Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why The Ruffians

Three days before we shoot episode 3, I thought I'd sit down and explain why I'm telling The Ruffians' story. But I'm not interested in releasing this information right away, so I'm post-dating this blog entry to be released on my 31st birthday.

Most people know me as a giant dork. That's the aura that surrounds me. It doesn't take long, though, to cut through the layers of Doctor Who and Superman to discover what makes me tick. The people who know me best know me as a left-leaning Christian who belongs to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church who has found his calling as a writer. Any time I sit down and write something, it comes from a place of deep moral responsibility to our fellow man and our Creator. Which is why, on the surface, The Ruffians has some people scratching their heads.

Very simply put, The Ruffians comes from the same place Remnants, Nighthawks, Berashet, and Martyrs came from. But while each of those had elements of hope and beauty intertwined with them, The Ruffians is my view of the world, my view of society, as it tries to distance itself from God.

Before we even get to the characters themselves, it's a show about hitmen -- people who are paid to kill other people. The hitman has been glamorized in a multitude of television shows and movies, but I couldn't think of a more perfect metaphor for the toxicity and selfishness of man.

My characterization starts with SOFIA TOWNSEND, as played by Rachel Komorowski. Sofia doesn't want any responsibility. She wants to show up, do her work, and go home. The less she knows, the less she can be held accountable for. In trying to compartmentalize her life, she seeks ways to excuse herself from the bigger picture.

ALEXANDER GREENE, as played by Corey Newmyer, is the post-modern man. He, like Sofia, doesn't want to be held accountable for his actions. He is beholden unto no-one but himself. But he has this nagging voice in the back of his head telling him that he's wrong, or that something in his life is wrong (personified by Tenika Dye). And he doesn't like that. He wants to silence that voice, so he labels it and mocks it, which allows him to distance himself. Doing this, however, creates a void in his life that he has to fill. He refuses to feel guilty for his actions, and so he places a higher premium on his friendships and his relationships. If he's going to feel guilt, it needs to be over something tangible and important to him, not something moral, metaphysical, and intangible. This will continue to haunt him for some time.

It's easy to call CHARLIE HAMMOND an idiot. That's very nearly how I play him. But he represents society's desire to live in (and only for) this moment. He quickly forgets yesterday (and the lessons learned) and he doesn't think or worry about tomorrow. He doesn't stop to wonder if what he's doing is going to harm him or his friends later. He's exceptionally short-sighted, which often makes him look uncaring. He's deeply emotional and has a fairly sanguine temperament. Every single minute of every single day is either the very best thing or the very worst thing that could possibly be happening. He lives as if there is no tomorrow, as if there are no consequences and when tomorrow rolls around and those consequences show up, he doesn't understand why these things are happening to him.

Rick Hardaway plays JACOB WALLACE. At one point I toyed with making him the personification of Atheism, a cruel and unforgiving creation that boasts freedom and free will, but as the story unfolded, I found him a far more compelling devil than anything else. He lets our "heroes" believe what they want, for it suits his purpose.

The other characters and the victims live in this same world. But less time was put into their being. They are intended to reflect, magnify, or contrast the mindsets and philosophies of Charlie, Alexander, and Sofia.

MARLENA, specifically, was created to illustrate the continuity of time and the consequence of actions. While Charlie lives his existential life, Marlena exists slightly above that. She's first introduced as an idea. We simply hear she exists. She exists before the show began. Then we see Charlie calling her. Then finally, he's reunited with her. Marlena unifies Charlie's existence and makes yesterday as important as today and tomorrow. His belief in her is the closest thing to a spiritual life Charlie has. Her existence makes "the sherpa" moot and vapid. It is (and will be) Marlena that is most directly effected by Charlie's short-sightedness. She's making the most of her life, but deep down, she knows that it's all for naught. Their victory over Jacob Wallace will be short-lived and temporary at best.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Except not really. I love conversations on these topics, so drop me a line or pull me aside. I'd love to hear what you think.

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