Friday, February 08, 2008

Create a Character Weekend!

To those loyal readers who soaked in all three "Best Of" articles this week - How's your brain? Does it hurt? How do you feel? Good, I hope. We're a tough bunch. (BTW - I haven't even shared half of the articles I wanted to share. So on Sunday, we'll do the usual Screenwriting News and then we'll continue this "Best Of" series next week because I'd really like to get into characters and dialogue.)

Do you remember that scene in
Wonder Boys when Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) was in the Hi-Hat Club with James Leer (Tobey Maquire) and Terry Crabtree (Robert Downey Jr.)? They noticed a funny-looking guy across the hall and played a game in which they tried to imagine his life's story. They drummed up the name “Vernon Hardapple” and a tale about him being a jockey who fell off his horse, which is how he got his scar, and now he’s addicted to pain killers, and can't piss standing up, etc.

We used to play that game on the weekends. Remember that?

So tell me - who is this crazy girl pictured above? What's her story? Why does she look like this? What kind of funny contradictions would she have in her character?


Christina said...

Her name is Chelsea. She has body paint all over her because she's in a rave tent at Burning Man. It's a bad shot -- she's actually quite pretty. She still has all of her childhood Barbie dolls in a storage unit in San Francisco. She sold her car to go to Burning Man with her photographer ex-boyfriend (who delights in taking pictures of her when they're fighting, like this gem) but she'd never sell those dolls.

Elver said...

She's someone who pissed off Mystery Man, so he's putting her up on the interwebs and asking people to take potshots at her.

Did I get it right? :P

Christina said...

lol, I like Elver's better than mine...

Christian M. Howell said...

She's a high school girl named April. She loves to party, but hates getting her picture taken. She painted herself because she lost her bra a few minutes ago in a crowd dive.
She's a nice girl until she ties one on, then all bets are off.

Bob G. said...

Ooh, I like the name Chelsea. It's got a sort of look-what-happened-to-the-90's sound to it. I hope Christina won't mind if I borrow it.

Chelsea is reacting to the latest direction from the photographer, who's out of frame. She can't believe what he's asking her to do with the other girl, also out of frame, also undressed, also covered in body paint. He makes each instruction sound so simple, so reasonable, so obvious, especially after what he's already gotten them to do. But, fuck! How did she ever wind up here, doing this?

She knows how. For years she's been the prettiest girl at school -- just like her bitter old mom was once upon a time. "You can coast far on your beauty," she'd always warn, "but when that train runs out of steam you'll be all alone in a hot, dry desert." If Chelsea wanted a real advantage, she'd better learn some skills to fall back on.

But it wasn't her civics or her math scores, it was her looks that the other girls envied -- envied so fiercely that it all but compelled her to use her beauty in every way she could, as if such a volume of resentment required constant rejustification. She wasn't above stealing away the odd boyfriend or sweet-talking the occasional pathetic, horny middle-aged professor into a passing grade. And what more natural way to lord her beauty over all than by modeling?

The photographer -- the friend of a guy from the hometown of the brother in this frat where Chelsea sometimes hangs out -- passed himself off as a total pro, strictly above-board, no funny stuff. She shouldn't have been surprised when this shoot started degenerating into something more... degenerate.

...And she wasn't. Her bitter old mom's stories did not all fall on deaf ears. That's why at this moment, from her gym bag forgotten in a corner of the room, a small camera takes in the entire scene. The first wrong move made by this sleazebag -- and there would be one, she'd been on enough of these by now to know -- and her squad would come crashing through the door.

Another asshole behind bars and, with any luck, another pretty, naive girl scared back to school.

Joshua said...

Her name is Dylan Moeller, she's an actress and she's on set of LAUGH-IN, THE MOVIE as an extra.

It's her first time on a set, and she's surprised how cold it can be, even with all the lights, and how all the people who aren't actors never stop moving when the cameras aren't rolling.

Raised in Illinois, Dylan attended Michigan and graduated a theatre major. She moved to Los Angeles after graduation last year and she still doesn't have an agent.

She has a boyfriend but doesn't like him, he's an actor too, but he gets really jealous and as soon as she can, she's going to dump him for someone else. She simply wants to find that someone else first, because it's easier to tell her boyfriend she's met someone else than it is to tell her boyfriend that she can't stand to listen to him any longer.

She did the same thing with her boyfriend from college, who never recovered from the breakup and had to be hospitalized for depression.

She's hoping to meet someone on this set so she can break up with her boyfriend sooner rather than later. She's not desperate but her boyfriend and his whining about auditions is driving her crazy.

And he's got a car and she doesn't, so she needs to find a new boyfriend with a car. Hers broke down four months ago and she hasn't told her parents yet, because they're a strapped for cash as she is.

She's an only child, both parents worked hard to put her through college and supported her as much as they could, though they have reservations about acting as a career. She's told them she's finally gotten a job on a film, but she hasn't told them yet that she's topless in the movie.

She knows they're be devastated about that. She's hoping by the time the film comes out, she'll have better news about her career that will make the bitter taste sweeter.

She hopes. She really hopes.

Oh, her first name is Darlene, not Dylan, but she's always hated the name Darlene and chose Dylan. She kept her last name to pacify her parents, but they were heartbroken she tossed away the name they chose for her, though they hide it as well as they can.

And they still call her Darlene.

James Patrick Joyce said...

Camilla Bentworth-Aberfitch, 21 years old. Valedictorian, Harvard's youngest recipient of a Doctorate in Theoretical Physics, and interning at the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics.

At a party, Camilla took some "aspirin", for a headache. She's currently riding her first experience with "E".

And Stephen Hawking is starting to look quite fetching.

GimmeABreak said...

It's a hidden camera shot of Mystery Man and boy is he pissed!

Mrs. Silence Dogood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Silence Dogood said...

Sky is at the Whole Earth festival in Davis, California. She is frying on acid and has been caught off guard as she squatted to pee near the smudging kiosk, "Get that fucking face.. out of my camera... or I'll piss a freaking rainbow on you mutha fuckers" Shortly afterward she is escorted to the Karma Dome for medical attention and a good scrubbing by an aroused EMT.

Laura Deerfield said...

Sharon is an Aussie on walkabout. She decided to undertake the adventure after reading a book.

The bodypaint is supposed to look aboriginal, and just shows that she doesn't really get it.

She has a condition called dry-mouth, which is exacerbated by the drugs she's just taken - and now that she's stuck in the outback without her special mouthwash, it makes her hold her mouth in an unfortunate snarl.

Really, she just wanted to impress this bartender she works with at the pub, who says he is part-aborigine... unfortunately, he was lying about that. It was an attempt to sound more interesting to girls.

Mim said...

She was invited to the Playboy mansion by Hugh Hefner for the body-paint marathon. But during the long, arduous process, she downed too many cosmos and got belligerent.

Hugh's bodyguards dumped her in the alley behind the mansion and tossed her clothes after her, but she's too drunk and too pissed off to realize what to do with them.

What she really wants is another cosmo, but no matter how loudly she yells, that cute bartender just isn't showing up. WTF?