My character technique
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I haven't been writing around here for a little while, and that's not the only place. I haven't done anything to my script since Sunday, either.

My time to work on it is either between the hours of 12-2pm or after 7 pm, and I've just been too tired to do anything more than lay on the couch. Yesterday I went to bed at 6 pm and didn't get up until 6 am.

I have been thinking about it, though.

I tend to write in my head before I ever commit to paper. I have a pretty good outline (beats laid out, a 19 page 'scriptment'.) Now I'm fleshing out scenes; where should they take place, lines of dialogue. I've always done this, had practice conversations in my head. I can be shy, and it's something I do to make myself more comfortable, to rehearse what I'll say, what my boss will say, what I'll say back, etc.

It was really, really good practice. In order to effectively use the technique to conquer self consciousness, one has to properly and adequately predict the other partie's response. One must get into character.

This is how I get into my characters, how I find their voice. I imagine tone of voice, word choice, pauses. I try out snappy banter and quick comebacks. It seems to work for me. I've tried writing out biographies, mapping their imaginary childhoods, but that never did it for me the way just talking to them constantly does.

I also find myself, lately, predicting responses. When at the grocery store, I'll actually think about what kind of, say, jelly, my protagonist would buy. It would be Welch's grape. She's very practical, and quality counts with her. Also, Welch's is the cheapest name brand and comes in jars you can later use as cups. Her sister/sidekick, would buy Polaner's All Fruit. It's much more expensive, comes in a fancier jar, has highbrow commercials involving dinner parties and British accents, and is all-natural. There are uncommon flavors, such as blueberry, pineapple, and black cherry. As an extremely image-conscious earth mother, these things are important to her. Another character wouldn't buy jelly at all, but would force himself to be satisfied with a martyr-like plain peanut butter, or dry toast.

Myself, I buy my jelly at the dollar store. They have good quality jelly with 3 ingredients: Water, strawberries, pectin. For a dollar - can't beat that deal, and I have quite an issue with Red Dye #40 and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

You get my point. My movie takes place more or less in one location: the house, and the backyard of the house. But I can tell you what kind of car each of my characters drive. Where they go for coffee. What they do the day after Thanksgiving.

What character techiniques work for you?
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4:13 AM | Permalink |