Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 6 - Casting the Characters

I've been busy (made more bread, more creton for the elderly cat, ragout pour moi, found stashes of old books to read, plus typography work to be done, more health kerfuffle...) but things are going well.  Staying a little ahead of my goals

Here's my ROW80+ Goal Meter (my goals are listed here):

7124 / 87000 words. 8% done!

Wednesday: Day 3: 1220
Thursday, Day 4: 1113
Friday, Day 5: 1125
Saturday, Day 6: 1157

I've been hitting two sessions most days -- one mid-afternoon, one late.  I think that one of the down-sides of blogging is that I tend to lose the late session, especially on busy days.

These sessions have been making progress on both WIPs.

I've been spending some time catching up on reading around the internet -- in particular publishing issues.  It's entertaining, but I think I've had enough for a while.

But the most fun thing I've done this part of the week was go back to the Story Game.

The Casting Game

I am still playing around with too many options, and not enough of the right kind of detail in terms of the mystery.

If you remember, I played around with a variation on the Relationship Circle game to create a cast of characters for mystery, and I did one for The Man Who Ran Away, and found it fruitful.  It gave me the setting for the story, etc. But I just need....  more personality to it.  I keep getting hung up on choices.  I have so many good ones....

Well, I had this other version of that game. I called it the casting game.  I took a hundred half-size index cards, and wrote the name of an actor or famous personality on it.  I tried to make them relatively equal in males and females.

My idea was to use them for two purposes:

One is just to liven up any moment when my imagination isn't giving me anything interesting.  A faceless minor character enters the story -- just a functional character, like a gas station attendant who is a witness to something.  If my imagination doesn't hand me anything interesting for the scene, I draw a card and cast that character with that actor. 

The other was to liven up the Relationship Game.  Instead of drawing a sex/age of the 6-10 characters in the relationship circle, I'd draw a card for that part.  I haven't played with this yet.

But for this story, I was already happy with the relationships and such I'd already come up with.  I was dithering over a few things, but mostly I just wanted to goose my imagination.

So I drew ten cast cards and then figured out how they could fit in with my scenario.  I didn't think it would work that well, and I'm not sure I'll keep everything I came up with, but Wow, I did find it goosed my imagination

Here's what I came up wtih:

The Denizens of the Vue-Du-Lac Country Club

The Concierge - played by Clark Gregg
You know, Agent Coulson.  He's so ... contained.  So helpful.

The Golf Pro - played by Katherine Hepburn
A blueblooded American "princess" who always loved golf and decided to make a career of it, in spite of the male domination.

The Most Powerful Member - played by Chris Cooper
CC is so subtle, and manages to mix dangerous with buttoned-down with blue collar. I'm sure he's a self-made man.

Senior Member #1 - played by James Garner
Probably won't be as easy going as he seems.

Senior Member #2 - played by Edward Everett Horton
Horton was originally drawn as the concierge, but I think that's a little bit too "on the nose."  So he's a member instead.  Garner needs a sidekick or rival. (I'm leaning toward sidekick.)

The Matron - played by Angelica Huston
She's Chis Cooper's wife, and is the uber-friendly 'hostess' who chats with everybody and tells them how marvelous they are.  Also a good source of gossip.  A little bit against type -- too fluffy -- but I think Angelica can pull it off.

Senior Woman Member - Mary Wicks
She was likely the one who broke down the barrier back when the club did not allow women.  She was likely Katherine Hepburn's mentor.  She might be married to one of the senior members.

The Restaurant Manager/Greeter - played by Joan Hickson
Sharp as a tack and maybe up to something.

Waitress - played by Frances MacDormand
A teenaged MacDormand -- not so sharp, but also maybe up to something.

Busboy - Macauly Culkin
Definitely up to something

And the bonus draw: I think the victim must be a semi-outsider, so I drew another card, and got...

Victim - Robin Williams.

Will these characters look like these people? Probably not.  It's more a body language and voice quality thing for me. (Things which tend not to be described very much in fiction.)  And a couple of these characters didn't really exist in the original scenario. (Mary Wicks and Katherine Hepburn).

We'll see how it goes.

See you in the funny papers.


Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

You do something with your casting that I've never been able to—mix people from different decades. So far I've got some kind of mental block that won't let me see people from '40s movies and '60s TV shows interacting with each other even in my imagination. :)

The end of your post sounds familiar, though. I often start by 'casting' a character, but by the end of a story, after I've spent time with them, I find they've changed in my mind so that they really don't look or sound so much like the original person anymore. Character casting is more like a springboard to something else than copying from a model.

The Daring Novelist said...

Maybe for me it's easier because of having a film background. You sort of train yourself to think about casting that way. How long ago doesn't matter as much as presence does.

Same with genre, actually. Movie people don't think in terms of genre. Sure, it's there, but they think more in terms of archetypes. That's why they use the "meets" shorthand sometimes for description. ("It's Die Hard meets Driving Miss Daisy!")