Nacho Rivera

Ignacio “Nacho” Rivera is from The Eccentrics.  Goofy and energetic, he’s proud of the fact that he’s unusual.  Nacho goes through life enjoying being himself and living outside the box.

Michelle and Marissa

Michelle Slojinski is a substitute teacher at SSCHS.  Shy and insecure, she is a talented artist, but a history of being ostracized and mental health problems stand in the way of reaching her dream of being an art teacher.  She tries to move forward with her life, but sometimes, she finds that her past will slow her down unless she can deal with it.

Marissa Nogales is from The Eccentrics.  A non-conformist and artist, she believes in eschewing conformity in every aspect of her life, from bizarre pieces of art in all forms, to sense of fashion.  For her, the only rule that matters is “Do what YOU like.”

Luna, Lucas, Lena, and Liam

Luna Santiago is the main character of Luna.  She is a kind-hearted girl, who though spoiled, is almost always nice to others and never means any harm.  Though she is rather accident prone

Lucas Aguilar is one of Luna’s friends.  A talented soccer player, he is sarcastic and always tells it like it.

Lena Johnson is from SSCHS, and is the princpal of the school.  Her struggle is leading the school in a fair manner, while dealing with her personal life, and her family.

Liam O’Guinness is Todd’s younger.  Arrogant and self-absorbed, he often falls into conflict with Todd, due to seemingly always having people on his side, no matter what.

Kelly Takahashi

Another character from Tweens, (cousin of Jack and Jace and sister of Jason, Jake) Kelly was one of the favorites that I had imagined.

She is a sweet girl who is kind to most people, though she’s not without flaws, in that she is ditzy and clumsy.  She often causes problem for her friends, but nonetheless is always tried her best to do the right thing.

Eventhough I lost interest in Tweens, I did use some elements of Kelly in other characters.  Riley Diamond is based on her personality, sweet ditzy, and engaging, but Riley is also far more weirder and has more quirks than Kelly does.  Also, I decided put some of Kelly’s clumsiness in the character of Luna Santiago, but on a far larger scale, making Kelly look graceful in comparison.

Isaac Aguilar

My apologies for posting this a day late.  I procrastinated and then forgot about it.

 

Issac Aguilar is one of Luna’s friends.  He is a nice guy who loves to have fun.  He is a “boy next door” type, and is loyal, above all.  He has a love-hate relationship with his older brother Lucas.  While they care deeply for each other, they struggle to get along, while playing on the same soccer team, often feeling the need to compete against each other.

Being a freshman on the junior varsity team, is hard for Isaac, as his teammates often don’t give him the respect he deserves and tend to be condescending to him.  This has made him feel isolated.  Luna does make attempts to help, though they, more often than not, make things worse.  Nonetheless, Issaac does try to live his life day to day, doing the best that he can do.

Hannah Harper

Hannah Harper is a supporting character from The Eccentrics.  She is Rod’s older sister.

Hannah is the type of person is always willing to lend a helping hand, even as she struggles with her own issues.  Hannah often acts as a “team mom” of sorts to Rod and his friends, but has difficulties in her own with relationships, which she tries to distract herself from by focusing on others.

 

Revised Characters for Luna

I asked about my planned show, Luna, a spinoff of Carol, Adrian, and Keisha, to see if the characters were stereotypes,  after one person on the Internet told me that they were (she was rather offended), I decided to make drastic changes.  I hope these changes make the characters more nuanced, respectable, and sympathetic.

CHARACTERS

LUNA SANTIAGO

Luna is 15. She is the most stylish and fashionable girl in her school. Luna has a reputation for causing bad luck wherever she goes.  She is rather clumsy, and despite her good intentions, she always causes problems for people She is for the most part feared and despised by her classmates and her community who are worried about her causing issues such as accidentally injuring them or destroying their property. Luna is not a bad person at all, but she just does not always know how to help others, and so sometimes, her attempts make things worse.

Luna does not get along with her parents because she has often causes trouble for them, due to her clumsiness.  She has humiliated them several times with her accidents such as spilling food on her businesswoman mother’s client, and causing him to get an allergic reaction.

She also has a poor reputation with her friends’ parents.  She once cooked dinner for her friends Lucas and Isaac and their parents; however, she was not a very good cook and she wound up giving them food poisoning, landing all of them in the hospital, and almost killing, their dad in the process.  Lucas and Isaac forgave her, but their parents did not.

Luna is unpopular at school and is a regular target of the two most popular girls in school, Alyssa Hernandez and Hazel Nowicki.  They used to be friends, but Luna accidentally killed Alyssa’s dog and Hazel’s cat.  They never forgave her for that, and spent much of their time turning the kids at school against her, by claiming that she did it on purpose.

Luna is even unpopular with the adults in her town.  For example, at school, she has caused several incidents that ended up hurting the schools reputation such as accidentally locking the principal in his office, preventing him from speaking at an assembly.

Nonetheless, despite constantly causing problems and feeling discouraged by her life, Luna always tries again to make things better.  She is never discouraged for long.

 

ALBERTO “AL” MELENDEZ

Al is one of Luna’s first cousins.  He has twin sister who is named Alberta, but who is usually called Allie.  Al is a film buff.  He always has been.  He started making short film at the age of three.  Much like his twin sister, he is perfectionist in his film pursuits, always giving them an almost obsessive attention to detail.

His best friend is Lucas Aguilar.  They are close because Al does not have brother, yet (His mother is expecting another set of twins, a boy and a girl, at the start of the show), and therefore they have a bond that is just like the one between brothers.

Al and Allie often argue with each other.  Allie will sometimes behave condescendingly to him because she is two minutes older than.  Nonetheless, like most siblings, they do love each other, and they will always be there for each other when they need each other the most.

ALBERTA “ALLIE” MELENDEZ

Allie, is another of Luna’s first cousins.  She is Al’s twin sister.  She has a type-A personality, and is very active in sports, other extra-curricular activities at school and throughout the community, and is one of the smartest kids in the school.  She is the opposite of Luna and a perfectionist.

However, sometimes, she is not successful due to Luna’s flaws.  For example, she had a paper due, but Luna accidentally destroyed her computer, and Allie failed the assignment since the teacher would not accept late papers.

Nonetheless, Allie is still close to Luna, and know that through everything, Luna does try her best.

RICARDO VILLANUEVA

Ricardo is perhaps Luna’s gay best friend, and shares her interests in things like fashion for instance.

Growing up, Ricardo had lots of struggles.  He was always feminine in behavior, close to his sister, hung out with girls instead of boys.  He didn’t get along with his parents, especially his father, who felt that his interests were inappropriate for boys.  Ricardo faced bullying in school which intensified in middle school.  It got so bad that he began ditching school to avoid bullies.  His parents found out and angrily confronted the schools about them not handling the bullying.  At this point, Ricardo’s parents began to slowly learn to accept him for who and how he is, and Ricardo’s self-confidence improved to the point that he can now stand up for himself and doesn’t care

 

LUCAS AGUILAR

Lucas is 15, and plays on the junior varsity soccer team.  He is known as the type of guy who tells it like it is.  He has a measure of being cynical and sarcastic in his personality, though he is still driven to achieve his goals.

When his younger brother Lucas began high school, and joined him on the junior varsity soccer team, there was some jealousy and minor rivalry between the two brothers.  Lucas felt jealous that in some way, Isaac had more skills than he did when he was 14.  Nonetheless, the two brothers remain supportive of each other no matter what

ISAAC AGUILAR

Isaac is 14, and is Lucas’s younger brother.  Though a freshman, he was good enough to be on the junior varsity soccer team.  Thought there was some initial conflict between the two brothers, due to jealousy on Lucas’s part, and a desire on Isaac’s part to live up to his brother’s skills.  Nonetheless, they always support each other, on and off the field.

Isaac is different from Lucas in that he more friendly and engaging than Lucas (not to say that Lucas has a bad personality).  He is a “boy next door” type of guy.  Though, somewhat socially awkward, he is always pleasant in personality.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Designated Heroes and Designated Villains

Today is TV Tropes Tuesday, and I will talk about two of my favorite tropes, which are the Designated Hero and the Designated Villain.  

Most stories have a hero and villain.  However, we’ve all seen or read or heard stories where the heroes are not very heroic, and the villains are not very villainous.  The heroes are meant to be sympathetic, but come across as unsympathetic, and possibly even actual villains; on the other hand, the villains might come across as sympathetic, and maybe even heroic, especially if they never do anything that is truly wrong.

In my attempts at developing stories, I have had trouble with this issue.  I’ve wanted to depict my characters doing bad things, but then I’m told that they sound too unlikable.  It’s hard to strike a balance, but I’ve always wanted to depict bad people doing bad things; I tend to find unlikable characters to be the most interesting.

For example, with my character Luna, I’ve intended for her to be an anti-hero trying to get through life while living in a town where she is completely and utterly despised by almost everyone; to distinguish from the designated hero, my intention is that she is still the hero of her story has at least generally good intentions, although she does some morally questionable things, but I’ve realized that some of the things I’ve imagined her doing go too far and would likely make her unlikable and unsympathetic.

I’ve thought of several ways to fix that issue.

I could tone down her bad behavior and try to make her more funny and sympathetic, instead of just an insufferable brat.

I could also depict her as receiving disproportionately unfair punishments; to expand on that I have created story lines where Luna received unfair punishments for lots of things.  For example, her story begins after she has spent the summer in Juvie after the cheer leading squad jumped her.  Even though, she was defending herself, she was charged and sentenced.  I also have Luna regularly being a victim of bullying and harassment, and the school staff does nothing about it, as they hate her.  Yet another story line focuses on Luna getting her first car, and then is arrested for driving ONE mile over the speed limit. Luna is selfish and spoiled, and she doesn’t always do right by her family and friends, but that does not justify being treated unfairly by the justice system or being ignored by her school when she is bullied and harassed.

This is my attempt to avoid making Luna into a designated hero.

Interestingly, I have also considered doing other things, like making Luna so unsympathetic, that the audience is rooting against her and is happy when she is justly punished at the end; this would make her a Villain Protagonist.

I’ve also imagined Luna being unfairly treated by someone, and her antagonist is portrayed as being in the right.  This is interesting because in a way Luna is a Villain Protagonist, and her opponent is a Hero Antagonist; however, the way in which I imagined would make them Designated Villain Protagonist and Designated Hero Antagonist  One story line involves Luna being reunited with someone whom she accidentally outed as gay to the entire school, leading to them dropping out to avoid being bullied.  This person decides to get revenge against Luna by framing her for saying derogatory things about the LGBT community.  When Luna proves her innocence, the person is called out harshly for their actions, but then Luna loses her support, when the others out what she did to the person. The message is that if someone outs you, you have the right to do whatever you want to destroy their life.  Not a good message.  An audience might not like that story, so I will try to make Luna more sympathetic, rather than expecting the audience to root against her.

Moving on, my show about teachers, I have imagined several major story lines where they do lots of bad things, like sabotaging each other, the principal public shaming her bad-behaving daughter, a teacher accidentally injuring a student and covering it up, two teachers destroying each others’ house, and all sorts of things.  Now, I’ve tried to make things not so harsh, and to include humor, but many of the characters could be regarded as designated heroes, and I’ve gotta do work to make them more sympathetic.  I’ve at least made a mean character nice to certain people and supportive of mental health issues and the LGBT community.

The next paragraph has spoilers.

To end this blog post, I will talk about an example of a designated hero that I have seen.  I enjoyed the Hulu original series East Los High, a teen drama which focuses on the students of a high school in the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of East Los Angeles.  One of the characters, Jessie, is dating a jock named Jacob.  When Jacob becomes close to Jessie’s cousin, Maya, Jessie becomes jealous and sleeps with her dance teacher (who seems to be about the same age as her), Cristian after spending lots of time alone with him.  Jessie shortly afterwards has sex with Jacob to avoid losing him to Maya.  Jessie had unprotected sex with Cristian (he failed at using the withdrawal method, which anyone who took comprehensive sex ed should and would know is an unreliable birth control method, and that many boys and men often can’t and don’t know exactly when they will reach orgasm and ejaculate, and may not withdraw in time, but I digress.), but Jacob used a condom when she had sex with him.  Jessie finds out that she is pregnant, and tells Jacob that he is the father, when Christian is actually the father.  This leads to Jacob foregoing a scholarship to play football for a college in Indiana, and at her mother’s insistence, he asks Jessie to marry him.  Leading up to the wedding, Jessie never expresses any guilt over lying to Jacob and causing him to give up his future to be a young father and husband.  Eventually as they are about to exchange vows, Jessie feels guilty, refuses to go through with the wedding, and pulls Jacob aside to tell him the truth.

What I noticed on the comments of the episodes is an expression of contempt for Jessie for her dishonesty, infidelity, and for causing Jacob to give up his future.  Yet, through it all, she does not express guilt until the last minute, and the show depicts her sympathetically.  While I personally don’t hate Jessie as a character, I can understand all the negative comments about her.  Perhaps, the show’s writers should have and could have depicted Jessie struggles with her guilt; it would have made her more sympathetic.

Characters for Carol, Adriana, and Keisha

When I was ten (almost eleven, possibly), I developed, in my head, an idea for a show about a group of eight, and later five (I was totally uninterested in three of them so I dropped them), pre-teen children going through all of the hilarity that comes with childhood.  I called it Tweens.  According to a definition I had read, the word tweens referred to people aged 8-14; they were pre-teens and young adolescents.  In my head,  I imagine the series spanning from third grade until the end of ninth grade or ages 8-14.  I then decided to conceive a sequel series.  It involved three girls who were antagonists of sorts of the Tweens.  The three girls, Carol, Adriana, and Keisha were the stars of their show, and I imagined their lives and them dealing with all of the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.  Eventually, I sort of forgot about Tweens, or rather rarely thought about them (Maybe I’ll go back to it one day.  Who knows?).  The new show if it were made could stand on its own even without Tweens.  Now I will tell you about the main characters of the show that I have imagined.

CHARACTERS

CAROL APHRODITE WOOD

Carol is 15.  She is an aspiring actress and longs for stardom.  Carol was born in Hollywood and from a distance witnessed the glamour of stardom.  When she was an infant she appeared in commercials.  Carol was also trained in ballet, tap dance, and jazz dance as well as being classically trained in singing.  Carol is a very optimistic and ambitious person, but at the same time she struggles to avoid being unrealistic in her goals.  Carol will often try to work hard to achieve something, but at the same time, there will be an obstacle in her way.  For example, Carol wants to appear in a professional stage play, but it conflicts with cheerleading and other activities she has.

ADRIANA BLANCA RODRIGUEZ

Adriana is 15 and the fourth of six kids.  She has a very cynical and sarcastic personality.  A hard worker, Adriana takes care of her business because no one else will.  She is the least favorite in her family.  Her parents frequently lavish all sorts of praise and attention o her sibling, Magdalena, Chuy, Javier, and Esperanza, all while neglecting her and treating her like she is unattractive and untalented.  The only exception in her household is her brother Luis.  Luis tends to be rather shy and timid; his family views him as being physically and emotionally weak, and is also the subject of neglect and ridicule from his parents albeit to a lesser extent than Adriana.  Despite her family situation, Adriana never lets his stop her from working towards her goals.  She is on the cheerleading team, she writes for the school newspaper, and dreams of becoming a respected journalist.

KEISHA ELIZABETH METCALFE

Keisha is 15.  Her best friends are Carol Wood and Adriana Rodriguez.  Like them they have been cheerleading since they were young girls.  Keisha is the realistic one of the group, as she lacks Carol’s over-optimism and Adriana’s over-cynicism.  She aspires to be a psychiatrist.  Her career goals were influenced by her mother.  Keisha’s mother gave birth to Keisha at age 16.  She was in love with Keisha’s dad, but he simply used her for sex.  When she became pregnant he matured for Keisha’s sake, but Keisha’s mom never forgave him for that and has since then had a string of unsuccessful relationships.  Keisha is aware that her mother is unhappy, and she seeks to help people like her mother.  Keisha does have a good relationship with her dad, stepmother and two half-siblings.

Keisha’s role, as it were, in the group, is a combination of being a “team mom” and someone who tries to bring Carol down to earth and encourage Adriana to be less cynical.

Ode to TV Tropes

One of my absolute favorite websites on the Internet is TV Tropes.  TV Tropes, whose full name is Television Tropes and Idioms, is a wiki that is devoted to cataloging various types of narrative devices, or tropes as they call them.  Despite its name, it not devoted solely to tropes from TV; it covers tropes from literature, film, music, comic books, video games legends, folklore, mythology, religion, the Internet and real life.

The site first began as a collection of tropes from the popular series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in 2004.  In the nine years since, TV Tropes expand tremendously to all types of media.

I first began using the site regularly in about late 2010.  I was so entranced by it.  There was so much information on various shows and movies that I had never found anywhere else; it most certainly was not on Wikipedia (which TV Tropes calls “The Other Wiki”).  It was also a good place to learn about narrative tropes and help aid writers in developing plot occurrences and characters.  I am happy that it helped give me direction in the development of one of my characters, Riley Diamond I used the trope called Cloudcuckoolander, which denotes a character who is odd and seemingly out of touch with reality.  I’ve since used the site to help develop other tropes in my other ideas.

I cannot say enough good things about it.  However, I will point out that due to the fact that it is a wiki, and therefore, can be edited by anybody, it is not suitable for academic research for essays and the like, just like Wikipedia.  Not to mention, it has very few sources, and therefore, it has almost no verification of the information listed.  However, much of the information can be confirmed by viewing or reading the media discussed.

However, the main strength of TV Tropes is its community of lovers of all type of media and wealth of perspectives.

I plan on devoting several future posts to various tropes listed on TV Tropes, but for now, I will briefly discuss a few of my favorite entries.

Your Mileage May Vary or YMMV

This focuses on tropes that are subjective.  They may involve differences of opinions on characters such as whether a character is unlikable or whether a plot element is weak or strong.

Designated Heroes and Designated Villains

These are YMMV tropes.  They refer to characters who are intended by the writers to be heroes or villains but who are perceived as unlikable or even villainous in the cases of designated heroes or likable, sympathetic, and even heroic in the cases of designated villains.  This often happens because writers do not realize that they are making their heroes unlikable or their villains likable.

Cloudcukoolander

As mentioned above, this a character who does odd things, and who seems to have his or her head in the clouds, so to speak.

Alpha Bitch

This character is mean girl of the school.  She does everything to assert her popularity and make the lives of the so-called unpopular kids a living hell.

What an Idiot

Another YMMV trope, this refers to characters who something that causes the audience or reader to think or say “What an Idiot.”  Many of examples listed on the site are structures as follows.

Situation

You’d Expect:

Instead:

Non Singing Voice

This refers to a phenomena that has mostly died out in musical films where if the actors did not have suitable singing voices, either in general or for the material at hand, then professional singer would record their musical numbers, and it is the singer’s voice, not the actor’s voice, heard during the musical numbers.  Occasionally, as in the film versions of the musicals West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady, certain actors sang their songs only to have them re-recorded by more skilled skilled singers.  This has also happened in various animated musical films of the 1990s, particularly those done by Disney.