Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reinvention, Complacency and Falling into Ruts

Of all the e-wrestling characters I've produced over the years, I've been prouder of none than I was of Roderick McRatrick. Sure, he didn't win me a World Championship, but he provided me hours of fun, a good creative outlet for me to be as silly as possible and yet still provide an outlet for satiring some of the things that I thought were stagnating the game from the inside out. For someone like myself who is his own toughest critic, I look back at the stuff with Roddy as fondly as anything I've ever done in eW. I also know that I can never go back to that well again, which is evident from how flat that Roddy's been with each reboot I've tried with him. The same goes for why I've never been able to produce another cracked-out fantasy booking posts like the one I did way back in December of Aught-Five. I was in a very certain frame of mind and in the middle of a very certain time-period that helped me produce such levels of insanity.

For the fantasy booking post, I was working retail during the holiday seasons, getting barely any sleep, working ridiculous hours for peanuts, so my mind was just in this fog, and the whole thing made sense to me. For Roderick, I had stepped out of the game and came back in to find that a lot of the characters were putting out what I thought was boring and formulaic. So I just set out to mercilessly make fun of them, and then I got into such a groove that I just kept going and evolved Roderick until I just couldn't evolve him anymore. The reason why I can't do him effectively anymore is because he was originally based on a transparent parody of a certain style. I can't do him in FW because most of the successful characters there are good characters, and I can't do him in PTC not because the material wouldn't be there, but because I can see people getting butthurt because they think I'm making fun of their writing, whether I am or not. Seeing as though I'm already public enemy #1 over there, I'll pass.

Okay, okay, so what's the point for bringing this up? Well, you know how people are always saying that x should bring y character back because it was the best character ever? If that character's run its course and is brought back out of nostalgia, it doesn't have the luster, it feels forced. In most cases, you can tell if the person has another story to tell or a new spin on the character or if they're just bringing it back just because, hey, it was popular and successful before, why not try it again?

I've fallen into that pit a few times, and I was never happy with the output. So, as a handler, I've learned that I always have to reinvent myself, reinvent my style or at the very least, what I did with Suleimon, reinvent my surroundings. I'm not saying that perpetual change is the route to take. What is true, though, is that there's a marked difference between comfort and complacency, between doing what works and getting into a rut. The worst feeling that I've ever had, outside of some dark episodes where I got into it OOC with other handlers, was the feeling that I *had* to RP. Not RPing because I wanted to, but because I had to, so to speak. As unsolicited advice, never get to that point. That's how you get burnt out and leave e-wrestling when in reality, you still have a lot to give.

It's all about RPing with a character that's comfortable for you to assume the role. It's all about telling a story that you want to tell. It's all about cutting the promos that feel right to you. If you're a talented handler, people will accept your changes even if they get disappointed with the departure of a character familiar to them.

The worst thing you can do is try to get back to a place in your mind where you were years ago and not have the road map. Sometimes, our best material is borne out of personal hardship. If you're happy where you are now, don't relive pain just so you can put out a good RP. The mind's journey is a complex one, and the best thing to do is to use your natural talents in context of the ride you're taking.

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