Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The call of the second (and third, and fourth) character

Most people I encounter in this hobby seem to have a predilection towards doing multiple characters. It's natural, since most of us have more than one favorite wrestler, or in the case of folks like myself, Dan West, Roger Albrecht, Bill Dempsey, Steve Thomas and Gregg Gethard, mild schizophrenia.

But how do you do a second character without making it seem like your characters are running together?

Well, here are a few things I try to do.

-Make sure your characters have different gimmicks. And make them different enough so that you aren't inclined to be lazy and promo as the same guy for a different character. If you're doing a hooker-crazed redneck, try not to do a horny college student from Florida State as well.

-Try not to do all heels or all faces. The best way to differentiate between characters is to have fundamental differences in the way each one acts. You won't promo the same for a face as you would for a heel, no matter how similar the characters.

-Try different nationalities/races/creeds/ethincities/etc. But only do this if you know enough about the culture you're emulating to be believable.

A lot of people who try second characters and fail often make the above mistakes. People have a tendency to be lazy or complacent, so they won't try other characters if a certain kind of character works for them. I've found in e-fedding everyone wants to be a heel, because heels get to be badass and run people down and trash-talk with the best of them. And the best is when you get the newbies who are like "he is a heel, but people cheer for him" or "heelish tweener," which is almost an implicit plea for that character to get a face pop in writeups.

But yeah, if you can do more than one character, then it's impressive.

But... not nearly as impressive as it is for people who do one character and do it so well in every fed they enter in. Guys like Dave Brunk, who just have their one main character they use; I think it's a lot harder to do this than to keep thinking up different gimmicks, because it's a lot harder not to burn out, especially if you're like Brunk and enter in every fed that has a pulse :p

But as an addedendum, I was talking to GG today about characters and what they mean to you, and I came up with a rating system. Here goes for my characters.

"A" Character - Jericoholic Anonymous - He's my #1 character, the one guy who is really an extension of who I am, and who I also put the most work and thougth in for RPing.

"A1" Characters - Maggot and Roderick McRatrick - These guys are good enough to be "A" characters, but they're not quite on the highest level.

"B" Characters - Benoitholic Anonymous, "Cowboy" Jimmy Donovan, The Phantom Republican, Captain Suleimon, Der Braumeister, The Thrillbillies, Priest - They're guys I use as main characters in a given fed, and I put a lot of effort into them, but they're not as near and dear to my heart as my A/A1 characters are.

"C" Characters - Everyone Else - They're either blatant throwaway comedy characters or concept characters that I was doing on a trial basis.


Phil said...

I think it's fun to do both of the characters that I run. BigDog is me, so he's the easy one. When I first started Farnswirth, it was much more difficult to slip in and out of character because he was so different. But, I think over the years he has actually become the one I have the most enjoyment playing. I essentially play BigDog all day long since he's an extension of my own personality, so it's nice to be able to slip inside Farnswirth's skin for an hour or so every other day.

Couldn't really imagine doing more than those two at this point though. I don't think I could devote the time to developing another guy from scratch right now, and I'm darn sure not ready to retire either of those guys to make the time.

Anonymous said...

I model Marx & Jacobs largely based on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern from Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead." There is a little bit of Frasier and Niles in there as well with Holly Beckett playing Daphene with Jacobs. The characters are suppose to run together a bit, but since I've created them, I've added some subtle differences between the two two which makes them unique in their own way.


Mike Stanton said...

Doc- Me in that he plays poker, quotes garbage and all that.

Bloodhunt- Me, only all about the JFk assassination. He bleeds into Doc only because of their history, where they have interacted with each other.

The First- He was supposed to be a parody of narrative writing, but my general need to win in leagues made me take him seriously. Hardest to write of the three since he's really nothing like me and I really have to think shit up instead of just having a 'feel' of the character. the most real part of the character is the Rozy character, who was a goth ex-coworker of mine.