In addition to sharing information about guest speakers in our class, we wanted to share innovations in pedagogy. To that end, I would like to share with you the first phase of our "Avatar Assignment."
If you've checked out the syllabus, you know that part of what our students will have to do is develop their own wrestler. From the wrestling perspective, we spent some time in class discussing various wrestling archetypes, characters, dynamics, tropes, and gimmicks. From the biological perspective, we spent some time discussing body-types, nutrition, and muscle development. From the philosophical perspective, we began discussing the self (and our understanding of ourselves) as a narrative.
So here's the idea. Students need to begin crafting their own wrestler. Here are the details! We'd love to hear what you think!
Phase 1: Pick your Gimmick
Professional Wrestling is all about feuds, championships, and victories leading to legendary status. The first step in the road to immortality is a character or gimmick that appeals to the audience. For this assignment, you will begin to develop your wrestling character. To complete this assignment you will need to turn in a “Gimmick proposal”. For this proposal you should answer each of the following questions in paragraph format.
What is your character name and where do you hail from (physical place, or not)?
What is your gimmick? Are you going to fit into one of the categories we talked about in class or are you undefinable? Are you going to be a face, heel, or tweener?
We will continue to discuss the biology of specific physical characteristics in class, but for now what body type, in general, will your character have and what type of wrestling style will it be compatible with?
Your pageantry of wrestling is essential to a good gimmick. What will it be like as you enter the ring? What entrance music do you want? Will you dance to the ring, crawl, ride a motorcycle? What is your ring wear? Do you wrestle in sequins or are you more about jeans and a t-shirt?
Who are you going to feud with and why? Are you going to take on the authority? Crush the babyfaces in the class? Or fight the heels?
We will provide you specific feedback on various aspects of your character. Since the project is ongoing, we will assign a tentative grade for this initial assignment that is subject to revision as you further develop your avatar. You will be assessed on the coherence, specificity, and creativity of your character. You will have the opportunity to revise your character in light of our feedback for a higher score, and we will expect you to continue to develop the character over the course of the semester as you learn more about the biological and philosophical aspects of wrasslin’.
We will get you your tentative grade by Feb. 9th, and we will expect you to present your character on the 18th to the class for further feedback. We expect you to use feedback from us and your classmates to help improve your character. Revisions are due Feb 23rd.
We want you to answer each of the above questions directly. Please make sure to include both the number and text of the question as well as your answer on a separate document that you turn in to Canvas by the start of class on Feb. 2nd.
Remember, specificity is the soul of narrative, and you are building a character, a story, and a feud. Thus, we need to see as much detail as you can offer. As you answer each question please justify your answers by either explaining your rationale or citing sources such as the Wrestling DND reading, classroom lectures, video clips, your own research, etc.
Please use a not-ridiculous font (ideally something with serifs – Garamond or Times New Roman are both fine options). Your responses should be single-spaced, with standard margins, and breaks between questions and answers.