Monday, September 29, 2008


by Gina Sestak

In my screenwriting class last week, we talked about building character. [Of course, I mean building character in the sense of creating believable protagonists, antagonists, etc., not increasing your moral fiber.] Movie characters, like those who populate a novel, should be believable. [Honest. I'm not making this up.] Characters need to grow and change over the course of the story. They should seem real, with relationships, goals, and a past. And, in order to make them believable, there are three things you should know about a character:
  • idea of fun
  • pet peeve
  • secret (something people would be surprised to know)

To these, I would add a fourth: what would make that character laugh? Would she lose bladder control over a knock-knock joke? Would the sight of an injured puppy bring on Peter Lorre giggles? What we laugh at reveals who we really are.

So this is my quiz for today:

  • what is your idea of fun?
  • what is your pet peeve?
  • what would people be surprised to know about you? [caution: speaking as a lawyer, I have to say, NEVER CONFESS TO A CRIME UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE CAUGHT!]
  • what makes you laugh?

For myself, I find it fun to go to court {honest}. I detest anyone talking during movies in the movie theater. People might be surprised to know that I was homeless and selling blood plasma to survive when I was younger -- well, I guess you folks who read my posts wouldn't be surprised by that. You've read all about it. And, I think this youtube video is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I only wish I could figure out how to embed it in this post.


Tory said...

FUN: dancing!
PET PEEVE: Pittsburgh drivers stopping in the middle of the streeet and not pulling over (ESPECIALLY when there's a wide-open space on the curb.)
SURPRISE: Yesterday I made a debut as a choreographer for our church dance group (our dance was part of the service.)
FUNNY: I like "dirty elephant" jokes. Sample: How do you know two elephants are fooling around in your back yard? Your plastic trash-can liners are missing!

Annette said...

My idea of fun is a long horseback ride in the woods.

Pet Peeve: people talking on cell phones while driving, shopping, doing whatever in the bathroom stall next to mine, sitting in the movie theatre...

Surprise: Perhaps that I was painfully shy when I was a kid. Me? Shy? Yep!

Funny: Yesterday I discovered Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me on NPR and it was hysterical! Roll on the floor funny!

Anonymous said...

Annette, you beat me to my most fun thing. Second most fun, a long horseback ride in the mountains.

And I have to agree with the pet peeve, too. Every third car that goes by has a clueless person using one hand to drive, and about a third of their brain.

Most people would be surprised to know that I once aspired to be a nun. Considering my two marriages, that is.

And this YouTube is one of the best things I've seen, even though I normally do not like Richard Simmons, but I am a total fan of Whose Line is it Anyway? Those guys are freakin' geniuses when it comes to being funny in a hurry.

Karen in Ohio

Wilfred Bereswill said...

FUN: Scuba or snow skiing. However a nice meal with my wife and daughters can satisfy me.
PET PEEVE: Driving while texting/dialing.
SURPRISE: Let's see, I've told you all here about dressing as a woman and winning a beauty contest on a cruise. I think we covered the winning the men's sexy legs contest. I've spent almost a year in China and speak a little Mandarin.
FUNNY: Jackie Chan movies. Especially the outtakes with Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson.

mike said...

Fun: Easy--bicycling
Peeve: I've reached that age where I've too many pet peeves to count.
Surprise: Much to my own surprise, I'm good at doing mime when masked--I've had a couple opportunties to do that for the opera company.
Funny: The video you posted, Gina! God, I loved it. I'm an old Joe Cocker fan, and still count that song, and his Woodstock performance, among my all-time favorites. Had to send the link to coworkers who wondered about all the laughter coming out of my cube.

Gina said...

Karen -
I once aspired to be a nun, too, at least in grade school, until it hit me that I'd have to live with all the other nuns. I mean, being close to God is one thing, but sharing living space with Sister Mary Monster is something else.

Mike -
I'm glad you like the video. First time I saw it, I almost fell over from laughing so hard. I've never been much of a Joe Cocker fan -- I think in part because I could never figure out what the heck he was saying. Now I know.

Anonymous said...

Gina, same here--once I realized they didn't allow boys at the convent that was the end of being a nun!

Karen in Ohio

Joyce said...

Hey Will, are you bringing that dress to Bouchercon? :-)

Wilfred Bereswill said...

No, Joyce. I borrowed the dress from a woman on the cruise. As cute as it was, I couldn't talk her out of it. Or was it her trying to talk me out of it?

I don't remember

Tory said...

Karen: That clip is TOO FUNNY!!!