How to handle this?
Well, this is a new one. I’d decided to give myself a break this week, and do something a little easier — easier in terms of post-production, anyway. I wrote this bit (for lack of a better word) a couple of years ago. It’s a monologue of sorts, and I never did anything with it, and this week I thought, “Hey! Why don’t I just shoot that bit, and I’ll come up with a character that would be a good fit to deliver it.” So I did, and I like this character, but suddenly there’s a problem.
The character that I’ve developed doesn’t want to do the bit. Don’t worry, I don’t mean that literally. What I mean is that while experiementing and playing and developing this character (which happened in my living room yesterday and today), I, like a mad scientist, made some miscalculation, and now my creation has gone awry, and the bit doesn’t fit on him. I don’t think. What I mean is that this character evolved very naturally, and suddenly to have him do this bit seems unnatural. I think.
I’m currently reading a book on improvisation called Truth in Comedy. One thing this book emphasises is that you don’t sacrifice the reality of a scene for a joke. And, right now, that’s what this “bit” feels like. I feel like this person I’ve developed and created, well… he just wouldn’t say it… he wouldn’t do it.
So. Now. Suddenly, it’s 10:38pm, and I’ve plans to shoot tomorrow morning at 11am (my friend Dylan has kindly agreed to shoot me again, which I’m excited about since I think he did such a good job shooting Episode One), and I don’t know what to do. Do I A) retool this character to make it more believable that he would deliver this bit?, or B) say fuck the bit, and maybe I’ll use it some other time, or maybe I won’t. Here are the issues. If I choose A… well, I don’t wanna. That would really require me going back to the drawing board and coming up with a whole new character, and it’s possible that the same thing could happen again (I could realize this new character I created isn’t right for it, either)… or I could realize that the bit is stupid, anyway. On the other side, if I choose B then I have a character for tomorrow, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with him.
I think I just chose to go with B. I reread the bit a few times, and it’s not worth it. It needs rewriting at the very least. Most importantly, though, it’s not a good match for this character, and it’s not worth sacrificing the truth in the situation for a cheap laugh.
I choose the character over the bit.
Interesting note: two weeks in a row now, I took a bit that inspired the character, and then cut the bit itself. Last week’s episode didn’t suffer from cutting it out (a monologue that basically explained why he was doing what he was doing), but it would have suffered if I hadn’t had it in there already as the seed. Interesting. The concept is: you plant the seed, let the tree grow, then remove the seed. Maybe that’s the wrong analogy. It may be more accurate to think of it as a catalyst, rather than a seed. I could go back and forth on that all night. Regardless, that’s something that’s worth some examining.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to sit down now and write out my character’s bio. Try to flesh him out some more. Maybe I’ll come up with some ideas about what could happen tomorrow. Maybe I won’t. If I know him better, though, it will make it easier for me to react truthfully to whatever circumstances I end up putting the character in.
The adventure continues.
-BR 4.11.09 11.03pm