Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Chuck Training - Part 2

Out of Character

I feel like I know Chuck. He's a buddy of mine by now. He's a good guy who, despite his passionate longing for his "it's complicated" for three years, still hasn't slept with her... for numerous complicated reasons.

Chuck is not a player. He doesn't sleep around. He's a good and decent--albeit "modern"--guy who I'm waiting to see in bed with his true love. This is television, after all.

Over the last couple years, I know Chuck really likes girls but he doesn't go out and try to score any points. Instead, he's rather awkward and none too rushed with the whole intercourse thing. So when I see a girl come out of his bathroom in the morning, I immediately think, 'So what's the story? Did her car breakdown and he was nice enough to invite her in?'

Hannah, recently showered

Chuck and Hannah like each other. We've peeked in on them making out. She's a cute girl. But the idea that Chuck and Hannah are sleeping together is a little far-fetched. My mind just won't jump there. But as the show moves along with no mention of why Hannah was in Chuck's shower, the sinking feeling builds. I like Hannah, but I don't want Chuck sleeping with her. That's just lame. And it's completely out of character for Chuck.

It's so out of character the writer of this episode felt the need to include a line of dialog:

"We slept together last night..."

This is disappointing on several levels:

  1. Story: We don't want Chuck sleeping with anyone but Sarah.
  2. Writing: You shouldn't have to tell us something that important. That should be obvious.
  3. Character: This goes against who Chuck is. I can understand a few of the story elements they were trying to push with this, but it was the weakest element of this episode.

It doesn't happen often, but it's sad when I feel like I know a character better than the writer. So as you write, think about who your audience knows your character to be.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor


far from sorrow said...

Geez, I don't watch Chuck, but this is a great point. It's always so disappointing when characters aren't themselves, especially when it comes to morality. You think they would have at least explained the shift in his character a little more.

Luke Holzmann said...

Yeah, you'd think that. It's not that Chuck hasn't been interested in other girls, it's just that it came completely out of the blue in this case.