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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

In writing.

Forewarning: This will be quite a longer blog post than most ones I've done. Though that will be because of the long texts I'm including, not actually the amount I'm writing. If that makes sense. If I know my audience at all, it shouldn't bother you too much.

OK. Recently, I saw an ad up at uni about doing a bit of script writing. It mentioned that it would include a bit of black humour, a bit of survival-type drama. Though it did say that the possibility of being actually paid for it was probably small, though still there. I was immediately interested and contacted the guy via email. The information he sent me interested me even further. Now, I've got no idea exactly how copyright laws or anything work, so I don't know exactly how much of this I should really be putting up here, but what the heck. I've hardly got any viewers, and I'm not putting up too much.
Anyway, he told me that the basic idea was the sudden loss of any advanced electronic technology across Australia. In some sort of event called the 'Zap' (he called it that, not me). Not sure at the moment how far that extends - for example, would planes in australian air space be affected? Anyway, he said that he'd be sending out a brief fairly soon.
Yesterday, he sent out an email saying he was sorry he was taking too long, he was a bit of a perfectionist. However, he did have one character bio written up, and encouraged us (that is, me and whoever else had replied to the ad, I'm guessing) to write up some sort of backstory. As I looked at the character bio, I was quite surprised. Perhaps you'll see why. I've got it reproduced here, word for word - and this was written by him, I haven't changed it.
Full Name: David Ravi Boxer 
Age: 25 
Ethnicity: Half-Caucasian (maternal), Half-Indian (paternal)  
Visual Description: Tall, Lean, Fair-skinned, Dark hair, Brown eyes, Perfect teeth, 
Occupation: Not officially employed, Amateur Hacker 
Hobbies: X-Box, PS3, Hacking, TvTropes, Woodwork, Working out 
Skills: Highly intelligent, Very good with electronics, Knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects, Plays a lot of musical instruments, especially keyboard
Phobias: Tight spaces, 
Allergies: Grass, Strawberries 
Friends: Not many. A few fellow hacker-type characters. 
Family: Mother, two younger sisters (Father deceased, recently) 
Medical history: Appendicitis, Broke left leg at age four 
Mood: Lazy, Easily bored, Depressive, Lack of agency over his life 
Education history: Graduated year 12, Bachelors degree in InfoTech 
Employment history: Fired from every job after a couple weeks 
Brief description of character: David Boxer is your smart but lazy archetype. He's really good at a wide variety of creative and technical fields, but isn't motivated and doesn't get a lot of fulfilment out of the activities he does. Socially awkward, he has difficulty relating to people who don't get his intelligence. Is prone to mischief, dismissiveness, snubbing of authority. 
Brief description of role in context of show: After the Zap, David is probably the character most affected, and more importantly: affected positively. Without electronics, all of his usual activities are no longer possible. This means he has a lot more time on his hands. But also, he is the only person in the immediate area who can perform a vital function: making stuff work again. David becomes the go- to fix-it guy, using his incredible intelligence and experience with electronics to repair and reactivate a few essential devices like fridges and heaters. After the Zap, David finds purpose in life.
Perhaps you can see why I found this somewhat surprising - he has a fair few things in common with me. OK, a lot. The majority of that corresponds to me, which I found a bit weird. Needless to say, I found it quite easy to write a bit of a backstory for him. What I wrote is below. Some of it corresponds to me as well, but there's a few important differences.

·      David Boxer
David was the guy who knew it all from day one. Maybe it was because of the upbringing he got from his parents. Maybe it was just something innate. Whichever it was, David was smart. Very smart. Mensa sort of smart. And so, when he went to school, he was the kid who could already read, write, add numbers. The teachers didn’t know how to handle him; they were just a small public school. So they asked his parents about putting him in some of the classes – say, for example, reading and maths – that were a year or two above him. They were delighted, and immediately said yes.
However, those in David’s new class weren’t too happy about it, and they let him know. They didn’t use any physical violence – they didn’t want to get in trouble – but they made sure David got the message that he wasn’t wanted there. David took the hint and asked to be moved down again. He did extremely well in his first few years of schooling, but by the time he had gotten to high school, any excitement he had for school had left. It had ceased to be a challenge long ago. His parents could see what was happening, but they didn’t know what they could do; they didn’t have the money to send him to a private school, so they just hoped for the best.
But David’s performance in school plummeted. His teachers could see that he was talented, because every now and again, something slightly left field would come up and his attention would suddenly be gained, his interest piqued – only for it to disappear again just as quickly.
Many, David’s parents included, thought that he would probably drop out in year 10, given that he had so little interest in school. However, in year 9, he was given the opportunity to choose a computing subject, which he took an immediate liking to. He proceeded to regularly top the class in every exercise, and was learning at a pace faster than the teacher could teach him. He proceeded to find out much more information regarding computers online; this is also how he got his interest in hacking, though he never took it too seriously.
He resolved to take a Bachelors degree in Information Technology, which he also did well in, completing it with Distinction. Since then, he has continued to learn about technology from the internet, and has a solid interest in most aspects of electronics, including gaming.
A few other notes on David: from a young age, his mother also introduced him to the world of music; she played the guitar. David also gradually learned to play the guitar, and many other instruments as well, including the cello, violin, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, and keyboard – the keyboard becoming the one he played the most; many of the others he borrowed from his high school, and so it was difficult to continue playing after he had finished.
David also enjoys working, though usually finds it hard to spur himself to start – hence why he has not been very successful in keeping a job as yet. However, he has taken an interest in woodwork, and has recently taken to carving out a chess set, so that he would not have to buy one. He also frequents his local gym, and likes to keep his body in shape, and he regularly goes for runs and swims at the local pool. Hence, he is very happy when the Zap gives him a lot of opportunity to utilise this, as well as his knowledge.
As can go hand in hand with great intelligence, David also has great social ineptitude. He doesn’t have a girlfriend, and honestly doesn’t even know where to start with that sort of thing. The Zap halts any searching he may have commenced otherwise, as he becomes flooded with work.
His recent father’s passing has taken a lot more out of him than most would see. He was very close to his father, and finds it very difficult now he has gone. He feels that he must now be the strong foundation for the family, and particularly his two sisters, and so does his best to keep his emotions in check. The Zap puts this out of his mind for the moment, but it is still there.
Ideas for David:
-  He gets so swamped with work (fix-it stuff) that he needs to train a couple of other guys to be able to do some too.
-  This character, as is, does not have much potential to write black humour in, unless you start working with his father’s death. 
 Any comments would be muchly appreciated. And sorry for the fairly lengthy post.

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