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  1. motormouth
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    motormouth Member

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    character ideas for a script

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by motormouth, Feb 15, 2011.

    hi i'm molding the characters for my next play idea. But as i have found in the past the i make my characters too 2d or stereotypical e.g, if i write a jock, he'll be only a jock rather than a fully developed jock with unique characteristics. So for this endeavour, I'm trying to make more 3'd people. so tell me

    1) How am i doing with this set that i am presenting and
    2) What if any methods can you suggest to use to fully develop a character,I've tried giving origin stories and that helps a bit.


    heres the plot /characters

    A night in Bethlehem

    A group of people are at the airport preparing to board around Christmas Eve. But the plane is delayed due to weather. So they spend a night in a nearby hotel. The Bethlehem. They are

    The Levins- A sports obsessed family.Also atheistic, not the I hate Christians type, simply have no religion in their lives.

    Florence( mother) Loves sports to the point that she favours her more athletic children over Manny although she doesnt make it obvious as she always talks about them proudly. Not so much him. since hes not athletic

    Manny(short for Manchester)- teenager youngest child of Florence. A child prodigy with a high i.q. He's bitter because he never got the recognition for his achievements and abilities since his parents focus on his elder brothers and sisters' athletic achievements. Consequently he hates Chelsea and likes to pick on her.

    Chelsea- Florence's granddaughter. her father (who isnt seen) is a famous footballer. Very young and impressionable , picked on by Manny who is jealous since she has some athletic talent and he doesnt hence is valued more in the family

    The Newly weds- returning from honeymoon

    Marianna- A Colombian, bilingual. Grew up in a tough neighbourhood so never backs down from a confrontation. Will not hesitate to cuss you out (in Spanish) if you cross her. (maybe she's pregnant and not showing yet?) Mother died when she was young ,so she latches onto Madrera as a mother figure.

    John- Much less confrontational than his wife but isnt ruled by her. Hes the only one who can make her back down. A bit unsure of how helll handle marriage. (need more character points)


    The Older couple- travelling for Christmas

    Walter- Extremely rude, says whatever he's thinking, no tact. Was in the army and constantly puts on airs over"civilians" Never calls anyone by their real name just gives them nicknames (calls Mariana Escobar etc) Walks with a cane from an old war injury he brags about. His personality means that he and Mariana do not get along AT ALL.

    Madrera- Maternal figure (always correcting her husbands bad behaviour). Is very doting as her own children have moved out of the house. Takes to Mariana like a mother to a daughter.

    Person- This person is going to do something bad. Im not sure what it is yet but one of the angels talks him out of it. Hes had some tradgedy in his life which causes him to make the decision . I was thinking either

    a) Commit suicide since someone close to him has died.
    b) Deliver drugs to pay for a debt.
    c)A suicide bomber (but i think this is too overused and cliche')

    Angels-

    These 2 are assigned to help the people in the story. We dont know they're angels til the very end.

    1 Angie- female Very nice cheerful and sensitive- think the woman from the Progressive ads.
    2) Angelo- maybe male or older female- Grumpy, gives tough love
    So what do you think
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you let your characters tell the story? I have been working on a play idea at the moment and have found the same principle with character building is working. I work with my characters to make them feel real and 3D they have scrapbooks, mannerisms, I know what they look like, I use my blog to talk to them, I have word boxes with words they would use that I don't and helps keep them distinct from each other.

    Then I place myself in their shoes as I write. What you have written is OK but it doesn't have mannerisms or quirks.

    I always start with a stereotype but then let my character tell me who they are and from that I know what they would say and how they would react in a given situation.
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having a quick check - I have counted ten characters there.
    Do you not think that if you had less characters you would be able to concentrate more on their development and thereby make them well rounded and believable (3D)

    In the UK the trend is - less characters = less actors = smaller pay role.

    I'm writing a play with five characters, I'm thinking of ways to drop one of them.
     
  4. motormouth
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    motormouth Member

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    Hmm thanks, but these wont be paid actors but actual volunteers. But point taken. Well taken
     
  5. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    When you say the Levins are atheistic do you mean that they just think religion is a waste of time and don't bother with it? The guy(family) who is too busy with material things to be bothered by religion or anything "spiritual" who then have something bad happen and/or somesort of supernatural experience (which quite often will be on Christmas) which will make them realize that they should have faith something which will most likely be either catholacism or a very general form of Christianity... That's kind of overused but other than that the only other stereotype I could find was the war vet who always tells you what he thinks. That's not really a bad stereotype though i usually like it.
     
  6. shekib82
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    shekib82 New Member

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    Maybe something happened in the honeymoon that has Josh thinking about to handle the marriage.

    My main suggestion though for your play is that if all the background stories don't have anything to do with the events of the play don't tell them.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that these characters are a little extreme, and a little stereotyped - the rude military man, the "foreign" woman who curses at people, the sports obsessed family, the mother who plays favorites, the hate-filled teenager who projects all of his family issues on an innocent child, and so on. _Each_ of these is fairly extreme, so when you add them all together, I think that it's going to go too far. I think that you need deeper but subtler characters.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this that they need the story to soften them and give them reality. I often start with stark stereotypes then let the story add quirks to their personality.
     
  9. motormouth
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    motormouth Member

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    Thanks, but I'm wondering how do i do that, what im trying to avoid is making carbon copy bland characters who are nothing more than their molds (jock, cheerleader etc) Any suggestions?

    The back stories wont actually be told but implied via conversations.

    Regarding the atheist family- They are the "I HATE CHURCH or CHRISTIANS are stupid" or materialistic. They simply dont have God in thewir lives a in when someone asks if they're going to church or anything for christmas, they simply dont do it. 1 line.

    I dont plan for Manny to be angst ridden. He'll be totally normal acting, but when his mother mentions that he's not gifted like the others esp Chelsea, he then starts to get upset and pick on Chelsea subtly.

    Mariana wasnt originally supposed to be "foreign" but I just liked the concept of a bilingual character and eanted to experiment with one.

    Any other suggestions.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is how I did it:

    The Abbot: Started off life as a fire and brimstone pretty typical religious character. Then I gave him a daughter who he doted on, he has a sense of humour. He is also having a relationship with Uncle Tom which is tender, kind and loving. They have raised five children together. He has an issue with his eldest son who he had fostered for his own safety after his eldest daughter was kidnapped. He is kind as well.

    Socrates': Began life as a pretty stereotyped elegant gay man loved his accesories and hated snot. He has a complex personality now. Began by giving him a bow and arrow and teaching him how to fight.

    Basically just getting to know them, talking to them and giving them mannerisms, quirks of speech and personality. And throwing situations in their way that give depth to the characters.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    (Switching to line prefixes, because, well, it's easier.)

    Some more miscellaneous thoughts:

    > Regarding the atheist family- They are the "I HATE CHURCH or
    > CHRISTIANS are stupid" or materialistic. They simply dont have God in
    > thewir lives a in when someone asks if they're going to church or
    > anything for christmas, they simply dont do it. 1 line.

    I'm feeling some possible stereotypes here.

    For one thing, non-Christian is not the same as "atheist." An atheist, by the most common definition, believes that there is no God. It's not that he has no opinion, or isn't interested, or isn't sure - he has made up his mind.

    So the average person who just doesn't go to a Christian church is not necessarily an atheist. He may be atheistic, he may be agnostic, he may have some Christian leanings but simply not go to church, he may be a member of any one of many non-Christian religions, he may just not think about it at all. Normally, I don't care about the religious leanings of my characters, but if you do care, I think that it's important to choose which of these is true.

    Also, I'm disconcerted that you feel the need to reassure us that your atheist or non-religious characters are not materialistic. I never would have thought that they were. A lack of religious belief has no particular link to one's level of materialism--please don't fall into the trap of believing that all morals, ethics, and philosophy must be based on religion, and that the non-religious are inherently shallow.

    > I dont plan for Manny to be angst ridden. He'll be totally normal
    > acting, but when his mother mentions that he's not gifted like the
    > others esp Chelsea, he then starts to get upset and pick on Chelsea
    > subtly.

    Have you considered turning this around? To me, it would be more interesting if Manny grew up with a lifetime of resentment and dislike and contempt for sports, but he likes his little niece, so when his niece (oh, no!, says Manny) develops an interest in sports as she grows older, he has to learn to develop some tolerance for sports. Simultaneously, Chelsea could (oh, no!, says Florence) develop interests in other activities in addition to sports, and Manny could be her only support for those other interests.

    Chelsea could be the one member of the family who (aaack!, says everyone) is inclined to a healthy balance between sports and other things. Except maybe (aha) Manny's brother would have liked to learn X (a non-sports pursuit), but never dared let his mother know; instead, he guiltily let Manny be the lone black sheep.

    Yeah, this may be far more complexity than you had in mind, but to me it's more interesting than Resentful Teenager Is Mean To Small Child.

    > Mariana wasnt originally supposed to be "foreign" but I just liked the
    > concept of a bilingual character and eanted to experiment with one.

    Bilingual is fine, but the whole readily-cursing thing suggest a "those foreigners don't know how to be civilized like _we_ are" stereotype, and I don't think you want that. Why not make the bilingual character eminently civilized, and give the hot temper and cursing to someone else, perhaps her husband--or, come to think of it, isn't Walter already pretty mean and nasty and the type that would curse a lot?

    > Florence( mother) Loves sports to the point that she favours her more
    > athletic children over Manny although she doesnt make it obvious as
    > she always talks about them proudly. Not so much him. since hes not
    > athletic

    Why does Florence only value sports? I think that you need to know this.

    > Walter- Extremely rude, says whatever he's thinking, no tact. Was in
    > the army and constantly puts on airs over"civilians" Never calls
    > anyone by their real name just gives them nicknames (calls Mariana
    > Escobar etc) Walks with a cane from an old war injury he brags about.
    > His personality means that he and Mariana do not get along AT ALL.

    I think that Walter is a little too utterly annoying. Yes, I recommended that you give him the cursing (if anyone needs the cursing), but I think that some of the habits, like the nickname thing, would be better gone.

    As another possibility, he could be perfectly reasonable and courteous until things turn bad, and then assume that he, with his military background, will of course be the one in charge. That might produce more conflict--we liked this guy, and now he's showing his problematic side.

    > Madrera- Maternal figure (always correcting her husbands bad
    > behaviour). Is very doting as her own children have moved out of the
    > house. Takes to Mariana like a mother to a daughter.

    There's nothing terribly extreme about this, but I think that you might be in danger of making this character a bit too perfect. "Maternal" is not a complete personality. Also, why just Mariana? Why isn't she mothering Chelsea, too?

    > Person- This person is going to do something bad. Im not sure what it
    > is yet but one of the angels talks him out of it. Hes had some
    > tradgedy in his life which causes him to make the decision . I was
    > thinking either
    >
    > a) Commit suicide since someone close to him has died. b) Deliver
    > drugs to pay for a debt. c)A suicide bomber (but i think this is too
    > overused and cliche')

    I think that you don't need a Person for this, I think that one of your other characters should be the bad guy. For that matter, maybe Walter and Madrera, or Mariana and John, should be the angels. Characters that have specific plot functions (Bad Person, Angel) should be just as well-developed as the ones that are there to be characters.

    ChickenFreak
     

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