Wednesday 15 February 2012

Typing characters

Since starting to write my script I have for obvious reasons begun to think a lot about characters. I've also been keeping my branding workshop experience in mind, and all the things I read about branding and typing actors when I was organising the workshop. I've also thought and written a lot about characters in stories and films written for women and girls or the lack of them in both quantity and quality.

Sitting down now and writing characters myself, I find myself thinking really hard about getting them out of their respective type-boxes.

I'm writing an adventure film. I writing about young people. I have a set of five main characters, with a female lead. I have some idea of who they are and where they're going. And every time I write about or for one of my characters I find myself asking them, 'Am I doing you justice? Am I putting you in a box or dragging you out of one?'

The reason behind these questions is simple. I am sick of typing. I am sick of putting people in boxes. I am sick of watching types, packaged neatly into tight little boxes, instead of real fully developed characters, particularly in those parts written for women and girls.

It's the same with being an actress. I am still struggling with understanding what exactly my type is. Maybe I am rejecting the idea of really truly understanding it because I wish for myself and for every other actor out there that it wasn't necessary or at least not as necessary to type anyone at all. I yearn for a world where writers and those turning the written word into a visual product were more interested in what their characters abilities, flaws, journeys, and experiences were than to find some physical measurements of what they think these abilities, flaws, journeys, and experiences require a character to look like.

Seriously, fuck typing - at least when I am writing. Because unfortunately, as an actress I depend on capitalising on my type, whatever that means concretely.

But when I am writing, I have the power to completely disregard what physical types my characters are or I can describe their physical appearance as a complete juxtaposition to what their character essence is. I can totally say, 'Fuck typing!'

I may still end up with a completely conventional adventure story, with completely conventional characters. But that will be due to inexperience, not lack of trying. And while I am writing my characters as much out of the box as I can manage, I am for the first time in a long time in this crazy industry built on boxes and vanity, experiencing real creative freedom!

So, while I'm writing, I'm gonna be asking the universe real politely to send the same experience my way in my actress life. Now, that would make for a swell 2012!

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