Too Dark Try Humor


Sam Ax and Mike
Sam Ax(Bruce Campbell) Michael Westen(Jerry Donovan), obviously someone has brought Mike some yogurt.

About a year ago about Third Eye I received some feedback.  It was constructive criticism and I have heeded some of it.  Now it wasn’t that the person didn’t like the idea.  They loved the idea, they were riveted.  What they wanted me to do was tone Drake’s wise cracks.  I tried doing that, but I found it hamstrung Drake’s character.  He’s a cynical man, who has been betrayed by the Government, his wife and his best friend.  On top of that, he’s had to live with the idea that he was an orphan.  The thought of his parents either not wanting him  and leaving him all alone in the world has made it hard on him.  In essence, Drake’s had very little hope and happiness in his life and all that pain would turn any man cynical.  His wisecracks are his defense mechanism, because he doesn’t want anyone to get too close to him.
Whenever I write something too dark,  I try to lighten things up a half notch.  I always find that this breaks the tension.  Your audience is on a roller coaster ride, of suspense, action and adventure.  Give them a breather once in a while and allow them to come up for air.   One of my favorite scenes in Raiders(We’ve all seen this.)is while trying to save Marian, Indie is confronted with a Samaria Master.  He wields his sword , performing all kinds of tricks in an effort to intimidate Indie.  Indie watches for a moment, but all he can is just get on with it.  So he pulls out his gun and shoots him.  It’s Indies way of saying “Don’t you know better than to bring a knife to a gun fight?”  Now imagine if that one moment was not in that scene.  The audience would be dizzy watching Indie search for Marian all over the Cairo streets.  That one moment broke the tension with humor and everyone in the movie theater loved it.

indie shoots the guy with the saber
Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The Samaria Master scene.

After much thought, I decided that the idea of a telekinetic Private Eye was heavy enough, I needed to find some way of breaking that tension.  Drake needed it to play.  The character was begging me.  “Hey kid, listen, the wisecracks, you have to let me keep the wisecracks, that’s I am.”
Most of the humor doesn’t necessarily come from Drake.  The wisecracks come from the situations and the people he surrounds himself with.
I decided that Drake’s team, should be provide most of those moments of humor, so Drake could react with a look or a wisecrack or two.
     Father Michael, the meddlesom Priest, who raised him.  Sometimes his meddling can cause some real headaches for Drake.  He would rather see Drake teach Physics at a University than become a Private Eye.  Father Mike is always working behind the scenes to do just that.

      Kitty(like Fi)

FI(Gabriel Anwar)                             is Drake’s partner and would lay down her own life to save his.  She’s always ready to go in guns blazing and feet flying.  She’s suspicious of everyone and trusts no one.  She’s had to, she was part of the mob.  Whenever Kitty hears a plan she doesn’t like, or someone is doing something foolish, she has a catch phrase.  “What have you got?  Nuts for brains?”  The Problem with Kitty is sometimes she goes a little overboard in her devotion to Drake.

The there’s Ringer, your typical computer nerd, who loves to hack into the Government and cause all kinds of havoc.  He’s surly, hates to be called by his real name, Waldo Kasparsky, and sometimes he feels under appreciated.  After all Ringer does the grunt work.  Once in a while he’d like a little love from Drake.  Drake sometimes has a hard time, convincing Ringer, to buy into what he’s doing.
     Sheriff Joe Duncam, tries to be serious about his job, and he and Drake do butt heads from time to time, but deep down inside Drake knows there’s a lovable Teddy bear inside. “Now Drake don’t you go riling me up.”(As he says)
Harriett Alfredsson, Drake’s ex-wife always manages to come back into Drake’s life, like a bad penny and at the wrong time.  Harriett’s flame still burns bright for him.  This causes a lot of friction between she and Kitty.  Harriett is vain and thinks she’s the center of the universe.  She knows Drake has a soft spot for her and she knows how to entice him back.  Usually it’s through some missing archaeologist or some missing artifact.  She explains, that this is just a minor case and she won’t take up much of his time.  Usually this case ends up becoming a lot more than minor and Drake ends up with big problems.
I’ve lived with Drake for a good part of my post college life and leaving him humorless, just kills his character.  It would also seriously effect the others around him.  Anything too dark, needs a touch of humor.  Try it.







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