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- 1 Character Missions
- 2 Resident Characters
- 3 Recurring Characters
- 4 Character Histories
- 5 Survival Techniques for Characters
To help a diverse writing group stay within the confines of the world, Character Missions will be used. These are the traits that will define the character's overall motivation. For each line of dialogue in each situation, the question should be asked "Does this action serve this character's mission? Does this action hinder this character's mission?" If the line hinders, then it should either be changed or assigned to a different character. If the line serves then that's a good line. If the line neither helps nor hinders the mission then it's probably ok.
CHARACTER MISSION: Max is concerned about the cause of the outbreak/apocalypse from a societal point of view. Was there a nefarious driving force? An accident borne of incompetence? And in either case, how can society adapt and hold those at fault responsible.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY: He’s been on the job at the station for the last 3 years following a career change from basic web design. He’d hoped to be able to someday write code for the big boys, but he just couldn’t keep up with the changes in technology as web design advanced. He simply didn’t have the passion for it to keep re-learning new techniques to accomplish the same old goals, so he’d convinced the station to take him on as an unpaid intern for a year so he could learn new skills.
Today, as program manager, he coordinates which shows get aired at what times. He works closely with the advertising manager to keep the bills paid and the lights on by relaying listener statistics that potential clients will want to see.
He is unmarried and has no kids.
He also has a curiosity and a wild imagination. When the zombie outbreak became serious enough that law enforcement and the military could no longer ignore it or sweep it under the rug, he became interested in the root cause of the disaster. Who was patient zero? Was the condition viral? What other explanations might be available? He’s done quite a bit of research, some of it coming from some pretty crackpot sources, and, while he has no actual answers, he loves to speculate and is quick to come up with a new conspiracy theory. Some days it’s all that keeps him going.
He has above-average knowledge of web design and can make his way through modern code, although he’s no expert. He has an eye towards efficiency and resource management. He gets frustrated easily.
Had grandparents, who owned a bit of land in the countryside in Georgia, before the fall. He visited occasionally as a child.
Dr. Rosalind Clark
CHARACTER MISSION: Wants to find out the how and why of the infection from a scientific point of view, with an eye towards finding a cure, if possible.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY: Divorced, no children. Early 40s. She graduated from a small liberal arts college in the midwest, majoring in Biology and Pre-Med. She applied to attend Northwestern, but did not attend due to a lack of funding, eventually getting her Masters and PhD in Marine Biology/Ecology at UNC. She is introverted, introspective, thoughtful, and serious. With the sciences dominated by men, she felt as though she had to work three times as hard to be taken seriously and often neglected her personal and social life in favor of excelling at academics, which she did. She married at 30, shortly after accepting her professorship at the University, but the marriage fizzled after just a couple of years.
CHARACTER MISSION: Agnes wants everything to get back to normal as soon as possible. She isn't concerned about the how, the why, or anything else. She just wants to get back to her life.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY: When she was young, her little brother couldn't pronounce the "G" in her name, so he called her "Anus". It became a long-running joke in the family, much to Agnes's chagrin. She loves animals and wants to keep one at the station, but the others have concerns about whether they can be infected by whatever is causing the zombie outbreak. She sees the whole zombie experience as part of her internship, but refuses to acknowledge the horror of the situation. She even refuses to call them 'zombies', preferring instead to refer to them as "They" or "Them". She is majoring in Comparative Literature. She has a typical Millennial mentality and is having a hard time adjusting to the lack of internet and cell phone service.
Personality: Young, hopeful, naïve, head in the clouds. Still believes that someone will find a cure and mankind will build itself back again Foil to “rational science” of Dr. Clark. and “wild paranoia” of Max. She has Walt Whitman’s “song of myself” under her pillow, picture of family as bookmark. Her boyfriend, Sam, left her a voicemail on her phone, which she cherishes as the last time she will hear his voice. Keeps a journal.
In development. Ideas for recurring characters include:
CHARACTER MISSION: Protection of her family in the lighthouse and being able to successfully raise her children to survive in any situation.
Jennifer is a practicing Christian and believes strongly that the Lord will save humanity from the zombie outbreak, which she regards not as judgment or punishment, but as a part of God's overall plan. Her faith sustains her and she will make frequent references to it in each episode she appears in, especially if she is the primary speaking character.
Writer's Note - Jennifer Long's religion is intended to bring a different perspective to the overall situation. It is not unheard of for religion to be a part of zombie mythology, what with the dead rising from their graves and all. It is imperative, however, that Jennifer's character be treated with respect. She is NOT a parody, she is not given to crackpot theories, she does not cast judgment on those who disagree with her, she isn't self-righteous, and she doesn't preach or proselytize. She is a regular person who happens to have strong beliefs and she respects others who have strong beliefs that differ from hers. She respects science and seeks to have it coexist within her faith. Every writer who contributes to the project is welcome and encouraged to write for Jennifer, but episodes with her character are going to be under greater scrutiny to ensure that these guidelines are followed.
William "Bill" Slemp
CHARACTER MISSION: Simple survival. Participates in the broadcasts because the others, specifically Wade, have asked him to, but doesn't seek out opportunities to help others. A bit of a loner.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY: William is a survivalist who came late to the movement. In his mid-40s, William served in the military during the latter phase of the first incarnation of the Gulf War. He received extensive military training, but never saw actual combat due to a leg injury he suffered during a training exercise that later fully healed, but was enough to keep him off the front lines during his rehab. He feels some level of guilt for not being able to make a greater contribution, but knows intellectually that he did all he could. After being honorably discharged William became interested in the survivalist movement that sprang up around the Y2K phenomenon and, when that crisis failed to materialize, kept up the training and stockpiling of supplies because it seemed like a "better safe than sorry" approach. He isn't prone to paranoia and regards Max's conspiracy theories as harmless fun, but he certainly doesn't take them seriously. He is skilled with various forms of self-defense and assorted weapons, but William's primary survival skill is his ability to be aware of his environment and to improvise solutions with whatever might be at hand. He has an ex-wife that he hasn't seen in 10 years and no children. He is also a recovering alcoholic, an addiction he picked up while sorting through his guilt at missing out on combat missions, and is now 7 years sober. He is friends with Wade, who he met as part of the survivalist movement, and comes on the program occasionally to impart some of that kind of information, but does so reluctantly and really only because Wade asked him to. He finds Agnes annoying. Writer's Note - William will not 'fall off the wagon' during the series. He is welcome to discuss cravings, muse on the challenges of overcoming addiction, and discuss the consequences of that addiction, but he will not relapse, not even for a mini-arc.
Portrayed by J. E. Hurlburt
CHARACTER MISSION: Simple survival and helping those who can then help themselves.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY: Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia. Hair: Brown Eyes:Green Pre-Fall Employment: Apprentice Blacksmith (Still a Thing.) During the quick and bloody fall, Wade refused to stay sheltered and witnessed a group of Police and National Guard abandoning a group of trapped survivors... Wade recovered a weapon and led the majority of the group to safety in one of the developing fort towns in the North Georgia mountains.
Now, Wade is a part time scavenger (he prefers the term Resource Procurement) and Scout/guide. often stopping by the Station to bring supplies and news, Wade is also working to establish a series of way stations along various paths that hold the least chance of an encounter with the Infected.
Wade is little concerned with the “Why?” of it all. Things have slid pretty far and he sees little reason to dwell on it. It could be said that he did not find his purpose until the world went to pot. with so much ugliness in world, he's determined to help even if only a little. Wade views the Infected mostly as victims but has no problem with putting one down when the situation demands. He does however bear great malice toward those who prey on their fellow man.
Wade's mother died right about the time things started getting really bad. He has his suspicions as he was never allowed to view the body.
Skills: Field Survival, Firearms Training, Blacksmith Other: Loves Dogs
Portrayed by Ariel Kasten
CHARACTER MISSION - Alaska believes that zombies have been good for the world and fights for zombie rights and other anti-discrimination causes.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY - Alaska was introduced on Day 053 ("Family Ties") where she claimed that her brother was a zombie, but that zombies that didn't taste human flesh weren't dangerous. She insisted that he had never attacked her and that he was perfectly safe. They were traveling from Albion, MI, to Baltimore, MD, to seek a cure for the zombies. A few weeks later, she returned, revealing that the "cure" was nothing but a scam, but it was not enough to deter her from her crusade for zombie rights.
Portrayed by Matt Goodson
CHARACTER MISSION - Just trying to keep an eye out for trouble and two feet moving away from it.
CHARACTER BACKSTORY - Jamey is a little off. Not unstable, or even disquieting, he just acts like somebody who has spent way longer on his own than he'd ever planned on becoming used to. Unless Jamey is waiting for a response or does not have a follow up thought, do not put much pause between sentences and phrases. When living people are around, Jamey is very uncomfortable with silence, possibly because his opportunities to converse with folks are so few and far between. Quite fidgety and makes quiet noises to himself (like a bored kid in the back seat of a car on a long trip).
His entire immediate family was attacked and turned in the first few days of the zombie uprising. Jamey personally put a shovel through the heads of his turned family. Now, when he finds folks, Jamey will always be the first to provide comfort and share his supplies, because while he doesn't like to think about it, he knows exactly how bad it can get for a survivor.
"Look, folks may just want to stay hunkered down, outta sight, keep the deadies from looking their way. I’m not trying to bring you down, buddy! Let me be your beacon of proof! It’s possible for some folk to travel!... it’s real dangerous, and you may lose a towel or two, but if you’re clever, fast and quiet, you can eke out a pretty ok life going through the country-side, dodging corpses."
Skills: scavenging, jury rigging, zombie herding, greenhouse maintenance
Other: Enjoys comic books as "modern mythology," and will gladly discuss the topic at length. favorite places to scavenge: magic and joke shops. (noise makers for zombie distraction kits - CLICKETY-CLACKERS!)
Janette “JJ” Jenkin
Portrayed by TBD
CHARACTER MISSION - Protect and serve! Heck yeah!
CHARACTER BACKSTORY - Pre-Fall Employment: Police Officer
Current Situation: Brash and crass former police officer with a deeper voice who makes runs through zombie hordes to local super markets to take food and supplies to survivors who can’t otherwise get supplies on their own. Mourns her old social life. JJ is quick with a punchline, and she'll happily help anybody out of a jam, but she can be a bit more crude than the three main characters are generally comfortable with, but she does her best to keep it clean on the air. (I'D LOVE IT IF THE THREE MAIN GUYS WOULD OCCASIONALLY MAKE VAGUE REFERENCE TO SOMETHING JJ SAID OFF THE AIR, LIKE "....look I like jokes as much as the next person, but WHY WERE THERE BEES IN IT!?!?" or something like that) "Something about a bunch of corpses walking about really kills the club scene in a town"
JJ should be 100% unapologetic about everything she is; she should be proud of her job from before the zombies, proud of her body (however you'd like to portray her - I imagine her super muscly with a bit of a belly), and feels completely justified in telling blue jokes and rude stories to pass the time if that's what she's gotta do to keep her own head together. And more than anything, she is proud of the help she and Laromy provide to the folks in the area.
Skills: Firearms and firearm maintenance; search and rescue. She's also an exercise freak, is in great physical shape, and thinks everyone else should be, too.
Other: JJ and Laromy are not, and have never been romantically entangled with each other. The concept seems laughable to both.
Dr. Laromy Nolan
Portrayed by TBD
CHARACTER MISSION - How do the zombie work???
CHARACTER BACKSTORY - Pre-Fall Employment: Doctor of Forensic Pathology (he's a corpse guy)
Current Situation: Uses the solar powered backup generators at the old hospital to run experiments on zombie bits (1-2 hours at a time, or he risks burning out the rechargeable cells of the generator). The good doctor got trapped at a police station (next door to the hospital he works at) after a night of drinking landed him in the police station’s drunk tank; woke to find himself isolated in a zombie apocalypse with his long-time friend and the only remaining police officer; Inspector Janette Jenkin (JJ). Dr. Nolan is fascinated by the zombies as corpses, and while he’s sensible about survival, he always seems more interested than worried when it comes to encountering zombies.
"There’s a huge battery backup supply for the building hooked to a solar power array on the roof – it’s enough to keep the lights on, but that’s about it. Turning on the safety equipment in the big lab is a huge draw – I can maybe run things in there for about 4 hours before I have to shut everything down en masse and let the backup batteries recoup for a few days... longer, if I need to have anything turned on in the hospital during that time. The first hour of getting the lab running is just making sure the airflow and ventilation in the lab is appropriate to work safely. And I have to make sure I have enough time and power to run the incinerator and dispose of the samples. I don’t have any way to preserve them safely without the lab running at all times, you see."
"but I’ve gotten enough zombie chunks to make a couple really interesting finds; foremost of which, the decomposition of the flesh stops only a centimeter or so below the surface of the skin – no rigor, no visible rot in the muscles, but little to no blood either. Mostly a black….. goop… that seemed to have saturated the body’s muscles and organs. No idea what it does, if anything, or what’s producing it… sure is neat, though!”
Gets very (almost inappropriately) excited when talking about zombies. Like a kid with an overly extensive living bug collection.
Skills: What makes zombies tick
Other: JJ and Laromy are not, and have never been romantically entangled with each other. The concept seems laughable to both.
Additional characters in development
Here is how each of the resident and recurring characters know each other and how they got to the station.
- Max has worked at the station for 3 years and also serves as on-air talent. He was intending to interview Dr. Clark about an invasive species problem in the coastal waters, but the interview never happened because lockdown was implemented (see timeline below) and then power was lost.
- Agnes has been Max's intern for about one semester. She was also on-site at the time of lockdown and has some on-air experience, but not much.
- Dr. Clark was also at the station at the time of lockdown, there to be interviewed by Max. They'd had a phone conversation prior to her arrival and had exchanged a couple of emails, but had not really gotten to know each other much before she showed up to the station to be interviewed.
- Wade Hogue showed up at the station shortly after they went back on the air. His introduction is covered in episode 7.
- Bill Slemp is a friend of Wade's through the survivalist movement. He comes by the station at Wade's request since Wade is often out and can't make it around as often as he'd like.
- The Longs owned a small boat and used it to get to the lighthouse at some point that is not entirely clear. Agnes first spotted them walking around the top level. They don't come to shore often.
Survival Techniques for Characters
- Supplies brought by others
- The fresh water situation should be more or less taken for granted. Collection of rainwater, gathering of bottled water from nearby abandoned stores, distillation of ocean water, and other sources are all available and episodes instructing listeners how to do these things are entirely appropriate. What there shouldn't be are episodes where the focus is the crisis of not having any water. The theme here is hope and survival, so introducing peril into an episode for dramatic effect should be avoided.