Screenwriting : What makes a badass? by R J. Filsell

R J. Filsell

What makes a badass?

Hi folks, Okay, some advice please; Completed my first draft. It's a multicultural London gang story; Everyone chasing the mcguffin through this criminal underworld. I've given it to a few close friends to read. They like the story and think it plays well. Some minor dialogue changes needed. But, I have conflicting advice on my badass character - on the one hand, one of my readers says they like that he's the chatty approachable type as it's fresh and new and adds something to him being the kind of guy who can take everyone in the room, but then another says no, he talks too much. I need scale back his dialogue. Make his actions do the talking. So, which advice do I take? Does a badass HAVE to be the strong silent type? Can his verbalising destroy his mystery? I'm starting the second draft this weekend. All advice welcome

Melissa Butler

If I were you I'd try both, they may both be right. I have received conflicting advice before and most of the time it is because of preference. But there are times when both have merit. So to see with is right (when my gut doesn't tell me right away) I do a rewrite of a couple of scenes to see which works best and more often than not it is an amalgamation of both. I hope that helps.

Pierre Langenegger

How many people have provided feedback and what is the majority opinion? I don't think anyone can answer your question without reading your script.

R J. Filsell

Thanks guys. Only four people have read, Pierre. To made no comment about individual characters but two provide the quandary (these are just friends reading, not writers). I'll try Melissa's idea first, then Coreetta's... Cheers again...

Melissa Butler

Hello R.J., before you make any major changes I'd get at least 2 writers to take a look at it.

Pierre Langenegger

I agree with Melissa, I wouldn't be changing the script based on the feedback you've received so far.

Pierre Langenegger

And I'd be looking for feedback from more than two writers. The more the better.

R J. Filsell

But everyone wants paying to do so and I'm a man of limited means! :)

R J. Filsell

Any of you guys up for a read?

Pierre Langenegger

Sorry but I've also stopped giving free feature reads but there are plenty of sites where you can get free peer feedback, try Zoetrope.com, you have to read some scripts first but that's actually beneficial, or you may get some reads here.

R J. Filsell

Hey Pierre, thanks. I will try it out. cheers for the advice, greatly appreciated.

Pierre Langenegger

No probs. I'd be happy to look at the first 10 pages for you or answer any questions but notes for a feature length are a different deal.

Melissa Butler

Also you can try going to a meetup for writers or a Facebook group a lot of people on there are willing to do trades feedback for feedback.

Aray Brown

There's a screenwriting group on Facebook created by Dan Guardino and Mariano Gemignani from Stage 32. If you have an fb account, it's called the Screenwriter's den. You can also add me as a friend and i'll add you as a member. My name's the same on facebook

R J. Filsell

Thanks Array, I truly appreciate it. Have added you on Facebook!

Bill Costantini

I shot a man in Reeeee-no....just to watch hiii-iiiiim die........that's a bad-ass!

Matthew Jackett

Personally, I say it depends on how you interpret your character and how well you can convey that to your audience. There are many different types of "badass", and by the time everybody in the world reaches a certain level of self-confidence, whether complemented by a good level of maturity (or not), we feel we fit that mold. Problem is, as previously stated, we all have a different definition on what it takes to be "Bad Ass". The usual characterizing traits associated are strength, toughness, persistence, stoicism, courage, self-sufficiency, independence, having no emotional ties, a certain talent that blows everyone away, etc.... I believe that somebody can be chatty and badass, and maintain a level of intrigue and mystery, for instance he could be using his talkative persona as a "mask" of sorts to hide his true nature or his dark past, lots of people do that. On the other hand, maybe he doesn't even NEED to have any mystery to him to be a badass, he could be an open book, keep his heart on his sleeve, telling the whole world that he can take whatever they can throw at him to try and manipulate his mental or emotional weaknesses. Long story short, if you ever encountered this guy, would YOU call him a badass? If you can and other people are still having a hard time seeing it, it's your job as an artist to show them (without insulting their creative intelligence, or lack thereof)

Gabriel Perez

For a character to be badass depends on the situation it is in. Also a simple way to make a character strong is how they solve a problem or interact with someone trying to intimidate them. Many characters I love are simply clever or are a crucial part of something. An example is Felicity Smokes from Arrow. She is not physically amazing, but with out her brain the show makes no sense. How could 1 person not only be strong, but also know how to program basically everything.

Bill Costantini

Who is the man, who would risk his neck for his brother man.....that's a bad-ass!

Mark Mccoy

Anybody can be a badass. Like my dad

Erik Grossman

Samuel L. Jackson's character in PULP FICTION is a badass and he talks non-stop. It's not what they say that matters, it's what they do - what they say just adds a bit of a punch. Jubal in the FIREFLY episode OBJECTS IN SPACE says scary things, funny things, crazy things, but he's a badass because of what he does and how he does it. All badass characters do it in the same way: the way you weren't expecting, and the way you wouldn't know how to deal with if it were happening to you IRL. That's what makes a badass - the kind of character who gives you chills and makes you really, really curious as to what he's gonna say next.

Christian Pius

Yeah Erik. Super true. A bad ass doesn't have to be sinister or dark in their character. They can be blabber mouths, low self esteemed...You re God RJ . Create them the way you like. Evil is something of the inside...but you must make your bad guy human as possible. There are reasons for evil.

Bill Costantini

I walk 47 miles of barb wire....I use a cobra snake for a necktie....I got a brand new house on the roadside....made from rattlesnake hide.....THAT'S a bad ass!

Michael L. Burris

Study fast and furious collection.

William Martell

The inability to poop... Oh, I think I misunderstood the questions.

Bikash Biswas

Depends if the character is believable or not. Check if the character created from the core up to the present day he/she is living. Doesn't matter if he speaks a lot or not! know the character... that's it I hope.

Dan Guardino

Hemorrhoids.

Aray Brown

Machete

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

No matter how talkative or silent a character may be, I think there are two important aspects to a bad ass. When a bad ass character is introduced. 1 - A bad ass virulently talks back in a hip or clever way. 2 - Early in the story a bad ass is ahead of the game, ahead of those around him/her in planning and execution, in knowing what's going on and what to do about it. (Of course, as problems escalate later in the story, the bad ass may get off guard and have to adjust, etc. Otherwise, you would not have a story.) David Street mentioned Jason Statham. I'd use Statham's character's introduction from The Tranporter as an example. Watch the first 10 minutes of the movie or so. Interestingly, we don't see Statham's well known skills as a fighter. What we do see is that Statham has out-thought everyone and so is in control of the situation and enforces that control ruthlessly. That sets up the 'believeability' of everything we learn about his character later.

Bill Costantini

Jason Statham is easily the Hardest Working Bad-Ass in Cinema Today The dude has been in like 40 films since 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He works like Chev Cheliios. He is certainly one of the best!

Bill Costantini

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley was the ultimate bad-ass, too. She has played a lot of bad asses - not nasty like Miranda, but a lot of her characters have had bad-ass qualities. Ultimately....what makes a bad-ass is the story first and then the actual film, right? Conceptualization...writing execution.... directing.....acting....it's all one perfect bad-ass soup. But it all starts with the story.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Bill. I like your example, Miranda Priestly. Sometimes I think people confuse action/violence with good high intensity conflict but she is definitely BA without action/violence.

William Martell

BILLY JACK talks a helluva lot before he kicks someone's ass. Question is: was this comment really about how much the character speaks, or about how little action they have?

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