Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sea Changes

So, you think you know what "Character" is. Maybe you have a great story going, or a screenplay, and you are quite comfortable with who your characters are. Hey, like we said in the 60's, if it feels good, do it.

Or maybe not.

Remember that little Bible story about Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus? Not only did the guy get a name change (to Paul), he got a whole new HIM. He underwent what is known in modern slanguage as a "sea change."

Can you think of any movies or stories that had characters undergo their own sea changes - total 180 degree reversals of who they are because of some event/interference/other character's influence, etc. that twisted their little heads around and made them see themselves and the world with a whole new set of eyeballs.

This writing challenge: Create a unique character (that means brand new) or take one of your already created characters or even a real life person and create a new setting and story for that character that allows them to undergo their own sea change.

How did they think or feel before? How have they been changed? What was the change catalyst? How did the change come about? Is the result one for the better... or worse? Are there consequences? For the character? For a wider circle of people?

Have you ever had the experience of being absolutely certain in your convictions or opinions and then someone came along or some event happened that completely changed your view? What was it?

It's good to have a clear understanding of who our characters are. But it's also a great mental exercise to stretch the imagination and see what else we can come up with. Have fun!