Our work is all about characters and connections.
I want you to be able to create a well-crafted, multi-faceted character. It can be out of an established intellectual property or an original concept. A character rich with relatable goals and values. One that visitors are emotionally attracted to. One that people will identify with and feel bonded to.
I want you to be able to make unique, meaningful connections with total strangers. You then interact seamlessly with them and, at the right moment, skillfully bring the whole thing to a satisfying close. That stranger, who was once an outsider, now walks away absorbed by your character, genuinely invested in your world, knowing they have met a new friend who considers them important and unique.
I will give you the tools to do those things with everyone around you.
In our modern immersive environments, this kind of character becomes the key for each visitor to enter the worlds we create.
When theme parks started, it was enough to have someone walk around in a costume and take pictures with the visitors. It wasn’t very demanding. There are some people whose approach to the job is still to just go out and take pictures. Show off the costume. Hit some poses. And for some characters and situations, it’s still ok. But it’s not great.
As years progressed, performers would get scripts containing dialogue and business to do. Some performers would improv their own things and add that in the mix. You build a bag of tricks to choose from, you’ll get some smiles, some laughs. Recall, though, working that way means you are ‘entertaining an audience’. You are doing something you’ve planned, to make them react and they watch you do it. That makes a separation between you and visitors. Still, not bad but not great.
In the immersive environments being created now, we want to make genuine connections. It takes finely developed characters and authentic interactions.
The most successful interactive performers know how to build a full character that feels an authentic part of that world. They also have the performance skills to create a heartfelt bond with a visitor.
You’ll know when it’s working.
You can feel the energy lift when the visitors connect with you in that way. You see it in their eyes and their smiles. You hear it in their voices. All of a sudden, they don’t rush. They pay attention to you. Visitors drop their cynical guard and become playful, supportive and affectionate. Other people stop, not just to meet your character, but to also enjoy what happens as others meet you. People feel connected to you emotionally. They stay as long as you are visible. They are involved in all the interactions. They come back for more. You become one of their cherished memories.
When you develop strong characters and create meaningful connections, the rest falls into place.
That’s where all this is leading.
Once you’ve seen that enchanted look in someone’s eyes you won’t settle for anything else.
Next: Digging Into a Character.