Visualizing the character is an essential tool I use to understanding who my character is. Once I visualize the character, I know how they’re going to act, on the page. Drake Darrow is one of those guys that dropped into my mind, straight off the page of a Dashiell Hammett novel. I see him as tall, about 6’2. His build, rugged with matinee idol looks. The type of guy, you’d never believe was a Physicist. He has a strong hard jawline, built much like his chiseled nose. If his week has been rough, he has two or three days of growth on his beard, which can be intimidating to a potential criminal. His eyebrows are thick and bushy. Women are drawn to his deep blue eyes. I had him in a fedora, but I ditched it, when(as stated in a previous post) he came to me and talked to me about it. “Hey kid, ditch the fedora will ya. I’m not Indiana Jones. Besides, hats cut off the oxygen to my brain and I need my brain for thinking.” Or as his sidekick Kitty Lange would say, (And yes she talks to me too.) “Hey Murray, what have you got nuts for brains. Drake, don’t wear a fedora.”
There’s not an ounce of fat on Drake’s body. The man definitely works out, not in the gym, but with his nun chucks and a pull up bar.
Once I had Drake’s physical makeup in my head, the personality and his back story were easy. Just by the way he looked, I could tell, he had some sort of a sordid past. I came up with a story line revolving on what happened at Montauk. His experiment was similar to the Philadelphia Experiment. Back then, Drake was a different man, more congenial. He had a sense of humor. He wore glasses and looked more studious. Things changed when his experiment went badly and he almost died. His best friend betrayed him, his ex-wife betrayed him. Military Intelligence had him committed to a mental institution. When he recovered, he was bitter, cynical and angry. This personality came from how I visualized him.
Visualizing a character doesn’t always come to me. Sometimes I need to write a character sketch down. Of the principal characters in my television series I knew what four looked like before I put them to paper. The others I had to figure out through a character sketch. have a good visual image of two characters for future episodes. One is the most sinister assassin you would ever meet. So before you write that first bit of dialogue visualize your character, it helps to figure parts of them, you haven’t already decided yet.