Character Creator’s Log -Character Blueprint-

This is probably the easiest ‘class’ I’ve ever run.
No grades, no essays, no deadlines, no set schedules, no firm outlines…

Actually… that last one is probably why it’s faltering.
Here one day and then weeks, months of solace silence.

Which is generally why the crafting of an outline is item one on any list.
Well, once you get past the initial, simplistic, “I want ____ !” thought that spawns it.

I know that there are a LOT of Character Outlines, Templates, Fill-ins, Forms, Worksheets, Questionnaires, the list goes on… an inexhaustible and exhausting supply.

Google any of those phrases and you’ll get the phone-book of Character-How-To.
90% of them have one thing in common, they’re boring, tedious and time-consuming.
You feel every second and sigh though every question, flipping pages ahead trying to figure out, “How long is this thing?” and start giving blithe, one word answers instead of flushing out a structured story.
Or you’ll get stuck.  You’ll ponder a question too long or too well, completely unwilling to accept that, “I don’t know” is itself an answer and then fail to complete the damn thing.  Sure, you keep meaning to come back, but that promise only matters until you forget about it completely and move on.

So how do YOU make a well-rounded character without them?
Well frankly, I don’t know. I only know what works for me.
So if you want to give this a try, here’s hoping you might find the same.

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Homework:
View your Character’s blueprint as the crafting of one perfect sentence.

Noun. Pick a trope, a stereotype.
Depending on your game and whatever it considers cisnormative, this is usually as easy as pointing to a class, gender or race that’s simply tickles your fancy.
The Brute, The Healer, The Scholar, The Bard, The Magician, The Thief, The Beast,  etc…

Adjective. Flavor with an adjective, one adjective only.
Reluctant, Terrible, Foolish, Brave, Noble, Giggling, Battered, Wandering, etc…

Stop.
Reexamine the two choices you have currently and think. Really think about that adjective. For instance, terrible can also mean feared.  So is your adjective something your character does/is, or something they cause or bring out in others?
Are you happy with any of your thoughts so far?
If the answer is already ‘No’ or even ‘Meh’.
Start over.
Keep pairing until you are at least amused.

Where? Give them a backdrop, set them in a scene.
A Cabin, A School, A Playground, A Store, A Tavern, A Cave, A Theater, etc.

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Completed Example:
A battered bard sat slumped in the corner of the mahogany stage.

Okay, it’s not perfect.
But it should give you an idea about how you may want to introduce your character in-game. What is the pervasive feeling as they enter, or as someone stumbles across them. Is it a trait that people can use to point them out?
But most importantly. Does it make people, make YOU, want to know more?
Because if the character can’t even interest you, how will they be able to draw in anyone else?
That said… How battered is this bard? How do we know that this person is even a bard? Did someone beat them up? Are they drunk or just down on their luck? Are they waiting on someone, or is this where they slept? Why are we paying special attention to the material of the stage? So many questions.
All natural, all stemming from this one sentence.
So keep in mind your personality head shot and don’t be afraid to roll with them.
You’ll have a paragraph(or several) in no time.

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Character Creator’s Log – Creation Casting –

Today, we’re going to focus on basics of Casting.
IE Knowing who you are in real life in order to recognize your character limits.

Before you click away, let me assure you… I can hear that voice in your head saying, “Whose this jerk trying to tell me what I can & can’t do?” Me? I’m nobody, just one voice on the internet. But yourself? Now, that’s your huckleberry.  That’s everything.
It’s best to know yourself before you start trying to dance around wearing other people’s skins. Everything else with fall into place much quicker when you already know your ‘size’.

Required Reading:
How To Get Into Character: Tara M. Clapper
You can do the exercises that Tara suggests or not, completely up to you.
Consider them extra credit.

So. What can we take away from that article?
Basically that we’re all actors. All situationalists… That our behavior can and is dictated by the groups and situations in which we willingly or not, expose ourselves. That circumstances surrounding us, especially whether or not we have any authority, familiarity or bonds in place, affects how we act around others and the roles we’re expected to play.

However, I hold(and it seems Tara agrees) that there are certain core basics to our personalities that cannot be repressed or overcome, regardless of what may or may not be going on around us at the time.

Now the similar trait(s) that Tara pointed out for Harrison Ford are…well, a little vague as far as I’m concerned and more then mailable given time, experience or a fresh edit of the script.  I could be wrong, I don’t know the man personally, but I digress.
Conversely when preforming a role already written, many of these types of things can be quashed or played up for the sake of the character.  In those cases it’s extremely easy because all the actors involved already know the script, have been assigned roles, know every twist or turn the story is going to throw at them and most importantly, have a director who will yell at them to do it again until the get the character ‘right’.
They’re comfortable and relatively safe.
In larp, the you that is always there beneath is still very clearly pulling the strings. So when something unexpected, hilarious, horrible or wonderful happens, the first honest reaction will always be your own. Given that, a good place to start is to examine what varying levels of uncertainty bring out in yourself.

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Homework:
Part One: Imagine that you’re alone and then finish the sentences below.
Answer each as many times as you’d like from 0 – ∞.  So long as all variations are honest.

When I’m lost I _______

When I meet someone new I _______

When I am confronted with violence I _______

When I disagree with someone I _______

When I’m angry I _______

If I see someone in trouble I _______

If I’m confused by something I _______

If I’m uncomfortable I _______

If I’m scared I _______

If I’m bored I _______

If I want someone to like me I _______

Part Two: Now imagine that you’re with a peer and repeat the exercise.
Part Three: Now imagine that you’re in a group and go through it again.

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Next Week: Analyzing the Data.

Character Creator’s Log -StarDate-

So you want to larp.  Lovely.
Obviously, your first stop (after finding out about a group/system you might enjoy) should be at character creation station. But stop. Think. Don’t just browse the departure/event times and take off running.  Grab a map, pull up a bench.  Breathe a moment.

You’re not just playing/creating a character here.

You’re also playing at being a(n):
~Actor
~Casting Director (Related Posts: 1, 2)
~Costume Designer
~Hair Stylist
~Makeup Artist
~Props Master
~Writer (Related Posts: 1)

And I’m sure I’m even missing a few roles in there… But this list is just to get you actively thinking before you’d have to be faced with the fact that you’ve bitten off more then you can comfortably chew.

Told By An Idiot

There is too much ‘hate’ in our lives.  You can’t go a day without hearing about it.
Someone hates their job, our government, their family… pick your poison.
Because it is.
Same old shit, different day and the tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow of it all can get pretty depressing.

So why don’t more of us embrace the concept of: Enthusiastic Ridiculousness?

It’s a brilliant phrase, one we should all thank Jenny Lawson for crafting.
In 2011 she was invited to the Ignite Evo Convention to speak on “whatever it is you’re passionate about” and then in just 9 minutes, armed with a 15 second demonstration she’s able to perfectly sum up the main idea/concept behind Larping better then most.
And she’s not even talking about larp.

Required Viewing:
Before we continue, watch this video first and all the way through please.

It echos the opening advice that I used to tell the ‘kids’…
Speaking to a large group or acting as if you’re another person can feel pretty silly.
Because it is.
It’s a kind of localized insanity… That your audience will accept whatever you choose to present to them as the truth, or the true you.  So why be nervous?  There’s no need to fear judgement when you have a rapt audience just waiting, wanting, ready to believe in every little thing you do. Now repeat after me.
“I’m about to look like an idiot and I’m comfortable with that.” Once you come to terms with this possibility and are able to truly laugh at yourself. The easy confidence that follows makes everything else cake.

So in acting, so in life, so in larp.
Don’t worry about trying to impress, win or prove yourself.
Just do it because it makes you furiously happy. I think you’ll find it’s contagious.