Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Storytelling Process: Role Models

Now, I want to immediately put down any misunderstandings you may have about my role models being my dream cast for future Hollywoodified versions of my novels. I. Know. Nothing. About. Casting. I know this. And I don't write with red carpets on my mind.

One of two things influence my decision regarding my role models: 1) how the person looks and 2) a character I've seen the person play. Sometimes, it's a combination for the two. I like actors and musicians because IMDB and Google can provide me with nearly every picture ever taken of them. YouTube can provide video so I can watch their mannerisms. But, I am not looking for actors to play a role...I'm looking for characters within a living model, someone I can look at while building someone new. I'm a visual person; having role models works for me.

The shirt was symbolic of the whole show.
Sometimes I have an idea and I will dredge the internet looking for a face that reminds me of the character. Other times, I will be looking for one character and see a picture that gives me an idea for a new one. The latter happened recently with my one of my Virgo characters. I was looking for pictures of Brian J. Smith, who played Matthew Scott on Stargate Universe. I thought he'd make a good fit for a friend's damaged-goods angel. Anyhow, I saw a picture of David Blue, and thought, "Sam."

My WIP, Virgo, features a 20-year-old DJ with Asperger's Syndrome. For most of her life, she had rituals and routines to deal with her condition. Sam was in her pre-school class when she was diagnosed and became part of her therapy. At sixteen, when an incident robs her of years of progress, Sam becomes a tether to the life she had.

What I like about David Blue is that he's not your go-to leading man type. He's not ripped like Taylor Lautner or smoldering like Alex Pettyfer. David's character "Eli" (at right), was chubby and a little scruffy. He was an endearing smart ass, a genius, and a conscientious teammate. Most of all, he spent all of the first season in love with a girl who was in love with someone else. In the second season, he meets a girl, they hit it off, and then she's murdered. I should mention that he's on a ship a billion lightyears from Earth and counting, and there aren't a whole lot of girls his age along for the ride, so when Ginn dies, you really feel bad for the guy.

David really brought his A-game to Stargate Universe, which makes him a great model the "just a friend" role. But, Sam's not just Delilah's sidekick, even if he plays one on occasion. He's takes the place of her brother, who was her guardian after the death of her parents. Sam is Virgo's POV character, and I think he's got potential to tell a great story about life with Delilah.

Hannibal likes to insult vampires.
It's amazing what you can build off a picture and a performance.

Sometimes, it's not a whole character that sparks an idea. Sometimes it's just a line. I apologize that I was unable to find a video, because it's really hard to capture smart ass.

The man on the left is Hannibal King, played in Blade: Trinity by Ryan Reynolds. Just after he sends a vampire pomeranian out of a high rise window, he has an exchange with vampire Jarko Grimwood (Triple H).

"Hey, dick-face. You seen my dog?"
Hannibal replies, "Have you tried the lobby?"

That snarky snippet inspired this exchange between Matty and King Hadrian January Black:

"Punctual…coat and tie…your father is vexed, am I right?"
"Yes, Sir."
The king hummed. "Nice to know I can still spook the man."
Once I had his voice, Hadrian's rarely-serious but always deliberate personality grew out of it.

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