Chapter 6 Bonus: Interview with Michael Brandon

 

Actor Michael Brandon has appeared in many films, including lead roles in The Unicorn, Lovers and Other Strangers, F.M., and Presumed Dangerous, and as Dempsey in the hugely popular Dempsey and Makepeace television series (exported to 75 countries). His other TV appearances include Trial and Retribution, The Catherine Tate Show, Miss Marple, Hawking, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and Jonathan Creek.

He has appeared on stage on Broadway and in the West End, most recently as Jerry Springer in Jerry Springer the Opera. He is also the voice of all the characters on Thomas the Tank Engine for North America

Six Good Ideas About…Creating Powerful People

1. A good way to get to know your characters is to imagine them in a variety of different situations: what would they say and do?

2. Often it’s the small details and quirks of characters that make them come alive. These can be about their appearance, their behaviour, their setting, their emotions, and their relationships.

3. It’s conflicts that make a story come alive, so consider what things your characters don’t agree about; if writing non-fiction, explore what conflicts the people you’re writing about have had, and how they handled them.

4. As much as possible, show us what the characters are like rather than telling us. Readers and viewers feel smart and involved when they are the ones figuring out the characters.

5. Avoid the twin traps associated with minor characters: using stereotypes, or trying so hard to avoid stereotypes that the characters don’t ring true.

6. Remember that characters don’t have to be likeable, but they do have to be interesting.

 

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