“Have I got a story for you!”
Story story story. Development Executives will tell you a good show is all about the story. “Story is everything. If you do not have a story, you do not have a show.”
And they’re right. However, you need a vessel to convey these stories to your audience. And those vessels are your characters.
The characters in your show are as important in getting your show made as the stories are. You have to have the right people telling the stories in your show. This can be the difference between having your show run for a season or having it become a piece of North American culture.
But before your characters become household names you need to sell them to the Production Company and Broadcasters. And the only way to do this is to know everything there is to know about them. The good things AND the bad things. What makes them interesting? What makes them controversial? What is their expertise?
Your characters have to pop. They should be bigger than life. And they do not need to be likeable to everyone. They’re unapologetic about what they do? Great!
Look at the biggest characters in the last few years: The swearing, smoking, drinking characters in The Deadliest Catch, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Teutel family from Orange County Chopper (have you ever seen a father/son relationship like that!?!).
These are not necessarily characters you would want your daughter to bring home for dinner but they make for great TV because they are out there!! They are living in a world you don’t get to see everyday and telling us the stories from that world.
So when you’re describing the characters in your show don’t be afraid of their edgy side. Embrace it. Encourage it. These are the colorful storytellers. These outrageous characters tell the stories the Broadcasters want to hear in a way most people can’t get away with.
Without these crazy characters living their stories on the screen, all you have for your show is words on a page. And that my friends, is called a book.