It's one of the best feelings in the world...
You walk into a children's party and the little ones see you for the first time and their eyes grow larger and they come running up for a hug (mind you, this was when the world was normal... *sigh*).
Their excited chatter turns into leading you around their home, showing off their toys and other items with your likeness on it.
And then the questions start coming in hot.
"How did you get here?" "Where is [insert character name here]?" "Who's your best friend?" "What do your shoes look like?" "Do you have any siblings?" "What's your favorite color?" "What's your favorite book?" "What's your favorite food?" "What's your favorite [anything really]?"
And then the one.
"Are you real?"
Everyone stops and gets quiet and waits for my response.
There was a time when this question would panic me (my first few parties were sweatier affairs - more on these events in future blog posts).
But now I just smile and turn it around on them: "Well, are you real?"
Giggles ensue and all returns to normal. If they're real, then I must be since I'm standing before them in human form!
Answering questions has become much easier for me as I have gained more and more experience as each of the characters. Once I understood who they were, what their past experiences were, and what would motivate them to answer a certain way, the improvisational part of the job that once scared me became a piece of cake.
My father actually told me the other day, "I can't imagine acting as so many characters. I would get my stories mixed up!" And to be honest, this thought never crossed my mind...
And I'll tell you why next week!