Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Characters - Love 'em or Hate 'em


So, I've been wracking my brain to come up with some likable characters to populate my universe. Interesting individuals who will bring the world I've created to life with their exciting lives and interesting mannerisms. I have a chracter development sheet on website in the download section that is kinda handy, but I want a little more detail for these characters since they will be living in the TV universe. Features require good characters with backstories and details, but they will not be scrutenized as much as a TV character that comes back week after week, season after season. TV charactaers have to have a deeper demension to them because the audience is going to spend more time with them, and if they are weak, or 2 demensional, they won't be appealing... Keep in mind that Giligan's Island ran for 3 yrs in the 60's and can still be seen on a couple of different TV channels... 40+ years of syndication! That's a lot of time for these characters to live... You know!? So, TV characters have to have a little more substance, depth, and consideration before making it to the page. Therefore... I have moved onto the 10pg. character outline sheet. Details like how would this characters freinds describe them, what is there relationship with their parents, what is their most embarassing momemnt. Those kinds of details. You have to know them intimately.

Another thing I have learned is that someone reading your script, without looking at the names of the characters should be able to say... Oh! That must be Jane speaking. Each character should be unique, and identifyable to the audience. I mean, if you're writing about a group of mindless automatons then I guess they should all sound alike and be identical, but other than that they should be individuals. That's not to say that groups of friends don say the same things, and do the same things. I mean, my friends are CONSTANTLY using my words and terms ;) in conversation. (Kiddin...) We learn from each other and use the same slang and turn of phrase because we are exposed to each other more. BUT we each have our own delivery and spin on the english language. We may use the same words, but we deliver them differently and individually... So that needs to happen with the characters.

I'm going to try and keep the number of characters in my story to a minimum. To many and following all the B-stories that you need to keep the characters alive for the audience start getting confuising. That's one of the reasons why Lost, lost me in season 2. That and the black smoke jungle creature that was never explained or seen again... wtf?

I think a small (5-6) collection of very well thought out characters that the audience can love or hate is perfect. There will be the episodic characters (like the crewman in Star Trek that dies on away missions) to support the stories and the main characters, but the overall arc will focus on just a few. i.e. House and his team, the Star Trek: TNG Bridge crew, Buffy and the Gang, and the Crew of the Serenity.

So... time to get to work... Lots to do!!!

Next... I'll need to give them all something to do, and give 'em a reason for doing it!

- G

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