Character Development Example for Script Writing
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Published: Thu, 12 Oct 2017
- Andrew Lötter
She is a scholar aged 14 during the film, in grade 8 at St. John’s High School, She was born in St. George’s Hospital in Port Elizabeth and raised in Pupaville, Eastern Cape, South Africa. She is English South African from both sides, but knows nothing of her roots, except vague stories her mother would tell her from her maternal heritage. Ezraette’s home has always been on Job’s Well Done farm. In the year when she was six years old, and again when she was nine years old, her father, Job Luthor, physically abused her mother, Harmony Smith, when he was still an alcoholic. This caused Ezraette to distrust male figures. Her father was not taken away from her but rather simply rehabilitated at the local church hostel each time. She has always generally seen him more as an acquaintance than a father. It was only from grade 7 until the middle of act one in the film, that she saw him as a casual friend, when he would take her on fast rides on his motorcycle. Each time he physically abused her mother, though, the relationship had lost a little more affection, until she simply acknowledged him. Each time he hit her mother, she would try to hit him, which never had much effect.
Throughout her life, she has been able to talk to animals, and in fact has always preferred their company over that of people. This of course led to school children teasing her. She was never beaten up though, because she had always had a fierce rage that would cause her to topple any child if they hurt her. Her school and pre-school teachers often asked her to help them with handing out tests, cleaning the board, carrying boxes, etc. because she is usually quite gentle and curious, but also because they want her to get away from playing too much with animals and rather act human. This has caused her to seem like a teacher’s pet, increasing the teasing and decreasing the likelihood of being physically abused. However, this caused her to be isolated on the playground, and although she could occasionally go to a classroom to help a teacher during break, the teachers allowed it as an exception and not a rule.
She was sent by her parents to go to the Prevenient Grace Methodist Church, but found it boring at Sunday school and tended to talk to the few ants in the building. Most of the children teased her there too. In the two years when her father was physically abusive to her mother, she found that Thomas van der Berg would suddenly spend time with her, per Saul van der Berg’s instructions, and they would start building a deep friendship, but once her situation at the time improved, he would spend more time with other boys and only be civil to her.
Her and her mother have a loving relationship and she loves to hear stories around the hearth fire of her adventures in Port Elizabeth. Her mother has never found her behaviour strange, but had to discipline her in how to act more civilised. Her mother was more helpful in the realm of school work, helping Ezraette to pass mathematics, Afrikaans and English, with which she struggled dearly. Ezraette likes to play sport, and is in the school tennis team. Her only political belief is that tariffs in South Africa should be strengthened, but this is only because her father is a farmer, and is not a very sophisticated belief on her part. Her family does not eat meat as per her mother’s instructions.
She secretly wants to make a human friend, but predominantly wants animals to be treated with the same respect as humans. She does not fear physical conflict in terms of herself and another, but hates seeing others abused, and is often seen as the ‘superhero’ on the playground when she beats up bullies. She also hates seeing dead animals and becomes increasingly depressed when animal bodies suddenly appear in the months before the start of the film. She also hates seeing animals abused, of course. Academically, she has never failed a school year. She is highly intelligent when it comes to physiological, zoological and botanical knowledge, but has some difficulty when dealing with abstract concepts. Thus is why she tends to ask the teachers after class to help explain certain mathematical and grammatical terms. She has often expressed to her mother how since grade 5, Ezraette has occasionally seen a black cat near the mealie field. She does not fear it but rather plays with it. Her mother does not find this strange.
Ezraette has to control her temper when she smells children eating meat. In fact, when she can’t control her rage anymore, she must leave the room or general area. She has a dream of one day becoming a zoologist, specialising in horses. She finds it difficult to approach children her own age for conversation, and sometimes asks a teacher to speak to a learner on her behalf. Sometimes she manages to do the talking herself. Occasionally, she will have an intense craving for liquorice, which she will eventually abandon, then start up again. The only verse in the Bible which she actually remembers off by heart is Isaiah 11: 6-9, which she learnt in grade 6. In grade 7, she had a recurring dream every night from middle June to early July that this biblical scene is spoilt by the black cat viciously killing every creature in the scene and being swallowed up by the little child, which is Ezraette.
- Height and weight: 155 cm tall and 49 kg heavy
- Appearance, attractiveness, complexion: alert and often leaning forward, very welcoming face, fairly attractive, freckles on her face and body, slightly tanned white skin
- Clothing: likes wearing green, flowy clothes, like skirts
- Brawn or physique: lean but powerful, athletic build
- Hair and eyes, defects or scars: light brown semi curly neck base length hair, wide brown eyes, no defects
- Health: good health
- Strength, athletic ability, physical skills: strong and fast, can play sports needing long-term stamina, prefers sports with lots of running
- Voice quality: Slightly high pitch, sharp but inviting voice
She believes in God but is not affiliated with any particular religion, because her mother taught her about other religions, and so she understands moral relativism in that sense. She does pray though and uses the term ‘God’. She expects all humans to be good, which often creates disappointment. She believes in the sanctity of nature but is not as distraught about human death as animal death. All suffering is appalling to her, though. She does not believe in destiny, but rather in vastly distant connections in the universe. She does not eat meat, but does not mind eggs or milk. She does not believe in leaving a matter for later but rather resolves an issue immediately. She is a feminist, but would not call herself one. She believes in fair play and is kind to everyone initially. She does not respect institutional structures. At the end, she is compassionate enough and forgiving towards her father. She is painfully honest but will first listen to the other’s viewpoint before making a final judgement.
Occupation: Owner of Job’s Well Done farm, pays workers poorly and makes offensive personal remarks
Upbringing: Born and raised in Uitenhage, father was a construction worker until a head injury caused him to go on welfare, while mother was housewife, who got cancer and died when he was 16. After years of being seen and seeing himself as a failure in school by students and teachers alike, he left home and joined a biker gang of thieves. He killed the farming family who used to own Job’s Well Done and draws energy from their tortured souls, using black magic he learnt from one of the bikers. He obviously did not finish school. He is now 40 years old.
Present home life: he spends most of his day farming or riding his motorcycle and at night pretends to enjoy Harmony telling stories around the camp fire. He tries to make up for his verbal abuse towards her for keeping her maiden name after their marriage and also because she refuses for them to eat meat. This he allowed in order to have a reason to be abusive. He tries to spend quality time with Ezraette.
Social status: seen as a loner by the community, some suspect him of killing the previous farming family, but most believe him that they moved to go and work in Stellenbosch. Pastor Saul sells Job’s mealies to hospitals and Job enjoys mocking pastor Paul. He only barely interacts with the community during church. He believes foreign exchange tariffs should be raised.
His actual goal is to fight off his demonic urge and return to normal before becoming psychotic. Thus he spends time with Ezraette hoping for her to save him. He often spends time in an empty shed trying to absorb and overpower Pitch Instinct, the cat djinn who tortures the dead farmer souls.
He fears confronting both his father’s failure and his own terrible lifestyle. He is chauvinistic and manipulative. He is psychologically astute but not sympathetic. He is not naturally a hard worker but learnt to be one through farming. When he feels especially low, he cuts himself. Every few years, he has an alcoholic phase and must eventually dry out, usually with smoking as a substitute.
- Height and weight: 220 cm tall and 105 kg heavy
- Appearance, attractiveness, complexion: broodingly handsome, often with a cocky smile, thin lips, some cuts on his face form youthful bar fights, tanned white skin
- Clothing: wears black leather clothes, even while farming
- Brawn or physique: strong muscles from strenuous labour
- Hair and eyes, defects or scars: shaven head, left eye black, right eye grey
- Health: good health, except older face, violent coughing and smoker’s teeth
- Strength, athletic ability, physical skills: very powerful, can move quite fast because of strength and height, but not for long before wheezing, often jerky movement
- Voice quality: very base voice modulates from gritty to clear
Job is Christian, but not forgiving and believes in survival of the fittest. He has no respect for animals. He has a surface belief that people are unreliable and only useful for sadistic entertainment, yet actually respects human potential for success. Thus he is selfish and even kills a dog in front of his daughter for pleasure. He is spiteful and cannot be trusted to be compassionate towards anyone when it really matters.
Born in Port Elizabeth to Christian family who did not accept her being psychic and made her feel demonically possessed. Ran away and married Job. Housewife and farmer at Job’s Well Done farm. Tries to make friends at church and with other parents at school, who do not know her power. She is only marginally successful because of her husband and daughter’s foul reputations, and also because of her veganism and maintained maiden name. Politically, she is an anarchist. Her husband verbally and rarely physically abuses her, at which point she phones the police. She tries not to retaliate at his words because he enjoys hearing her get upset. She married him because he initially seemed kind and intelligent. She is 30 years old. Ethnically, she is English South African.
She has a deeply rooted fear that her psychic power is actually a demonic curse. Her pet peeves are pet names and chauvinism. Her surface ambition is to become a respectable member of the community. Her real ambition is to accept her psychic power as perfectly natural. She has a slight persecution complex, constantly worried that someone may find out about her power. Only Job and Ezraette know about these powers. Her powers entail vague visions of the future and seeing spirits, including Pitch Instinct. She enjoys telling stories of when she was young and carefree and silly animal stories she experienced as a child. She is Christian because she loves reading the Gospels, but does not believe anyone goes to hell.
- Height and weight: 180 cm tall and 78 kg heavy
- Appearance, attractiveness, complexion: quite attractive, upright posture, inviting but slightly amused expression, quite pale and freckled
- Clothing: wears patchy clothing
- Brawn or physique: fairly muscular, from farm work
- Hair and eyes, defects or scars: reddish brown hair, usually made in three shoulder blade long braids
- Health: good health
- Strength, athletic ability, physical skills: not very physically active, but theoretically fairly swift, but not too powerful
- Voice quality: alto voice, modulates mainly between ironic and morose
She is reliable, compassionate and trusting to a degree. She would do anything to protect her daughter, even maim her own husband. She is not a hard worker but her empathy is quite potent. He has the capacity to break society’s morals and withstand long periods of abuse in order to provide and protect her daughter. Harmony thinks she does not have the courage to express herself, but in the end is brave enough to stand up for zraette’s freedom to choose the farm’s purpose. She would even absorb a djinn to save her daughter.
Thomas Van Der Berg
Thomas was born in Pupaville and is aged 13 during the film. He is a Grade 7 scholar at St John’s High School in the same town. He lives in 24 Retief Road, Pupaville, with his father, pastor Saul Van Der Berg. Because his father was first a social worker and then a pastor, the other children, whose fathers were farmers, would initially bully him, but in later years, encourage bullying in him. His sense of belonging is thus tied up to the level of pain he can inflict on others. Thomas has been in love with Ezraette since he had met her, but because she kept beating him up when he would bully people, he would only ever admire her from a distance and never talk to her. During the years when pastor Saul sent Thomas to make a connection with Ezraette during her father’s drunken phases, Thomas would stop bullying people and relish in conversation with her.
At school, his teachers admire his intellect and his willingness to give his all to his studies as well as sport. His mother died of cancer a few months before the film. He has a mixture of admiration for his father’s kind heart towards people as a social worker, and resentment of his father. This is because his father made a vow to never act in a way that implies God does not have a divine plan for all, after a friend of Saul’s died and only Saul and his wife Sonja could look after the 3 year old Thomas. Saul is sterile and Sonja had cheated on him previously. Thomas’ adoption was a gift that saved their marriage. The vow that Saul made resulted in Saul ending their life and health insurance. Over the years that followed, Thomas had many bouts of sickness which caused him to grow smaller than most of his age.
Thomas spends his time playing soccer, rugby and tennis. He is in the rugby team. He has many sport acquaintances, who all admire his superb soccer-playing ability, but no real friend except for Ezraette. He spends his time at home studying the Bible with his father. They do not watch television in their townhouse, but only listen to radio. He is Afrikaans in ethnicity, centre right wing in politics and Methodist in religion with his father as pastor of Prevenient Grace Methodist Church.
He has a fear of not being accepted by his bully gang as masculine. He also has a deep seated fear of being bullied again. His lack of faith causes him to fear being destroyed by the God that could have killed him with sickness. He has a prejudice towards anything that is not seen as masculine, so he finds Ezraette’s vegetarianism quite appalling as it seems too feminine for him. He has a pet peeve of physical weakness and historical inaccuracies. He has a superstition of not being able to touch pink things or girls’ clothes because he believes that the more feminine something is, the more likely it is to be destroyed. His surface desire is to become a professional soccer player, but after he meets Ezraette, he wishes to play a team sport with or against her and for them to be a couple. His genuine need in life is to be full of faith and to overcome his inferiority complex for being initially undergrown. Thomas enjoys history, the Old Testament, military subjects and regular, rigorous exercise. He has an excellent memory and sense aptitude for sport tactics. Thomas gets very good marks at school because of these traits. An occasionally bad temper and a generally cocky disposition accompany his lack of physical addictions except for exercise.
Height & Weight: 140 cm in height, 60 km in weight
Appearance, Hair, Eyes, Defects or scars: severe yet arrogant expression, very muscular and upright posture, military cut red hair, blue eyes, slightly broken nose
Clothing: tends to wear camouflage, golf shirts and sports-themed clothes with numbers on them, always with sneakers
Health: often has the cold, so he sneezes occasionally, though he still plays sport despite this
Strength, Physical skills, Fitness: brilliant athlete in agility, speed, stamina, strength but not eye coordination
Attractiveness, Complexion: tanned white skin, attractive in a rugged and orderly military way
Voice quality: low tenor voice but a mockingly knowing manner and slowly deliberate pace
Thomas believes in God, but believes that God cannot be trusted to do things for the good of humanity; therefore Thomas does not expect either himself or others to do anything purely for the greater good. Deep down, he seeks compassion but believes it out of reach and thus he has very little faith. He will lie, hurt and mock anyone to uphold his image of masculinity. He will not keep a secret because the subtlety of another’s problems are too delicate for him to appreciate. He works very hard at school because he equates this with masculinity. When a decision is to be made, he will respect a man’s behaviour but hardly take anything a woman says seriously. He is selfish and even resorted to slicing at Harmony to gain faith.
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