Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Character Synopsis

The Hero, Papa
Sixteen-year-old Papa was believed to be orphaned in the Haitian earthquake, although found at a crossroads in a dense wood far from the devastation. Papa has lived a carefree life, and was always attuned with his surroundings. He was of medium height with a physically strong build owing to his athletic pursuits. However, his new life in Belmont Abbey, England, has forced him to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings, though not successfully, making no friends, human that is, and alienating himself further from his tutors with talk of ghost spotting and supernatural activity. He believes his hair is sacred, not permitting the Abbey’s barber to touch it, while personally maintaining an almost round mini-afro. When Papa was found he had few personal belongings, so he has had to rummage through the lost and found property at Belmont in order to clothe himself. He attired himself donning an unsuitable match of clothes: a long white cloak with schoolboy shorts and a plain T-shirt; shoes were an elusive luxury. The only item that Papa could call his own was a pendant of an axe, which hung in a chain clasped around his neck. The axe is enchanted and it along with his many supernatural abilities (none so prominent than the gift of sight, which gives him the power to see ghosts and into the world of spirit) allowed him to become a ghost-hunter.
(Figure based on Disney’s lead character in Tarzan)

Papa’s axe, Legba was a mystery to him, but he was told that it was a gift bestowed to him by his parents. Legba, although miniature in size and able to be worn around his neck, would grow to a formidable size when Papa whistled a special tune. Once enlarged Legba could communicate with Papa, able to answer any question put to him, usually after he had been fed. Legba had a huge appetite and loved sweat things, but what he loved the most was to eat lost souls and one day he promised to eat Fatso Friar. Legba, when wielded could discharge incalculable levels of lightening; however, only Papa could command him and he would shrink back to his normal size when handled by any other. 

The Sidekick, Fatso Friar
Fatso was a ghost living in Belmont Abbey, who, during his life in the then Catholic stronghold of the Tudors, was a Friar. A novice in training, Fatso lived to the age of sixteen until a falling wall crushed him during his prayers, trapping him within the confines of the Abbey while the other friars made their way on to the afterlife. Fatso, although a competent Friar was still only a novice whose unfinished training hindered him from completing his journey to the afterlife. Fatso was his nickname; his real name he had forgotten as no one used it when he was alive, and now that he was dead and still in the world of the living, no one would use it ever again. Short and round best describes him, his attire a brown robe held together with a rope, with brown Birkenstock-like sandals on his feet and round spectacles covering his eyes. Although sixteen and able to grow a full head of hair, Fatso always wore it shaven and this appearance continued after his death. Fatso’s ghostly existence is a reflection of his existence in the living world - oppressed. Constantly bullied by other ghosts and phantoms bigger and more powerful than he, his only saving grace is his ability to play the fool and wriggle his way out of difficult circumstances. As a loner he yearns for friendship, whether of the living or dead. 
(Figure based on Disney’s Friar in Robin Hood)  

The Bishop Richelieu
Known only as, The Bishop Richelieu, this tall slender man commands authority with his sharp features in a pale complexion but with lifeless eyes. Born, raised and educated at Belmont Abbey, The Bishop is very proud of his roots, and will not tolerate any break from tradition. As you have gathered The Bishop hates change, especially when change comes in the form of a new face, Papa. Nevertheless, in the spirit of charity the Bishop tries to maintain a facade of acceptance towards the young Haitian. His hypocrisy has taken a toll on the Bishop, who is no longer able to constrain his hatred, overwhelming him and poisoning the other staff and pupils against Papa. His hatred has permeated far into the spirit world, thus converting innocent spirits to his dark will, pitting them against that which initiated his blind hate, Papa. Draped in robes of black and red with a high pointed traditional ceremonial hat that hides a third eye, he carries a staff through which to wield his power. As the darkness overwhelms him, The Bishop acquires an uncanny ability to use malevolent powers, and along with his third eye, which also can see ghosts, he poses a dire threat to benevolent beings and people.   
(Figure based on Cardinal Richelieu)
Gorgamel was the ancestral staff of power, which was handed down from one Richelieu to another. The head of the staff resembled a hooded cobra with gems for eyes that could bewitch the strongest of wills. The Fire of Gorgamel was the essence of the staff’s power and along with its ability to control any flame, it was also able to project fire from the cobra’s open mouth. Much like Papa’s, Legba, Gorgamel could talk, and always reminded Richelieu of his proud and distinguished lineage, carefully caressing his fragile pride.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, there is some work to be done on this.

    Firstly, always understand and follow the brief. Your genre mash up is High School Ghost Hunters.
    The high school genre is based on traditional american high school tropes, such as the Jock, popular Girl/Cheerleader, the nerd/geek, the emo/outcast and possibly surfer dude/drop out. Scooby doo, although not actually set in a high school, absolutely conforms to all the tropes of high School ghost hunting, and should be used as inspiration here. It is not essential for your characters to be american though - you can see such character types in harry potter.

    Secondly, avoid too many specific details regarding recent history or geography. You want the series to be generic, rather than tied to a specific event, or location. Also I think you have a very specific set up here which is a little convoluted, and can be simplified.

    Its obvious from your Hiatian hero, and the names Papa and Legba, that you have been influenced by Hiatian Vodou. I think, rather than names alone, you should think about going full ahead with this theme. Its dripping with symbolism and imagery. You hero could be a high school student in New Orleans, who has been given the power to see ghosts - possible from finding an artifact of Papa Legba.
    Your villain could be the principal of the high school, who may also be an incarnation of baron samedi, or represent dark magics.

    Thirdly, avoid using existing characters or names. Essentially you have based your three archetypes on existing characters from 3 very different sources. Its why your story looks like several ideas crow-barred together to make the characters work. What you actually need to do is create your story, and the characters will emerge from it organically, as natural parts of it.