Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Public Speaking: Create A Character

Tom in his early days of comedy.

You can either make up a character or imitate someone for lots of fun and laughter.

We've seen famous examples of performers creating characters. Roseanne Roseannadanna was the brainchild of the late Gilda Radner. Jim Carey invented Fire Captain Bill. Steve Martin created a Wild and Crazy Guy. You can also imitate your uncle Harry or someone you ran into in the supermarket. None of these characters are difficult to perform because you are not acting as an impersonator of a famous person that is real.

Being an impersonator is hard because your imitation of Bill Clinton's voice and mannerisms will be judged against the real Bill Clinton. Making up characters or imitating unknown people like your aunt Maude is easy because your performance can't be compared to anything.

You can either stay in character for the entire length of your performance or you can pop in and out of character. You can also have a dialog going on between yourself and the character. You can even dress up as the character if you want to.

Be careful when using a strong dialect of an ethnic group to which you do not belong. You could be perceived as making fun of the group. Also, if you are going to be doing a dialect at least practice enough to do it well.

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