Tuesday, 5 January 2010

27 Days of Winter

Celebrity Big Brother started this week. Among the housemates are Nicola T (who she?), Basshunter (who he?) and Stephanie Beacham, that's her above with Marlon Brando. I love Big Brother; Celebrity, USA or Classic, I don't care. If they subtitled the fifty-odd foreign versions I would watch those too. I get the same feeling watching it as I do overhearing conversations and it is the best way I know to observe character.

There's a little rapper in there by the name of Lady Sovereign. I've heard of her but I doubt everyone has. I think she is insecure. I could be wrong of course, but that's the impression I get. She hasn't stood up and shouted 'Like me, please, like me' but her actions and subtext have led me to this conclusion. And as we are told over and over again, character is action. Show, don't tell.

It's hard to get a handle on 'show, don't tell' until you see it done well, or better yet if you take note when you see it in real life. Big Brother is perhaps as close to real life as we can get as writers, while remaining an observer and not a participant. On Big Brother nobody stands around discussing what makes them tick but nevertheless we quickly make a first impression and gradually a fuller picture emerges of each character without anyone 'telling' us anything. Breaking down the reasons for those impressions helps us to create better characters of our own.

Right now on live-feed Alex Reid is man-crushing Vinnie Jones who has seen it all before, and Stephanie Beacham is wearing a scarf to cover her neck and a fringe to cover her forehead. No wonder she looks so good for her age.

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