Jim McClearahew is not an average “Jim”. You can tell he is battling his nearly schizophrenic impulses. Or maybe he is just checking out the woman that decided to eat at Subway instead of McDonalds. For me, I have to question Jim’s motives as I retrace his line of sight back to him, I finally notice that he has a purse with him. Glancing back at the woman ordering at Subway, it’s quite clear that of all people, Jim would be the last to ever get a chance with that woman. Obviously the purse is not hers. I conclude that the purse in question, is actually a man-purse. This leads me to believe that Jim is in a deep philosophical analysis of his sexuality. It becomes clear to me that he is staring at the woman in an attempt to discover why he does not find her exceedingly attractive.
As I let him continue contemplating his life without the fear of him matching my gaze, I begin to observe his clothes and notice that his shirt is not buttoned on the top two buttons. He must be Italian. The shirt which has no Italian vibes to it must have been given to him by his recently deceased aunt who was Irish and lived in the suburbs of New York.
Continuing to observe him I notice that he is wearing Crocs. You are going to have to trust me that I would not make this up since you cannot see it in the picture. Despite my deep efforts to continue teaching you (the reader) a lesson, I can’t fathom looking at his Crocs a moment longer. I apologize if you are one who wears them, but don’t let that stop you from learning the lesson from this.
If you know anything about the show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” than you know that it is all Improv — everything is made up on the spot. No rehearsing, no memorizing lines, purely provided to the audience the moment the idea enters the brain. Heres a definition of improv if you are sadly unfamiliar with this incredibly hilarious show.
Now you know about Improv and whether you realized it or not, you know how to use Improv to build characters. Whether you are in an improv group like me, or love to write (also like me), then being able to create characters for your skits and written works is extremely important. Let’s jump back to Jim.
I don’t know him if you didn’t catch that. I was just enjoying some Sbarro at the food court with my journal and while I was eating I picked out a person that was sitting alone. Did I do an alright job at building a short character background of him? Looking at the picture again, I have to point out that the little boy to his left in the red shirt is pointing and laughing at him for wearing crocs.
Next time you catch a snag in your writing or acting skills, go to a place similar to a food court where a lot of people go. It is best to go to a place that the majority of people are sitting down since you will have to study them for a little while. Bring a notebook and a pen and start creating background stories of people. You will quickly find that with enough practice you will start creating back ground stories for people as you walk down the street, or drive past someone in a car. I have always hated asking the question “I wonder what they do for a living”. Now I love asking myself the question, because I can always make up an answer.
Stay Positive and Focus On Improv-ment
Garth E. Beyer
LOOKING FOR A WINNER
I know you have what it takes, but does everyone else? Take a picture of someone in a similar setting like the one above and create a background story of them. Send it to me and I will choose the winner. The winner will get a full on creative writing/creative acting/creative life interview with me and have their submission posted with the interview on my blog and other social media outlets.
- No longer than one page long, double-spaced.
- Refrain from using vulgar language, readers are confronted with enough conflict on a day-to-day basis
- Shame on you if you use real names, unless of course their name is hilarious like Jacob Tinkletime.
- Really enjoy it, this is supposed to be a fun and creative exercise. Do NOT make it complicated for write with forced effort.
This is an ongoing process, you can submit once each month. I will be choosing a new winner at the end of each month.