CREATING A PERSONA
Researching a persona is not hard; it just takes a little time and research. This article will assist you in building your persona and also give you a firm foundation for acting it out within the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship.
WHO ARE YOU?
When you’re figuring out who you are, there are some basic questions to ask. Among them: Who am I? Where do I live? What is my occupation? Do I have a formal profession?
The first item is your persona’s name. You are lucky. As a new Frontiersman you will be given one by your sponsor or by the Chapter Officers. But that is not where it ends. If and when you decide to advance to the rank of Buckskin you get to choose your own name.
Your persona’s name can be your own name, the name of a relative, or any name that catches your fancy.
Do not pick the name of a famous person or from any movie. Pick a name that describes you, who you are, what you do. Just remember to answer to it when called!
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Everyone was born somewhere. So, where was your persona born? Was your persona raised in the same place as birth or did your persona’s family move around?
Was your persona born in America or in another country? If in another country, how did your persona get to America? Was your persona born and raised in a small town, a large city, or on a farm?
If you’re from the north or south, you usually let others know it, and even if you don’t, many little things such as the way you speak, the clothes you wear, mannerisms, etc. give you away. It was the same “back then”.
Get an old map of the area(s) and become familiar with each area that your persona lived in.
BIRTHDAY AND AGE
Okay, now that you know where your persona is from, when was your persona born? It is easier to keep your own month and day of birth; all you want to do is change the year. This is pretty easy; just pick a year from within the time period you want to portray. Now simply subtract your current age from that year and this is the date your persona was born. Of course you can pick another date than your own birthday, but it’s easier to remember your own birthday.
Now, think about your persona’s family. Are they still alive? Who is your persona’s father and what are his interests? Do the same with the mother. What is her maiden name? Is your persona married? If so, what is the wife’s name? Any kids? How about brothers and sisters?
Now, what is your persona’s profession? Is your persona a colonial farmer, blacksmith, or woodwright? Is your persona a military man? How about a longhunter, voyager, or mountain man?
How did your persona learn this chosen profession?
ACTING OUT YOUR PERSONA
While you are acting out your persona, try to maintain a “first person” impression – talk about period topics and concerns, carry out period activities and act like it is pre – 1840 (as much as possible).
Do not always talk about your outfit or equipment. These are part of your persona’s everyday life, not a hobby. This is important when people outside of the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship are present. Let them see and experience who your persona is!
It isn’t for everyone, but if even a few practice “first person” impression, the whole event can benefit dramatically, and everyone will have a better time.
What are your persona’s hobbies? Don’t say reenacting, it didn’t exist back then. Perhaps your persona likes music, art, or woodcarving. Whatever your persona does, try and make it something that you enjoy now; something you have knowledge about (or barring that, something you feel like studying).
If your persona has a history that would allow the use of an accent, by all means, use one. It has been found that the use of an accent can be quite effective. Using an accent will also put people in a much better mind-set.
Sometimes when you first use an accent, people will think your strange, but…if you persevere, eventually it will catch on with them too.
To be effective though, an accent can’t be goofy!