Character Creator’s Log – Cottleston Pie –

Today, we’re going to review our homework from last ‘week’.

No worries, you don’t have to show your work unless you want to.
Honesty’s much harder when you’re forced to share and the goal here above all else, is honesty. Because if you can’t be fully honest with yourself about your limitations…
Well… That’s going to be a trouble.

But all those pointless questions? What were they for?
If it helps, think of them like a personality litmus test.
It provides a basis for your reaction to ____conditions.
After you answered several, you might have noticed a reoccurring answer.
Or you might have noticed a severe lack of cohesion.
The latter means your reactions are more mailable and dependent/reliant on mitigating factors.

Instances of the former however, are what we’re currently looking for…
My constant: What this list tells me about myself for instance, is that I’m a talker. I talk when I’m nervous, I talk when I’m pissed, I try to trick-talk people into paying mind to the random string of words coming out of my mouth on the off chance that they find me interesting enough to keep around, or at least more amusing alive then dead.  I WILL talk until my tongue is numb, my lips sag and my head falls off.  Even then, you’d have to bury it in the sand, far away from the rest of my body…

I think you get the picture.

So. Now knowing that, we can more then assume that it would be a terrible idea for me to try and create a long standing character who is mute or non-gregarious.

There are other things of course that this list doesn’t tell us. Things like your own physical limits. But those are either already known to you or will become readily apparent as you sort out your game. Luckily, unlike ‘unrepairable’ personality constants, most of those can be worked on and improved with time.

This run down merely marks out our personality head shot.  Something that we can reference when creating a character, so that we don’t cast so far from type that the you that is always you, can be seen wiggling in irritation inside the character you’re trying to portray. Because in larp, there are no second takes.

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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.

We Don’t Talk About LARP Club

I look around, I look around and I see a lot of new faces.
Which means some of you have been breaking the first two rules of LARP club…

Which is GREAT!
Those were some crap rules anyhow. I don’t know who in America decided that we shouldn’t speak of our hobby. Or that if we did, it should be in hushed tones parceled among the trusted few already within our circles… Or why for that matter, some want to keep it that way. Are we ashamed, still? Really? Especially since this self-imposed silence brings with it a swarm of other issues. But namely, it’s hindering our growth.

So. This ‘rule’ of silence, hasn’t served us well and while I’m pleased to see American bloggers/communities coming out of the woodwork to toss this one out with the bath water… I’ve also started to hear a notion of dissatisfaction… murmuring from around the communities and it threatens the growth and serious recognition of our hobby. An old, knee-jerk lament in new wrapping: The ‘old school’ vs ‘new school’ whine of “things were better before.”

While I’m convinced this is mostly just a wistful and a deliberate miss-remembering for that first tightly knit LARP group in the long-long-ago.  Another thought occurs… Is it a resentment at being ‘dragged’ kicking and screaming into the public eye? Do we feel that we would lose something special, something ‘ours’ if we actually began to fully embrace the lime light that’s just beginning to shine?

Is this why we continue to hide ourselves, our opinions… sometimes even from each other and continue to mumble that we were ‘camping’ when a co-worker asks us what we did over the weekend?
Why do we clam up and insist, still grumbling to ourselves, that ‘they’ just wouldn’t understand?

Why put back up the wall of silence?
Why the attitude? Why are there so few willing to extend a hand of welcome or criticism unless we’re being asked first?
Why do we hoard our own lessons of trial and error like they’re so hard won or worse meaningless? Who does that benefit? No one. So why keep doing so, when all that is required for us ‘old schoolers’ to lend a hand in continuing to move everything and everyone forward and onto something better, into something greater, is that we speak up and share these lessons and actively  invite others out there to join in?

So I’m calling out my attitude, culling the nonsense and instead picking up the chalk, clapping the dust from the erasers and out my brain and taking everything back to the blog-board in the hope that I can start to turn this around.

Welcome everyone. Please don’t hesitate to speak up.
I promise, you won’t even have to raise your hand.