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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Developing a character/persona (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Big Daddy Cool
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Probably true, Danny. As it happens I developed this process working as a professional ACTOR. I have read some of the material that you list, but not all. Plus, this was never meant to replace any of those texts, rather this is a brief synopsis of what one would learn by reading ALL of those texts. Sorry to have offended you by answering a legit question...
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
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Vick
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BDC - much thanks for the post, your thoughts and inspiring new thoughts

I'm going through working out 2 new characters as have started working with my fiancée in a new illusion show

She plays the part of the impish assistant who gets over on me, the crotchety old mentor. Sometimes I may have been coming across a little to harsh to her so it has the possibility of turing part of the audience really against me.

We're working on finding a realistic/happy medium while maintaining the roles and overall feel and direction
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Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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My approach employed a similar system. I specifically used a series of questions:

Who are you?
What are you?
Why are you?
What do you wish to achieve?
Why do you perform before the public?

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:

She plays the part of the impish assistant who gets over on me, the crotchety old mentor. Sometimes I may have been coming across a little to harsh to her so it has the possibility of turing part of the audience really against me.


Vick,
There is a fine balance here. If you can get your hands on it, take a look at some video of Tomsoni & Company. Johnny & Pam have that kind of relationship on stage and they do it very well.

On the otherhand, there is a prominent illusionist in the Smokey Moutains region that tries to create this situation, but fails miserably. He ends up looking like a real jerk.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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Vick
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Much thanks BDC!!

I'll try to find some work by Tomsoni & Company
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EllisJames52
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More than a decade later, this thread is still helping people. Thanks!
Ray Pierce
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Yes, these are great tools. Johnny Thompson has an act, Marvyn Roy has an act... BDC has an act. I always had a slightly different approach. An act has a character... a star has personality. You can admire character but you PULL for personality. Lance started out with a character, but when he transitioned to a star role, he had to break apart his original character for personality which took him to a top tier star performer. Star performers might do "characters" in the course of their show, but it is their personality that makes them transcend their characters.

If you're doing an act which is mono dimensional... yes, develop a "character for it. If you want to transcend the act... create a star personality.
Ray Pierce
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Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
On May 4, 2018, EllisJames52 wrote:
More than a decade later, this thread is still helping people. Thanks!


You are welcome.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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magicianbrady
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Quote:
On May 4, 2018, EllisJames52 wrote:
More than a decade later, this thread is still helping people. Thanks!


Haha yeah. I just noticed the original date. What a great post. Gave me some nice points which I need to think about moving forward in magic Smile
bdungey
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I really like this post - it gives me some critical points to think on in developing my character and the routine I'll perform. I've had this post open in a tab for two days and keep coming back. I might copy it out to my Google Drive just for the sake of reflection.
Nem
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I would suggest you watch some videos of other performers and look closely at what character they are trying to portray, the clothes, manners etc. Developing a character can be an extension of yourself but not always you. Can also be something entirely different. What are you trying to portray to your audience. Similar to actors playing characters in movies or on stage.
bdungey
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I found this site in my search for inspiration; http://gmpresentation.blogspot.com/2010/......ic.html#

I've found is asks some really great questions to build character on. Not only for the creative exercise, I really enjoy this process.
FlightRisk
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What would really be great is a breakdown of examples of performer's we know,Copperfield, Daryl,Bill Malone, Pop Haydn, Michael Ammar, David Roth. Where are they with their character?
Ray Pierce
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With the exception of Pop Haydn who is a character driven act, the others are all personality driven.
Ray Pierce
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FlightRisk
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Despite not taking on a "character" like Pop does, don't each of those decide on whether they are comedic, theatrical, manic, storyteller, etc.? I know they each have their own personality, but they still exaggerate their own personality, change it a bit, or find a method that works for them. I'm trying to see the subtle differences. I guess I can watch some back to back videos of more than one or two effects and get a feel if they stick to a style. I think there are times when certain tricks wouldn't fit a chosen style and as much as you might like the effect, if it can't be adapted, you should drop it in favor of something else.
landmark
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Quote:
On May 8, 2018, Ray Pierce wrote:
Yes, these are great tools. Johnny Thompson has an act, Marvyn Roy has an act... BDC has an act. I always had a slightly different approach. An act has a character... a star has personality. You can admire character but you PULL for personality. Lance started out with a character, but when he transitioned to a star role, he had to break apart his original character for personality which took him to a top tier star performer. Star performers might do "characters" in the course of their show, but it is their personality that makes them transcend their characters.

If you're doing an act which is mono dimensional... yes, develop a "character for it. If you want to transcend the act... create a star personality.


Very interesting, Ray. Could you expand on this? How does one concretely make this transition?
FlightRisk
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That is a great quote to ponder from Ray. Pop also said something interesting in another thread that I took to mean that at a minimum, find out "where the magic comes from". Are you imbued with magical powers? Do you channel them? Are the props magical? Are you as surprised as the audience by what happens sometimes? Is it a con?

I really enjoy Kyle Eschen's character. Droll, socially awkward... as if Marvin the Paranoid Android from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" decided to do magic Smile And he is a sympathetic character that you root for.
Ray Pierce
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Character acts are great, I worked as an actor for many years and enjoy the theatricality of them. It's just that so few character acts could be sustained for a full length show. Yes, I know there are exceptions but by and large, the personality oriented performers allow a great range and more audience appeals. Yes, I did a Charlie Chaplin routine, A Pirate scene, a Mission: Impossible segment, etc, but all were based on the audience knowing me first as a performer and then as a real person to allow me to make those jumps into character segments with them. Lance Burton's original act was character driven, yet as he transitioned into a longer form show, he needed to establish a personality driven act that would allow him to sustain the show and connect more with the audience. I've directed both types of performers for many years and they are both important in their own way. They just fill two very different needs in magic.
Ray Pierce
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