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06 March 2013 @ 11:02 pm
Writing Wednesday: Too many characters?  

Last week's assignment for Writing for TV was to write a fuller pitch of our original series, including character description and outline of pilot episode and plot arcs to come. My schedule unfortunately left me with only one night to work on this and that night I came down with a cold, so all I was able to get done were the character profiles. I think those are alright, though I suspect my professor will tell me that's too many characters to have in a series - I mention about fifteen. Not all of them are major characters though, and all will be introduced gradually as the series goes on, but we'll see how he takes that.

Gloves Off is an ensemble serial drama with a dose of comedy, camp, and cartoon twists. It stars the dazzling metropolis of Arch City, a place where supervillainy, superheroism, and outlandish powers are a part of everyday life. Its complex but not confusing cast of characters comes from all corners of the city’s culture: do-gooders, mischief makers, power players, bewildered bystanders. They cross paths, forge friendships, spark rivalries, kindle romances, and question morals in the city of a million stories and a million ideas of what it means to be good or evil.

Alexander and Audra Morgan have been married for twenty-five years and causing mayhem for thirty, working their way up from lowly henchmen to superstar villains. Their career kept them from building a family – until a plan to create an evil clone of an enemy accidentally gives them an innocent baby clone instead. Alex's unfaltering optimism that she is a blessing and a reward for their life's hard work clashes with Audra's persistent pessimism that she is a mistake fated to bring everything crashing down, but familial desires win out and they decide to keep the baby. Now it's a daily adventure in raising their strange child, keeping her a secret from the supergirl whose distinctive DNA she shares, and confronting painful memories of the baby they had in their youth, a girl who was stolen directly out of the hospital and never found again.

Parvola Parall is a fifteen year old girl with the strength of fifteen men and an unmatched zeal for the fighting part of fighting crime. She's a candy-colored crusher adorned in shorts, sneakers, pigtails, glitter eye shadow, and muscled arms covered with cuts and bruises that she bears as marks of pride. Her fearless attitude and habit of diving in headfirst make her one of the most effective heroes of any age, but it's an endless concern for her best friend. Shy and slight Waverly Charles waits at home every night watching the news with sick worry that it could be the night Parvola finally meets her match. Without a superpower of her own, there's nothing she can do to help the girl she has adored for as long as she can remember, but she never stops trying to develop some sidekick-worthy skill.

The Elementals were once a band of child heroes who roamed the outskirts of Arch City fixing what problems they could with their respective controls over fire, water, air, electricity, and plants. But after lightning-powered Henry Elliot suffered an accident from the very bolts he threw and fell into a coma when he was barely eighteen, the heroics faltered and the group eventually grew up and settled down. Meredith Merlaine and Noel Charles married and had a daughter in a home constantly tense with the opposition of their water and fire powers. Trevor Woodson runs the City Gardens, trimming trees and blooming flowers with a wave of his hand but failing to make any long-term relationships blossom. Harmony Fletcher was Henry's sweetheart who bore him a child she never got the chance to tell him she was carrying, and since her son went off to college, she has returned to her childhood fascination with how to use her air powers to fly. When Henry wakes up after a quarter of a century he finds himself suddenly a middle-aged father instead of a boy hero and struggles with reconciling his childish thirst for adventure with his newfound adult life.

Jamie Fletcher is a graduate student at Arch University studying robotics. Imbued with the "breath of life" from his mother and the "spark of life" from his father, he has the gift to create amazingly natural AIs, but he worries about going too far with his humanlike creations. He also worries about his budding relationship with Romi, a thief of a thousand disguises who climbed into his window running from the cops one night and somehow charmed him into letting her stay there whenever she needs. And there's his roommate Michael Corey, a student of the biology and genetics of superpowers who has been Jamie's closest friend and most jealous academic rival since childhood. Michael finds himself in a string of internships taking him deeper and deeper down the path of mad science, but he isn't quite so worried about that.

Dr. Eric Woodson runs a free clinic for injured henchmen by day and dons a somewhat more stylish lab coat to become the villain Dr. Parasite by night. His goal isn't havoc, riches, or domination, only to capture the attention of Magna-Man. It's hard to stand out to the top superhero in a city full of villains, but this mess of emotions and shoddy traps keeps trying to make his nemesis appreciate all the work he does for him. And secretly, he does. Magna-Man is really Max Morales, son of Arch City's beloved mayor Carlotta Morales. Forced into heroism as soon as his metal-controlling powers displayed themselves and raised to believe that he must always serve others first, Max is exhausted, isolated, pressured, and privately an even bigger mess than Dr. Parasite is. He slowly starts warming to the only villain who sees him as a person, not just an enemy, but hesitates about forming a real relationship while the wellbeing of an entire city is hanging over his head.

These characters and more cross paths as every episode paints a portrait of this city of infinite possibilities, where everyone strives to live life on their own terms with their own definitions of love, happiness, success, justice, duty, and harm.
Current Location: Bed (Dorm)
Current Mood: Tired
Current Music: "Little Talks" by Of Monsters & Men
darkspirited1darkspirited1 on March 17th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's too many characters. Look how many GRRM has in Song of Fire and Ice!

I like how each has a distinct backstory that pushes them forward. I think introducing them gradually would be perfect. In fact, I'm intrigued as to how they'll all fit together.

What did your professor say about it?

Are you anywhere near sharing excerpts from this yet? Is it going to be a movie/tv based script, a novel, a cartoon, or something else?
Master Wilky Quizgirl: St. Louis Sunsetwilky_wit on March 17th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
My professor skimmed through it and said it was good, I think just based on the strength of my previous work for him lol. He's supposed to give feedback on our outlines for our episode scripts this week, and that story only involves four characters, so I may have dodged that issue with him entirely.

It's supposed to be an animated TV series. I wrote a pilot script last year, a shorter script that used some of these characters in a "So You Want To Be A Superhero/Supervillain" cheesy education film, a few dialogue exercises and fiction drabbles, and a lot of notes.