A Little on the Life of an Antagonist

There is nothing like getting to play a bad guy or the antagonist of the film. Most of us, most, are generally well adjusted and mannered people… to a degree. So, when the opportunity presents itself to be someone totally different and generally terrible we jump at it. The inherent issue with this is we judge the person in the story and their horridness and the moment you judge them, they move further from an experiential approach toward an idealistic one. What I mean by that is we forget to find ourselves in these people and play towards stereotypes which is boring. How much more exciting is it to find ways to make people root for you as the antagonist than hate you. Then you rely on the words to float you down that river of the antagonist with the trust that words will be sufficient to accurately bring about the necessary hate by the audience to serve the story.

Here are a few in-roads to antagonist’s life and the why’s one must ask.

1: Whether you are the asshole at work or the rapist serial murderer, you have to ask and answer honestly why you are doing whatever it is that you are doing… for the later it will be a much more difficult question to answer but one that you must. You must, because if you do not, the idea of the serial rapist murder will leave the person you are living as flat as the screen that you are watching it on. One question to start with, if you are having trouble with why you are doing this, is what would I not give up to keep doing what I am doing? This question can be a great way into the mind of the person you are for this story, as this will inform what’s most important. And if there is nothing that you wouldn’t give up, then you’ve posed the question that comes next: Why do I need to do this? Not want… but need to do this because you obviously need it. 

2: If the person in the story is less of a life threatening type and more a plain ole jerk, then a piece of advice would be not to be afraid of being cold. Which then poses the question of why are you cold and what are you protecting by being cold. A nice deep question that, when answered will clarify one’s feelings toward the issue at hand in the the conversation. 

Those are just a couple inlets for finding yourself in these sometimes terrible persons that must be portrayed by someone in the story… So why not you. It’s fun to be the bad guy!

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