Tips for Creating a Persona

The first step in creating your persona is to find out what persona your husband has taken.
Once he has chosen his persona, then you can decide on a persona that would have been married to him. The next stop is to research the era in which your personas lived. You will learn so much about history this way that it can be almost addictive. It is fun and really makes reenactment enjoyable.

This article may be used as a basic guide 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 married to? Who am I?  Where do I live?  What are my basic duties?

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.

FAMILY

Now, think about your persona’s family. Do you and your husband have any kids?  How about brothers and sisters?

PROFESSION

Now, think about your husband’s profession.  Is his persona a colonial farmer, blacksmith, or woodwright?  Is his persona a military man?  How about a longhunter, voyager, or mountain man? Now think about what the duties of his wife would have been. Did she make candles, spin wool, weave cloth, sew clothing? Would your persona have churned butter, made her own bread and cultivated a garden?


ACTING OUT YOUR PERSONA

CONVERSATION

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.

HOBBIES

What are your persona’s hobbies?  Don’t say reenacting, it didn’t exist back then.  Perhaps your persona likes music, art, or needlework.  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).

ACCENTS

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!

Click on the link below to use Keystone’s Persona Development Sheet to help you with your persona, keeping in mind you may have to alter it to fit a woman’s persona.

  • PERSONA DEVELOPMENT SHEET.doc – on Sep 21, 2009 11:12 PM by Jim Warfel (version 1)
    26k View Download

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