Author Topic: Depth of Persona  (Read 5342 times)

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Offline JessicaB

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Depth of Persona
« on: November 05, 2008, 12:48:32 PM »
How in depth is your persona? Do you just have a name or is it more? If you have more, do you have lots of details about the geography or family life or what?

In a somewhat related question, how do you convince friends/family/whatnot that a persona is a good idea? That it'd be fun to have a character other than your own self to play as? Do you think it's a natural transition or what?

I'm just curious because I'm working on a persona and I truly can't decide if it's overly detailed or not enough or detailed in the wrong places. I mean, I think I have a basic name and "how I got from point A to point B" figured out, but... I dunno, I guess I'm just curious how other people feel on the matter.

Also, if you chose a historical figure to base your character on, how'd you decide on that? I'm intrigued by the process as much as the result I think :)

Offline Malkavian

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2008, 01:03:48 PM »
I don't have an RF persona as such, but I do have experience w/ character creation from a tabletop RPG standpoint.

My preference was always to leave a lot of "wiggle room" in a character's history to allow for some improvisation without worrying about contradicting some detail I'd written down and forgotten. As you go these details can be added to your persona's history (or discarded as the character telling a tall tale!)

As far as convincing others, it seems mostly a matter of confidence and familiarity.  Initially my gaming group hardly played "in character" at all, but as we became more comfortable with what was going on it started to come naturally. 

Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2008, 01:31:08 PM »
I would suggest that you not 'lock' yourself into to much detail at first.
My persona is based on a real character about whom very little is known. So I have a lot of leeway in my interpretation.
My choice is actually based upon the style of clothing I prefer.......which turned out to be Spanish.
You may find yourself influenced in the same way.
Sometimes a little detail can help a conversation along.
Why is your persona visiting the particular faire that you're attending?
Why do you prefer certain beverages?
etc......
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Offline Whistler Fred

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 01:39:21 PM »
I've played a street character at a few faires.  One thing I've learned is not to overcomplicate your character.  Most street interactions last for a few moments, and may be only based on visual contact.  I've selected a few readily identifiable "bits" (a mug in hand, a goofy grin, a slightly drunk stagger, and real grapes hiding in my garland), and most of the time this is enough. 

My character has a story.  He brews ale for the local public house and used to be a sailor in his youth, although he was never very good at it ("I could ne'er tell the difference between an ale keg and a powder keg!").  He's married and is cautious about flirting with other ladies, lest his gal finds out.  Sometimes it's possible to work those little bits into interactions with patrons or with other street characters for the amusement of the patrons.  But I've found that i don't need anything more complicated that that.

Of course, this is assuming a street character.  A stage act would have more room for developing a more detailed character.
Whistler Fred (Lauritzen)

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Offline Lady Nicolette

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 02:12:27 PM »
My persona actually takes a lot of things that are true about me and then gives them a bit of a spin, a twist, a refinement and some proper age-ing and fermenting to come up with the proper time period as opposed to this modern one...There's a thread in this section where people discuss their personas that you may find of help.  I find it's easier to be true than to "act," but that may not be true for everyone. 

http://www.renaissancefestival.com/forums/index.php?topic=225.0
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Offline JessicaB

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 02:23:54 PM »
So, to summarize, most of you are thinking using something like the SCA An Tir Persona Worksheet would be too much depth?

I do enjoy the "Tell Us About Your Persona" thread, but it's the end result and not so much the journey of getting there. Which is still awesome because it's fun to read other people's stories, but it's also hard to guess how much it relates to their normal self.

I guess, Lady Nicolette, your response that you took your own self and then "aged" it is something that I find interesting about the development process. Similarly, that you, Dona Catalina, used a historical character as influence is the type of stuff about personas I find most interesting.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 02:24:55 PM by Jessy »

Offline Lady Nicolette

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 02:32:36 PM »
I think that we all go about creative processes in different ways, perhaps in as many ways as we are individuals in the first place, or maybe more when there is more than one persona to be explored.  Essentially, taking on a persona is a form (or more than a form, depending) of acting, and there is no one way to become the best actor that one can be...Likewise the paths to becoming the best writer, painter, dancer, equestrian, etc. are many.
"Into every rain a little life must fall." ~ Tom Rapp~Pearls Before Swine

Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 03:08:14 PM »
So, to summarize, most of you are thinking using something like the SCA An Tir Persona Worksheet would be too much depth?


That is actually an excellent tool. If you are ever planning a character for cast, it would be marvelous help.
But I've seen too many people start out all excited and think they have to fill in every blank and dot every i. Then later they find that something else suits them better.
That is not to say its bad to fill every blank and dot every i. Take your time filling in your persona so that you end up with a person you're happy with.


I know the parents, cousins,brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and political allies of my persona. But that took quite a bit of time. My original inspiration to switch to a Spanish persona was probably Eleonor Alvarez de Toledo y Osorio de Moscos, Marquesa de Villafranca.
Yes, I am referring to the Eleonor de Toledo made famous by Bronzino's paintings.

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Offline DuCoeur

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2008, 07:39:27 AM »
Let the persona take on alife of its own....

I have quite a bit ofdetail, Background, origin and history and have even startted writing an Historical novel,  about the Adventures of DuCoeur...
But that is mostly on my own time.

At Faire the DEtails of my persona come up very little.  Once in while, in those rare quiet moments at the tavern we will dicuss background info...or even a mundane will ask (altho I oft times can not tell if they mocking or actually interested).

God is the Detail, so it is said...or Do not get bogged down in the detail.  Two sides of the coin...Ok enough with cliches What is the point?

The point is to do it for yourself.  Create the persona that you want to create, and add as many or as little detail as you want.  Do it for the sheer joy of the creative excercise.  Or, Make it up as you go along.  Just revel in the joy of it.
I would rather endure a thousand biblical hells then live a life of perpetual inconsequence.

Offline daggrim

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2008, 11:31:53 AM »
One of my personal postulates of life is, Nobody cares about you as much as you do, or its corollary, Everybody is most interested in themselves.  Now, I don't mean that derogatorily at all, it's just the way we are most of the time, and I include myself in that.  Anyway, my point is that people will enjoy interacting with you if you are enjoying what you're doing.  Don't let details get in the way.  I can have my whole story figured out, but if I can't stay in character for ten minutes, then I've been concentrating on the wrong things.  Just my take.
Daggrim
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Offline DT_Masters

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2008, 11:50:56 AM »
It's getting deeper and deeper as the years go on. But then again, it is a character I've been playing privately for years.

It's hardly perfect. A time traveling anthropologist from 2051 from University of CharleMagne, Denmark Facility (CMDF) who goes back in the past to observe, take pictures. Who is becoming more and more disenchanted with his ruling council and more and more native with the people he has observed over the years (literally), who he sees almost everyday because he sees their pictures everyday, who marvels at the energy of life they have.

Turning native, if even for just a day here or there, he becomes DT Masters, a rich landholder from the norths of Scotland, who has tired of such trappings and left the family lands in charge of his (brother? sister? nephew? niece? manager?) to become an adventurer and traveler.



And the story/persona develops, builds from there. It develops in part by the way people interact with it. Yesterday, at TRF, some saw me as a hunter, even called me "Dundee" because of my llama wool parka worn as a cape, the tiger print bag I was using for my cameras, and the bush hat with the sides pinned up. Is he a hunter or are these the things he has collected on his travels?

I bought a katana yesterday. It was in my price range but also fit two aspects of the story. First of all, for a traveler, it was the kind of sword that might have been obtained. Secondly, for a sailor, it was the kind of light sword to be found on ship.

But am I crew, perhaps the navigator, on a sailing ship or did I actually buy it and I am the owner? I am probably a Scot ...... but is my crew perhaps Porteguese or Spanish, hence why I might have the llama parka? Why I may dress as a Senor?

I don't know. As I said, I think the character is constantly developing ................. and the fun may be out of it when there is no longer anything to build on it.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2008, 11:55:15 AM by DT_Masters »

Offline DuCoeur

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2008, 11:09:43 PM »
Wardrobe does owe alot to deepening persona.  A new Doublet or sword can add a new dimension to the character, as well as move him forward or backward in time.

I started out carrying a rapier, and had a wide brimmed hat with plumage...very 17th century.

I then bought a new doublet, wore  afloppy hat with plumage, but still carried the rapier....late elizabethen

Now I wear my hair longer, have a variety of Doublets and carry a Bastard or side sword...late 15th or early 16th.

I even changed the name of the character as I moved backward...Well same Family name just several genrations later.

For the ladies, a newer chemise or bodice can mean an upgrade from wench to merchant class, Or as my dear friend Lady K would say "We noble ladies are just wenches in better clothes."  God I love her!!!

I would rather endure a thousand biblical hells then live a life of perpetual inconsequence.

Offline Carl Heinz

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2008, 03:59:37 PM »
It will evolve.

Start out with a name and class.  You can also adopt a trade.  Learn a bit about it in general, but don't try to create a full blown persona unless you're playing a theme character.  In the latter case, the event staff will have developed the persona.

If not, experience will guide you.  If something works, add it.  Over time, I've accumulated what I call microbits.  These are small interactions that have worked in the past and can be used as starting points.

In my case, class is a bit transitional.  On cold days, it's upper middle class.  On hot days it's either peasant or someone who no longer feels the need to prove himself and just dresses comfortably.  (Ther are a lot more peasants than nobles on hot days.)
Carl Heinz
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Offline Don Giovanni de' Medici

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2008, 10:51:26 AM »
I see that you have already received many perspectives on this question, but I thought I might be able to throw in some help from another perspective.

I come from a school that teaches American methods and Method of Meisner, and such.  Your should always be aware of the basics (i.e. your name, where you are from, who is your family, are relations present at the faire, and your overall state-of-being: are you a smart-arse?, nice?, etc.)  Additionally your vice and virtues, foibles are always good to know.  I would tell you that whether you are performing on a proscenium, thrust, or any other kind of stage including in-the-round, as is the nature of RF, that you back story is very important.  It should be as deep as you, the actor, can effectively use to bring the character to life.  There are things about your character that no one other than you will ever know about, but are important to develop since they will help you play on an objective.

In fact one of the hardest things to decipher is "What you want."  You should be able to get it down to one word as your simple-objective (i.e. whatever task you need to complete) and then you will also have goals that will help you achieve your super-objective.  This is more difficult than you might think as you should not pick a "state of being" (i.e. I want to be: angry, in love, happy), but rather a very specific goal (i.e. "I wish to make other laugh in order to divert attention away from my own illness" (Acting is Believing, 145).)  If you stay true to your objective within the given circumstance and imaginary world of the character you will be in good shape.

I would say that trial and error are important in finding the truth of the of the moment in your characters life, but should be discovered during the rehearsal process if your faire offers one.  Finally, I think that if you make a decision and apply it fully to your character in the imaginary world you will at least be true to the moment and circumstance and will not give a bad performance.

I hope this helps you in so creation.

~Ryan
a.k.a
~Visconte Vincente
Sincero,

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Offline BLAKDUKE

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Re: Depth of Persona
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 02:22:27 PM »
It also should be flexible.  That is what I don't like about portraying actual historical characters.  For example someone playing Sir Walter Raliegh at a faire whose venue is 15th century France.  That is what I meant about flexibility, in that scenario you would have to shift to Ralieghs ancestor.  I went only as deep as this, I am the bastard descendent of Richard III and my mother was of Saxon lineage.  Since no records exist I have to take her word for it, for a lack of her word I was never born.   I tried to use the historical record of R III, and there are a couple of sons from the wrong side of the blankets and tried to develop a lineage, but then I got to thinking about the timeline of whatever faire I was attending and decided that it was to much to try and wrestle with so now I keep it simple.     
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