• The importance of creating a character – pt.3 – 2 bonus reasons to create your own

  • December 30, 2019

  •  I may still be ending my posts a little abruptly, so apologies for that. I certainly didn’t leave the impression that I would be doing another post on this topic so soon, to be honest, when I finished the post yesterday, I hadn’t thought I would. But here we are, another day, another pile of nonsense.

    Having created my new “character” for my stage show, which is where we ended things yesterday, I began to notice how much my performances seemed to improve. My audiences were more engaged, laughed louder and generally made more noise in my presence.

    This, of course, led to more bookings, more opportunities to perform and therefore, more chances to improve my character as I got more and more practice in front of people.  (I think that’s enough “more” for the rest of the post today...). This all became an upward spiral where, as the amount of practice increased, so did the character, and therefore the performances and so on and on it went.

    This self-improving cycle eventually led me to be introduced to the lovely people who happened to be putting together and starting a new rooftop bar at The Star Casino in Sydney. After a few meetings and some liaisons with my agent and manager, I became the resident magician for the Sky Terrace.

    I loved performing at the Sky Terrace bar. With a fantastic view of Sydney Harbour, friendly wait staff, and only the chicest of clientele, this was a dream venue to perform at on weekdays. The weekends were for the cabaret, of course.

    This was very much the way of things until I decided to return to the UK in 2015 and to shift my career from big fish in a small pond to one in a bigger pond. I know, I had a massive head at this stage and was a little big for my britches to say the least. This is the problem with beginning to believe your own hype.

    Upon arriving in the UK, I tried to rely on that same character I had created over the years while living and performing in Sydney. The problem was, London’s sense of humour was so different. There were similarities, of course, but for the most part, the same old “shtick” wasn’t going to cut it.

    I wouldn’t realise this the hard way, until after a year of bar service, two years of office work, and another year of working in a pub. As I got back into magic full time, I was still clinging to my old character; change is difficult after all. It was my mentors who finally helped me “see the light” and begin looking to do something new.

    So, with a little bit of input from a variety of the people I am lucky to call mentor, plenty of work on who this new character would be, and a bit of luck in stumbling across a centrepiece to build the new costume around, I created someone new. This new character is who I perform as today for all my audiences. I may dial-up certain aspects of him, but he is the focal point around which everything else is built.

    Magician Maximillian is his name. Though I’m guessing you might have figured that very complicated riddle out already.

    Maximillian allows me to use the advantages I discussed in yesterday’s article, along with my personal favourite reason for having a character separate from myself.

    Creating your own hero

    If you are like me and consume a ton of motivational and inspirational content online, a recurring theme is the use of goals and heroes. Well, I combined both into Maximillian. Maximillian is who I, Max, want to become. Magician Maximillian is healthier, smarter, fitter, faster, quicker witted, sharper and a plethora of other positive things over me.

    This means in my day to day life, as I work and “put my nose to the grindstone” I just have to try and emulate my hero. “WWMD” – What Would Maximillian Do. (Just because it isn’t original, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work!)

    Creating your own opponent

    There is an expression that a great adversary will drive you to be better than you are, more than anything else. Now I am a big believer in being better than whom you were yesterday, but because I only get to “play” as Maximillian while performing, the rest of the time he is training and working to improve (at least in my mind).

    This means, if I don’t keep up, I will get left behind, and because I love performing, and I love playing as Maximillian, I get to step into his shoes and quite literally “feel” the divide between us.

    As I re-read this, I begin to see how I could give myself a split personality, let alone a host of mental health issues by following this too far. However, it does work for me, I know very little about mental health, other than my own (at least I think, but that is probably what a crazy person would say).

    So take my advice with a pinch of salt, I may have already gone off the deep end.

    (Now that is a good ending, right? Or have I ruined it, by drawing attention to it?)

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