I chose to go with using a couple as the focus of my film, the main reason for this is not strictly the merits of using a couple, though there are many, but the problems that using a family will cause. A family implies children, and, for the sake of realism, that requires child actors (under the age of 16), and I do not have the resources or the experience to justify this choice at this stage of my directing career.
The first thing I like to do when developing characters is choose their names, this is primarily to make it easier to refer to them in other pieces of Pre-production and to other people when proposing or describing my idea. While names are relatively simple matter it can make all the difference to how the audience views the character. An extreme example may be if I chose to call one of my characters Adolf, it would not matter what age, ethnicity or second name this character had. His name, and his name alone would provoke pre-determined judgement about this character. A slightly less extreme example would be choosing perhaps, an ‘upper class’ name such as Felicity or Charles. So while I did not want to waste time over thinking my characters name, I also didn’t want to just choose a random name our of a hat.
Eventually I came up with the names ‘Bret’ and ‘Alice’. Originally I wanted my female character to be called ‘Jessica’ but it was pointed out to me that combined with Bret, it may appear to be a very American named household. So, I went with Alice instead.
Now that I had their names down, It was time to come up with some character profiles, I have seem to Directors go into great detail about their character diving deep into their psyche, even commenting on the relationship they have with their parents. This is not my style. I prefer to simply choose to create a style of speaking, a sense of self worth (whether a great one or a minor one) and a character flaw that shows itself within the film. With some project these are easier than others, my characters character flaw for this project for example was easy, their reliance on technology, it is the basis of the entire film. Their sense of speaking was a little more difficult, I felt that having them speak to one another as if they were still online would be a good creative decision. Having them say phrases like ‘Hashtag’ and ‘LOL’ would put extra emphasis on their obsession with the online world.
Now that I had my characters, I had to find the people to portray them.