Developing the furry persona

In one message response related to fursuit activity and personality, Stargazer said;

The best way to bring your fursuit to life is to form a character around it, then act out what that character does in highly exaggerated moves. Work on showing emotions with body position (since you probably cannot change the facial expression). Your audience *wants* to play along, so expect their cooperation.

From: Yippee Coyote, responding to Mallory Harack:

How does one perform in a costume? I've just
finished mine, and would like some tips on performance.

It really depends how far you want to take it. It's a good think you're mindful of performing in costume, rather than just being somebody in a suit. Here's some tips off the top of my head, mostly general as a springboard for ideas.

Get to know your suit - your character. First off, if your character's eyes are not where you see from, be sure you know where they are. This avoids the problem of being asked to cover your “eyes” and your paws go toward the character's mouth, etc. Also know where your character is “looking”, i.e. if the eyes are lined up differently, you may have to look at someone's chest so the character appears to be face-to-face.

Know your limits and pace yourself while out performing. It's not a marathon; you don't get a medal if you're lying on the ground passed out from heat exhaustion. Don't go crazy in the first five minutes - unless you intend to only be out for five minutes! Knowing your limits comes with experience.

Back to the character - what kind of character is it? Does it have a particular personality? Is it happy/bouncy, sedate/cool, self-confident, imposing, angry, etc? These all come through the performance.

Posture and walk show a lot about the character. You may want to practice in front of a mirror, or have friends videotape you so you can see how the character looks given different walks. Is it a confident strut, a cocky swagger, a cool saunter, a perky sashay, a stealthy sneak? You may also want to develop some mannerisms based on the character and/or the source animal. A lumbering bear will act different than a spry rabbit or sassy vixen. Figure a character and stay in character while in costume. This keeps up the illusion that you are your character instead of someone in a costume. That's where the magic is for me - I'm just a grown-up playing pretend and it's great when people buy into the character I've created.

Most of my character experience has been with cartoony characters so I tend to exaggerate everything. If you've got a large fursuit head, it means activity should be exaggerated. Smaller heads may need subtler activity.

This is obviously not the end-all/be-all of character performing, but hopefully it's enough to get you started. Be also mindful of where you will be in cosutme so you can tailor your performance toward it. i.e. crowded or small spaces you wouldn't jump around where you could accidentally hit folks. Also if you're going out for the first time in suit, whether for a furry con, street fair, or just wandering in public, a spotter is essential.

Hope this helps, and happy performing!

/home/furryfursuit/faq/data/pages/performance/persona.txt · Last modified: 2011/08/11 12:02 (external edit)

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