Sunday, August 4, 2013

Facetime with your dark passenger

So I read Entertainment Weekly cover to cover every week -- not because I'm necessarily an obsessive TV/movie/music/book/entertainment consumer -- but because it offers really great insight into the creative process behind all of these mediums. And since all of these mediums are about storytelling in some form or another -- well, then, that's pretty useful reading for a wannabe novelist (also their great book reviews keep me motivated to finish my story). 

In this week's issue, an excerpt from an upcoming episode of EW/Sundance Channel's new show "The Writers' Room" caught my eye. Each week the show hosts a roundtable discussion with the creative minds behind a popular, game-changing show. The excerpt I read was on Showtime's "Dexter." We're not a premium-channel household, so I've never actually seen "Dexter." About all I know is that it's about a serial killer who kills other serial killers  whose also a family man and crime scene analyst of some sort. 

Anyway, during the discussion executive producer Sara Colleton talked about what made fans root for a serial character: 
"We all have a dark passenger. We all have some aspect of ourselves which we are terrified of letting it see the light of day ... and that is something that's been very relatable, particularly in the early years, when Dexter really had to keep himself hidden."
A dark passenger. Whoa. 

Now that guy's worth writing about.

It's one thing in your writing or art to expose your vulnerabilities. But I feel, somehow, revealing your dark passenger is a whole other level of investment. I guess they are inextricably linked -- but whereas your vulnerability seems more like something that others could empathize with -- the dark passenger -- that manifestation of your vulnerabilities seems less forgivable. If that makes any sense. 

I mean seriously, you can probably forgive Dexter for whatever hangups he has that lead him to be a serial killer. But you can't forgive the act of the serial killing, right? And sure, your dark passenger probably isn't something so extreme as serial killing (I hope) and it might be nothing more than a thought or a whim, but the fact that it exists at all seems problematic. 

I suppose that's the great thing about art though. It frees you to let your dark passenger get a little outside time and helps unload the burden of carrying him around all the time.  You know, if you're willing to take the risk. 

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