Characters = Set Pieces?

Characters = Set Pieces?

Happy Thursday!

Yes. My blogs have been hit and miss since I started working a more traditional job. But I’ve learned an absolute ton to put it mildly. And it’s got me to think more about my idea of considering my actors as set pieces that I touched on in my rambling blog post: Mind Blown.

As I’m reworking my draft for my indie feature 3 WISHES, I have been thinking about this a lot. Why? My story takes place in six spaces and outside. And these five spaces are in three main places: a bedroom, living room, regular car, police car, and a room in a psych ward.

And no… None of these places blow up or get infested with zombies. No. I won’t be reprising my zombie role from MY APOCALYPTIC THANKSGIVING (MAT.) Maybe Richard will???????? I’m chewing on what to stick for a YouTube video cameo… My only parameter is that it needs to a few seconds that are very out of left field and completely removed from the reality of the story.

I digress.

Okay. Here’s the deal… I can’t begin to tell you of how many movies believe that slower than death and emoting all over the place is the best way to use actors as set pieces. But our director for MAT Charles B. Unger said no to this for a very important reason: This kind of acting kills the pacing of a story and causes seconds to feel like hours. Yes. It can be impactful if done sparingly rather than the norm.

My place is more about building simple stories that treat my characters like people: Hot messes with moments of goodness and darkness all mixed up into one. Nope. I won’t seriously use the phrase “stories are about unpacking characters’ inner lives.” Yes. This is true except the phrase “unpack” was hijacked from the therapy world. I absolutely dig into my characters to create a story except it’s not about putting my characters’ trauma on display for the sake of looking at how I can virtue signal or show off my analysis skills.

It’s more to let people know that it’s okay to fuck up, learn what they need to learn, and move on with their lives with their new lessons to guide them. Yes. There’s more: Who says that this must be so damn serious about having a life lesson? Sure. There needs to be some seriousness absolutely because that’s part of life. But man… Life gets hella hard when I stop laughing.

Ha! Writing this out helps me to better understand how to construct my characters as set pieces: Write them to be the quiet parts said out loud. Yippie!

As I now have my marching orders, I can figure out how to weave this concept through my draft more. How come? I want my characters to be so engaging that people don’t give a shit about the limited locations or lack of traditional set pieces.

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