violate the stereotype. Furthermore, Pinchots reactions to Eddie Murphythe hint of annoyance, superiority, snottiness in his tonemade him even more eccentric. But Ill bet that as you walked out of the theater, you remembered Bronson Pinchot. They all acted exactly as you would expect them to act.
And yet, though we remembered him, we never expected his character to be important to the story. To keep walk-on characters in their place, sometimes stereotyping is exactly the tool of characterization you need. For instance, when the story is all but over and Nora is coming home with Pete for a well-earned rest, it could be funny if they get in a cab and it turns out to be the same driver. Setting the Scenery, how do you make people vanish?
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Unless you personally knew an actor who played one of the walk-ons, you dont remember any of them. Any stage director knows the trick. He might be momentarily involved in the action, but then hell disappear. But the moment we do that, we have made the character unique, which will make him attract the readers attention. Notice how many people weve met in these few sentences: a cabby, a skycap, a hotel desk clerk, a bellman, horn-honkers in a traffic jam, a suspicious neighbor, a uniformed police officer. His innocent look is an exaggeration, but sure enough, when Sweetface points out of town, as if to say they went thataway, the Pinkertons take off in that direction. He did, and she gave him a five. The surest way for a walk-on to get himself fired from a play is to become creativeto start fidgeting or doing some clever bit of stage business that distracts attention from the main action of the scene. Minor Characters, theres nothing wrong with a background character violating stereotype and attracting attentionas long as you realize that he isnt part of the background anymore.
But the effeminacy and the accent were combinedand so the audience remembered him. They really arent characters at alltheyre movable pieces of milieu. Walk-ons and Placeholders, unless your story takes place in a hermitage or a desert island, your main characters are surrounded by many people who are utterly unimportant in the story.
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