3/14/13

Wow--Talk about a Whack-a-doodle!

There is a reason for the term, stranger than fiction.

As a writer, you can't come up with these sorts of characters and get away with it. Nobody would believe them, but life pukes out some total whackadoodles sometimes.


In case you didn't realize it, I'm talking about Brandon Hantz from Survivor.

I'm not here to talk about the show, strategies, politics, or any of that stuff. I'm going to talk about characterization.

Think about it. Throw a bunch of people from every walk of life on to an island, dangle a million dollars in front of them, add in starvation, various challenges and temperamental weather, and film the results.

True characteristics will eventually come out--Brandon's real personality emerged to the detriment of his teammates.

It took a few seasons of Survivor before I even started watching it. I just wasn't interested, and then I discovered Jeff Probst's blue eyes and dimples--and yes, I've started watching his talk show when I'm able. I can oogle. He's married now--and his wife is totally hot, too. They make a very striking couple.
Jeff Probst

Anyhoo, back to Survivor. Brandon was obviously off his medication. That young man is seriously unstable. Every time he picked up the machete, it scared me. I wouldn't put it past him to hurt someone in the heat of the moment. He was a mess in his first Survivor, but this time instead of 'demonizing' some young woman, he butted heads with Phillip--another whackadoodle, but a subtle one.

I hope they fly him away from "the Ranch" (where voted off Survivors go to enjoy a little R & R, namely food, drink, and a real cot in a tent) for some psychological help. He needs someone in his corner. And when he comes back to the finale show and says it was just an 'act' . . . yeah, right. That young man has a screw loose, so don't believe him.

As a writer, when you develop characters, they have a backstory--things in their life that made them who they are. In other words, baggage, everyone has baggage, even younger characters. If you have a beautiful person with loads of money and things are peachy, then there had better be some depth to the character that would make a person want to continue watching or reading about them.

With Brandon, he's what they call 'good television'. I wouldn't call it that, but basically, you never knew what he would do next, which made people tune in to see what happened, i.e. a train wreck or a car accident on the freeway.

To tell you the truth, the favorites side will be a little more boring because he's gone. Maybe some other characters will step up--not on the diabolical side of things, but to actually let their personalities come out. Many of them are boring, simply a backdrop for the antics of Brandon and Phillip.

Anyhoo, if you are a writer and you want to develop a character--people watch--on TV, at the mall, or a coffee shop. Watch how they interact with others and develop your own backstory for them. Every character has a backstory, even the secondary characters and the walk-on characters. Their backstory is told in the way they act and relate to other characters.

It's not that hard to write. You just have to place yourself in their shoes for a little while.

Later, Peeps!  

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