Now that my basic story idea was in a written form, I moved on to creating a more detailed profile of the characters. The main protagonist for my script is the radio presenter Sebastian Sorrow. Two other characters in my story are the radio technician Gareth Cooper and the American soldier Johnny West.
- Sebastian F. Sorrow is a loud mouthed, confident and humorous radio presenter who uses his upbeat attitude to appeal to US citizens and troops on the front line. Sebastian has a wife and daughters who are listeners of the show and frequently call in to check up on him. Unlike Gareth who is more of a rebellious anti-government youngster, Sebastian is older and wiser and doesn’t let his political agenda get in the way of the show too much; despite this he is still against the War and will frequently contest it on air. Sebastian used to be a sergeant during the early period of the war which taught him the skills of getting out of tricky situations, however this past experience also troubles him deeply, as he had a horrific incident involving the death of his squad; this incident caused him to seek a life of peace and bring an end to the war.
- Gareth Cooper is stereotypical tech head that operates the radio bunker with presenter Sebastian Sorrow. Gareth is an intelligent man whose political agenda lies with the anti-war movement. Back in America he was largely involved with the counter cultural movement as a band technician, his skills with the musical equipment led Sebastian to convince him to come to Vietnam and help him start a radio show. Although Gareth is good at what he does he spends a large proportion of time getting high and zoning out to the music on the show. Over the years Gareth and Sebastian have formed a close friendship which revolves around telling jokes and stories to turn the horrors of Vietnam into an enjoyable experience. For this character I used Grove’s (2009) technique of magnification when a stereotypical representation (tech head) is mixed with an unusual trait (consuming large amounts of drugs).
- Johnny West is an American soldier whose fluency in Vietnamese has landed him the position as a translator for the US. He is not an anti-war protestor and finds Sebastian and Gareth’s aim to stop the war through music as a joke, this leads to some tension between him and the others. Johnny’s character I based heavily on Colonel Kilgore from Apocalypse Now (1979), as he has a hungering for violence and will not give up without a fight. He only uses the radio equipment to translate messages from the US, and does not contribute to the radio.
Apocalypse now. 1979. [Film]. Francis Ford Coppola. dir. USA: Omni Zoetrope
Grove, E. 2009. Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen. London: Methuen Drama