Cheat." That's all he needed-- Stay charming, throw in lots of script about how a cheater would do something, or subtly hint that he's a cheat. He does that very well. That's all it takes. A stage persona isn't that hard to figure out, because it needs to relate to YOU. It needs to relate to your own passion and your personality traits. If you remain an introvert, shy to nature, avoiding to be the center of attention, you have to nip that in the butt if this is what you want to do. I too was a bit socially awkward and I nipped that in the butt so fast when I started magic. I used magic as a tool to find myself and discover who I am.

It's much harder to become a lie when you perform... There's a lot more acting involved. I suggest finding yourself, figuring out the type of person you are and putting it into words... Then bring it OUT through your magic and use it as a tool to express the real you. Once you have a theoretical label of yourself, you can use those words to make your script. Build from it. Good luck!
TheTopHat
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Well, of all the forms of magic I know I like comedy and elegent magic the most, I guess. I've always been a fan of silent, elegent magic done to music or slapstick and/or physical comedy. Whenever I think about creating an act or character, these are the two things that keep coming back to me.

I have played with the idea of creating a persona inspired by Mr.Bean. A kind of a curious, cunning and clumsy kind of magician who finds odd solutions to his problems...

Physical comedy sounds interesting, but I don't know where to start or who to ask.
Prometheus
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Hello TheTopHat,

Have you ever performed on stage? If so, try to analyse you + youre show. Don'nt think about who you want to be, think about who you are. You could even ask your friends or perform for others and ask them. I found it out to be hard to be not a kind of yourself when performing. You appear more serious when you express somehow your personality. But that's just my expirience
I hope that helps.

Best wishes

Prometheus
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Prometheus
Jason Simonds
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I read this recently and thought it might help you find your character http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......rt=60#18
TheTopHat
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Prometheus: Yes, I have performed on stage several times. When I think back I guess I try to be a bit formal and polite, like a oldtime classic magician.
Jason Simonds: A great read, very interesting!

Thinking back on how I naturally act on stage and off stage, what kind of magic I like, maybe my character should be an elegant, more classic magician with just really bad luck. He tries to be a formal, elegant gentleman who tries to give a great performance. But nothing goes his way, maybe the props malfunction or turn against him. But he always comes up with a clever and somewhat odd solution to his problem...
Does that sound like a good character?

Also, I can already think of several magicians who have that kind of style. How would I go about to stand out from all the others?
Prometheus
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I don't want to jugde if it's a good character, but you're rigt you need sth. outsanding to take you off from similar magicians. This thing could be the way you're dressed, a slogan, your humor, a certain joke...
But you need to know yourself what kind these things fit best to you, no one here can tell you.

Regards

Prometheus
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Prometheus
wwhokie1
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Don't try to be someone you are not. Find some part of your true character and expand on that, make it the dominate feature of who you are on stage. If you try to be someone that you are not, then you better have some great acting skills.
TheTopHat
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Actually, whenever I perform I feel more elegant and mysterious, like an old, classic magician. But I also like comedymagic, several of my tricks are comedic tricks. So It feels somewhat natural to adapt a character who are, or at least tries, to be very elegant. And by adding conflict, in the form of pure bad luck, I might set up for several comedic situations which the character will solve with odd and cunning solutions.
Prometheus
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Nice, so try it out, see what fits best and upgrade your routines.

Cheers

Prometheus
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Prometheus
1KJ
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One more thought: Focus on how much and how you involve your audience. If your character was the silent magician, you can really get away with a lot with your audience. One of my favorite characters is a guy who comes out into the audience a few minutes before the show and just has fun with people. He will ask a young kid to get up off his chair and then he will sit down in the kids chair. He then asks to borrow something the kid has and pretend like it is his. He pretends to trip over someone's foot. When he is introduced, he acts surprised, and makes his way very awkwardly up on stage. I think if you dressed very elegant, but acted a bit like a silent clown, the contrast would be hilarious and very unique. You could have a few queue cards for the few things you would need to say. You would mix them up a bit (by mistake... on purpose), and that would be hilarious too. You could do most of your act silent, and then break the silence from time to time. That could be funny.

I think you are already developing what could be a very interesting character by combining elegant with shy and humorous. There is SO much you could do with that combination.

Best to ya.

KJ

Posted: Oct 21, 2014 12:38 pm By the way, this character I was describing does his entire act without saying a word, even the interaction with the audience before the show.
TheTopHat
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Thanks, guys. I'll try it out and see if it works. That thing with the queue cards sounds really funny! I'll hop I can get that to work too!

Btw, another thing that I guess has to do with character; I often have a problem getting applauses at certain tricks, especially when I do a card reveal of some sorts. Example, I cut open an orange and says "One card inside and it seems to be... your missing card. The Ace of Hearts!" And no one reacts until after a few seconds. One guy starts to applaud and the others just follow, like out of simple social procedure. It feels like I lack that certain punch and the audience doesn't know when they should applaud. How do I fix that? Should I try to get them more invested in the trick? Or try and give a signal when it's time?
Prometheus
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I'd say again try it out. But I am not a fan of giving them a signal to applaud, but it actually works. Sometimes it's enough to raise your tone and/or speak louder at certain times. Like when you say that example you named. Though I never had a problem in getting applause.

Regards

Prometheus
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Prometheus
1KJ
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It all dependent upon your character. If you play the silent, shy, humorous type, and come out a few minutes before being introduced and mess with the crowd a bit, you will have already won them over. If you are not getting the proper reaction, I think it would be totally in your character to have some humorous signs or to break out of your silence with some humorous comments. One magician here in the Magic Castle plays with the audience by chastising them a bit. He divines two out of four cards and he plays up the fact that he only got two right. He then chastises the audience by saying: "I read two minds! If I had read one of your minds, that would have been a #*(@#& miracle, but I read two!" He also turns to audience members who are not reacting, and says in a very serious voice: "Sir, I'm reading minds over here. Is this something you see every day?" If you are revealing a card from an orange and don't get the reaction, you could also have some fun with it. Say something like: "People, the card came out of the orange! What!? You wanted a watermelon?" Then, for fun, bring out a watermelon and a giant mallot and pretend you are going to smash the watermelon.

If you do a silent, shy, sophisticated magician that has a little bit of a clown side, you can get away with a LOT.

Go get em!

KJ
Black Hart
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Was it Tony Andruzzi who said about choosing a character?

"Be something you are not, not someone you are not."

If it wasn't Tony then my apologies to the originator.

Keith Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
MVoss
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My advice would be to look at who you are, find the traits that reflect who you are in your magic, and just turn the volume up on those. As far as specific bits of business. You say you like serious and silent, but also comedy. Maybe the character is someone that grew up shy and started learning classical magic, but then realized along the way that with the right air about him, he could write off the shy as mysterious. Maybe he tries to take everything really seriously, but some of it, the comedy stuff just doesn't work out for him, and that is part of his internal conflict.

Other then those ideas, I'd just advise you to learn how to laugh at yourself, if you can't laugh at yourself then the audience will feel weird laughing.
TheTopHat
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Alright, it seems that I have a somewhat good understanding on how to develop a persona. Base it on yourself or a trait and just turn it up. Thanks for all your help guys!
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