Things are starting to warm up here in L.A. and I don't just mean weather wise (it's been about 97 the last few days - it is 69 as I type this). I'm talking about the creative process. The rest of the students and I are getting our imaginations revved up and ready to go. We received our most challenging and important assignment just a few days ago. 'Tis this:
- Develop your character into their story
- 6-8 pages (no more than 10)
- Interesting character + conflict + resolution
- Character must change in some way.
- Simple story + complex character
- Rules on content....non-existant
So, I'm in the process of writing a script. One of my summer assignments was to create a character and write two-pages describing that character. I had previously created a character that I didn't get to flesh out as much as I would have liked to. So, I expanded on that character, the character of Albert Ryan. Now, I must expand on that character even more and put him in a story. If you would like to read my character description of Albert that I turned in, see below and please ignore any spelling errors:
Albert Ryan is a 30 something year old trying to achieve the oft sought after goal of world fame and recognition as a successful movie star and screenwriter. Unfortunately, Albert is failing to reach what he believes to be his “life calling.” He’s a failed actor because he lacks the talent. He’s a failed screenwriter because he doesn’t know how to communicate through script. In fact, Albert doesn’t know how to communicate through any medium. At first glance, he appears to be an empty shell of a man; never communicating how he feels, what he’s thinking or what he wants. His friends all call him boring and of course, Albert is boring. The most daring part of his day is when he throws open cupboard doors in hopes of getting his face as close to the swing as possible without breaking his nose off. The only time he truly smiles is when he is trying to suck up flies using his vacuum cleaner. And Albert’s idea of a good time is whacking a golf ball around the yard for a few hours. But beneath the epidermal surface, Albert is really quite entertaining when he’s by himself and doesn’t siphon his behavior through his many psychological filters. Those filters include his natural born introversion, his fear of confrontation, and his desire to be liked by everyone; all of these seem contradictory to each other but they are the reasons Albert is so good at keeping his thoughts to himself. Even if these mental blocks cause him to endure his biggest pet peeve: being called boring. Of course, the last two paragraphs have been talking about Albert from three months ago, pre-mental breakdown Albert. Three months ago, Albert was in a relationship. I say, “was” because she called it quits after deeming Albert too boring. And that is when Albert snapped. His mind was so desperate to find a way to express his inner most thoughts upon the unsuspecting world that it simply created its own path of escape. This path came in the form of a film crew that only exists inside Albert’s head. Albert is now the star of his own documentary. The invisible film crew is now his much-needed confidante. Consequently, everyone within earshot of him is now his confidante. This has lead to all of his relationships changing, some for the worse. When he is “on camera” he is his true self. Albert isn’t acting anymore. His speech is faster, looser, more real and as a result, he hurts people’s feelings, alienates them, and hops onto a few people’s enemies list. In the past Albert would avoid conflict, now he actively seeks it out. Conflict is at the center of any good narrative after all and Albert is all about fabricating his life narrative as more exciting and provocative even if that means turning some of his friends into merely recurring characters. Ironically, now when he is alone is when Albert really struggles with his confidence. Albert’s personality has flip-flopped. Now, he’s obnoxious and boisterous while in public or the presence of company and quiet, reserved, and contemplative when by his lonesome. He asks himself why he “hired” this film crew. Is it in hopes of catapulting his acting career that he’s put so many of his relationships on the line? Or is he trying to show them that he’s not boring? Or show himself?
The whole idea for this character came from watching The Office. I would see how Jim would non-verbally communicate to the audience through the camera, as if passing of a secret through a smirk or a wink. I tried this in the dorm room a few times with Brock and that other guy I live with. The first time they freaked out, thinking someone else was in the room. I took that idea and ran with it. With my wonderful classmates Alex Canfield and Bill Rehr, we created a fake trailer for a movie starring Albert:
Now, I'm charged with task of making that trailer become a reality.
The highlight of the last few days was getting to meet Doug Jones. He was a special guest speaker at the center last night. If you don't recognize him from his quite famous film roles don't worry. You aren't suppose to recognize him.
Here he is as Abe Sapien from Hellboy and Hellyboy II: The Golden Army
The Silver Surfer - 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Pan's Labyrinth as Pale Man
The Benchwarmers - Number 7 Robot
He stayed and talked to us for 3 hours. He talked about his roles and told us cool stories about meeting Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro
I'll post another pic dump within the next day or two and I'll post some videos of Doug Jones telling his stories.