1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Any ideas why my main character would do this?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, Aug 6, 2015.

    I am thinking out a new story idea, idea for a crime thriller set in modern times sort of story. Basically it's an older idea, but I am changing everything around to make the story better, by making an entire new execution entirely.

    But I am kind of stuck on who my main character should be. I want a character who decides to pursue the villains, and fight back, without wanting to call the police for help. He can when he is the most desparate. I am writing a screenplay, and writing on a low budget, so if I can have the majority of the problem solved by only one main character to follow, that will help.

    But I am kind of stuck on reasons as to why he would not rely on the police for assistance, but at the same time be logical in his motivations.

    Are their any ideas why a person would not rely on the police that make sense? I am sure there are a few, but if I can get some second opinions, it may help those creative juices flow better, and drive me to a certain direction, when creating the main character.

    Thanks for the input :).
     
  2. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Most likely s/he has had bad experiences with cops. I.E. a city in where there are a lot of bad/corrupt cops. That could be a good reason.
     
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  3. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Bad past experience with them? E.g. Friend or relative died in custody

    Believes they're ineffectual? E.g. Too busy revenue-raising via speeding tickets to actually address serious crime (I'm not saying this is necessarily a rational mindset)

    Character has a vigilante attitude, disdains the law, or just wants the satisfaction of nailing the villain themselves (maybe suits an anti-hero character)?

    Can think of a way to catch the villain that won't work if correct proceedings are adhered to?
     
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  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I'll probably just end up setting in a normal city that we end up shooting in though. Audiences would not get the sense that the city is made up, or some place different though. He could have a prior rap sheet with the cops, but I don't think that would stop him cause since he is not committing any current crimes and just asking for help.

    What if he was a criminal before, and does not want to ask the cops for help because that would mean that he has to explain what's going on and he would end up implicating himself? Where as he would rather get his enemies caught, by doing this on his own, and getting proof against them while not implicating himself in the process? That's one idea.

    The friend or relative could work, but I would have to build more story around that I think. If he has a vigilante attitude, I would have to come up with reasons for it :),
     
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  5. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    It really depends on what he got sent to prison for. I mean I wouldn't expect the run-of-the-mill criminal to just decide to be a vigilante .
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm guessing this is set in the US...

    As I understand it, there are plenty of folks out in the backwoods areas of the country who have a very anti-government attitude. If one of those moved to the city (comes to check out his little sister [I'm imagining a blood-thicker-than-water attitude] who married a big wheel with a corporation?) he may well be suspicious of any area of authority...but then comes across a good cop, and learns to trust him. So, he still doesn't trust cops/government in general.

    Plenty of scope for conflict as MC tries to do it his way, while good cop tries to keep it straight/straighten it out afterwards.
     
  7. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read an article about idea generation a while back. It said to make a list of ten ideas for whatever you're working on. I think this is one of those cases where you need to do this.

    All the ideas mentioned so far in this thread for why your main character doesn't rely on the police are things I've seen in movies, on TV shows and in novels. So, if you're looking to give the story a "new execution," keep going. Generate more ideas. It gets harder and harder after you've exhausted the obvious ones, but that's when you start coming up with unique and new ideas.
     
  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. What about the idea I mentioned before?

    "What if he was a criminal before, and does not want to ask the cops for help because that would mean that he has to explain what's going on and he would end up implicating himself? Where as he would rather get his enemies caught, by doing this on his own, and getting proof against them while not implicating himself in the process?"
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ryan, make a decision. Either your idea is plausible and you want to run with it, or one of our ideas is preferable for some reason.
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I only counted three and as I said, I've seen/read them all before in film, TV, and novels. Sorry, but it's true.

    And as I said in my earlier post, keep going. Keep churning out ideas. It's not that you come up with ten and pick one of the ten. You come up with ten and they will get further and further from what you've seen before. Once you hit six or seven, you'll see a big change in how you're attacking the problem.

    If one of the ideas you already have was the one, you'd know it and this discussion wouldn't be taking place.

    This may sound harsh, but just dig down deep and find the ten. You won't regret it.
     
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  11. Daemon Wolf
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  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I thought of a few. One that sticks out at me more than the others is this. A detective (the main character), is trailing a serial killer type villain. The detective has violent emotional problems, towards a certain type of suspects the police have to deal with. Like maybe suspects of a certain race he does not like or something. The serial killer also targets this ethnicity of people. The detective is ordered by his superiors to go see a therapist about it, or be fired. The detective goes, and him and the therapist get to know each other over several sessions. He talks about his problem and how it's ironic that he has been assigned to catch an ongoing killer with the same problem.

    The detective also goes into detail about some crime he committed because of his problem that the police do not know about. I haven't thought of what it would be yet. The therapist is actually the killer, and thinks the detective would make a good partner in crime, and wants the cop to join him. The killer tries to get the cop to be more cooperative and quiet about it, but when the cop does not act cool about it, the therapist threatens to blackmail him by breaking doctor/patient privilege and revealing the crime he committed which will get him fired and possibly even charged with the crime.

    So the detective doesn't join him, but at the same time does not tell the police that his shrink is the killer because the killer has something on him. It's kind of a coincidence that the shrink he was assigned to, is the killer he was given the case to go after, but I've seen bigger coincidences in books and movies before, like Red Dragon for example.

    What do you think? Does it make sense?
     
  13. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I honestly don't know. As a reader I may be put off by that but idk. Personally I would suggest making the bad guy somebody else and make the whole story just the Therapist and the Detective talking. (Detective sitting in a chair discussing his case). Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. Simpson17866
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    Maybe the cop was originally assigned to a different therapist, one who worked with the killer-therapist professionally, the killer-therapist found out about the cop and then maneuvered the cop's case to himself for the recruitment potential?

    You would still need to find out how the killer worked around confidentiality to get the information, but it would make the villain more terrifyingly proactive.
     
  15. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I don't need to use racism as the problem though, that was just an example. It could be another problem. I am still trying to come up with how the killer got around confidentiality. I guess he could say that one of his taped sessions was stolen, and perhaps it could turn up somewhere, making the cop look like he stole it himself but then relinquished it? Maybe that won't work, but he could get something on him to blackmail another way though.

    Is it a good enough reason for the main character not to rely on the police though, and risk his life, by getting proof on the man himself?
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Far too complicated.

    Why not something simple based on his identity, given that when you deal with the police, your identity is usually made clear?

    - He's an illegal immigrant who doesn't want to be deported. If you want this to be more serious, perhaps he's wanted for a crime in his country.
    - He's wanted for a crime in this country.
     
  17. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    "Far too complicated.

    Why not something simple based on his identity, given that when you deal with the police, your identity is usually made clear?

    - He's an illegal immigrant who doesn't want to be deported. If you want this to be more serious, perhaps he's wanted for a crime in his country.
    - He's wanted for a crime in this country."

    Okay thanks. I went over the idea with someone and he said that even if the MC cannot call the cops, all he has to do is place an anonymous call to the police and tell them who the killer is. The police would then investigate that person and take it from there. This makes things really complicated because I cannot think of any situations where an anonymous call could not be taken seriously. Even if the police recognize his voice, he could still get someone else to do it, or leave a note, etc. So maybe him working in his own will not work, when you can always do that.

    As for him not going to the police because he is an illegal immigrant or wanted for a crime, I am not sure if I want to go that route because then that makes him a fugitive, which would give him severe limitations as to what direction I can go. I think that might create complications but it depends on where I go, and I will explore it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  18. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    This therapist/cop scenario is the best you've come up with.

    But, I don't like the therapist being the killer. My opinion is that you've got to be mentally unbalanced to commit murder - even killing your partner is probably "while the balance of the mind is disturbed" by some argument or other - so a crazy therapist? Doesn't he ever see professional colleagues? Wouldn't they have noticed?

    What I actually like is having the same therapist seeing both cop and killer. From the perspective of a limited budget, how low do you want to go? You could actually play it ALL as therapy sessions, alternating between cop and killer, and keep it as cheap as a stage play. Or, you can add in as many "cut from therapy session to real-time murder scene" as you can afford, or want.

    Plus, with mental illness, you're never sure whether it's all in the mind...you could leave the audience wondering whether it was just a dream/psychological manifestation/???

    Or, an idea that's just come to me...the therapist is manipulating the killer into killing, and the cop into not catching him...
     
  19. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well some killers go unnoticed in their day jobs though. Hannibal Lecter comes to mind, before he was caught. Not that I envision my therapist anything like him though. But I was reading about how some psychopaths in real life have been good at fooling other people into thinking they were normal, and keep their imbalanced sides hidden, but I was just doing research and am no expert. As for budget I can go as far as 30K as of now, but am not sure on my scene structure yet. Just working out the idea.

    You have some interesting ideas. However, the idea, is for the MC not to go to the cops. If the therapist is not the killer, then he won't have anything to blackmail the MC with for not joining, and the MC, thus does not have a reason to avoid going to the police.
     
  20. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Yorkshire Ripper is a better example - remember that Hannibal Lecter was Hollywood! - or anybody prosecuted under Operation Yewtree.

    Yes, a psychopath CAN be charming and normal...until that doesn't get him what he wants.

    I've got no idea on what you can get, cinematically, for 30k. I'm just aware that the more location shooting, the more CGI, the more actors, the more money. Cop/killer/therapist as a three-handed stage play with all the action on the therapist's couch would be pretty economical - and I know you're filming it, but I've seen plenty of films that are little more than a stage play, filmed. Same Time, Next Year leaps to mind.

    Why can't the MC go to the cops? You've got a perfectly good drama already. In fact, if you don't want it, I'll take it!

    I've seen plenty of other threads that you've started where you get hung up on having the cop blackmailed so he has to do something illogical to get the case solved without his blackmail coming out...but, once he's in court, the crook is going to let the blackmail out anyway, so either the cop solves the case (full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!) or he gives in to the blackmail and DOESN'T. You can't have him cheating the blackmail. You just can't.
     
  21. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I don't plan on him cheating the blackmail. I want his motivation to be that he is okay with the blackmail coming out, just so long as he has proof first, to drag the villain down with him. Once he gets proof, he then will be okay with letting it all come out. That was the motivation I wanted. I don't want him to go to the cops, because then I it would cost more money for a team of cops to be in a movie, then it would for him to catch the villain himself as one actor.

    I'll go with this drama, and I like it, I just need a reason for him to work alone still.
     
  22. VioletKnight
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    Possible that Vigilantism is illegal, so the police would arrest him. Maybe they tolerate him if the city is crime infested enough, but he doesn't want to take the chance.

    Maybe he doesn't like killing and finds the cops too trigger-happy.
     
  23. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Actually I kind of like the idea about how the character does not want to turn himself in, because he himself is guilty of a crime, and therefore wants to stop the villains, by gathering evidence on his own. However, in doing research I was told that he could just turn himself in and get immunity so there is no need to have him work alone. Is that true though? Wouldn't he want to bring sufficient evidence forth first, or do you get immunity first, and the cops may give you possible assistance after?
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Buh? Why would he get immunity, especially for an earlier unrelated crime? ("You killed a man? No problem! Just go to the police station and offer to gather information on those pesky graffiti artists downtown, and they'll let you off!")
     
  25. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    That's what I was told by someone when doing research, when he said that the idea of my character not working with the police was illogical. But I think he meant of the crime was related to the villains of whom are after him.

    I mean I have seen real life cases where the prosecutor will cut a deal with one of the defendants, and make him a witness against the others, with an immunity deal, but I have never seen a real story, where someone will just call the cops, and ask for immunity because he has evidence to offer on crimes, where no one has even been arrested yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015

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