Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Over the Top

In honor of Sylvester Stallone making another Rocky movie, I have titled this entry after another of his movies.

Well not intentionally... :p

Anyway, I had a conversation last night about how "over-the-top" characters usually fare well in e-feds and how that's really the way to go if you want to succeed and entertain in e-fedding, pointing to the successes of characters such as August de la Rossi, The Phantom Republican, Roderick McRatrick, PowerMaster, etc.

The question that arises out of that assertion though is are they inherently better characters than "real" characters like Dan Ryan or Lindsay Troy?

Don't be so sure to answer either way, really.

My knee jerk reaction to the question is that yes, over the top caricatures are a far better for the most part. They're usually more eye-grabbing, interesting and in tune with how wrestling characters are in real life (or at least how they've been through the Attitude era). It's wrestling roleplaying at its purest.

However, with every August, there are probably two or three Shakzpears, ie, overly gimmick characters who bomb, and they usually bomb spectacularly. You'd think it's better to put in a "real" character, someone who's an extension of you in a way and work, really work your way into the featured midcard at least.

But in the same vein, for every Dan Ryan, there are also probably two or three Jared Justices who bomb. It's hard to be interesting if you're saying the same things everyone else is. And really, if you're going to say something the way everyone else is, then you're better off gimmicking the hell out of it. Leave the "real" characters to people who can really cut promos.

Which I guess means that I stick by my knee-jerk reaction and say that I find caricatures more entertaining (although not necessarily better at times). I also might add that they're a lot easier to do and a lot easier to have elevated if you've got at least a modicum of talent behind it.

But I guess a lot of e-fed characters now are either hybrids of over-the-top guys adn real characters, or they were over the tops who evolved into a more real character, so it's not like there's a whole lot of either pure one left.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan Ryan is 1/2 radioactive dinosaur, how is he real?

--Should Die

BD said...

I don't think you can say one way or the other definitively. BigDog is as non-over the top as a character can be. He's just me, and he's done pretty well for himself. Farnswirth is similar. Nothing crazy or cartoonish about him at all.

Perhaps it's the culture of A1E, but the more "real" characters seem to do better here.

Tom Holzerman said...

I would actually disagree about Farnswirth. He's definitely in OTT territory, or at least he comes off that way to me whether that's your intention or not. He definitely has a strong gimmick.

Anonymous said...

See I don't enjoy the OTT charecters at all; in real wrestling or e-fed. On the other side I really do NOT enjoy Lindsay Troy at all. I think her promo's read like bad fan fiction. I think she is over rated. I tend to be entertained by more realistic charecters like Dan Ryan, Big Dog, Cameron Cruise, Big Dog, Irish Red, Ken Cloverleaf & Beast.

Some OTT charecters work for me for instance...Torment and Haven, Mango, Maggot, White Noise, Slambo, JA, James Irish, Prof T & Chip.

Over the Top charecters that Do NOT work for me are Jack Gilkison, The First, Brausmeister (sorry Tom).

I also do not enjoy the very one dimensional charecters that every week you see the exact same thing like Duchess, Andy Gilkison, Paco (although I think Paco did some great work it's just his promo's are almost rote).

So that's my two cents.

Love the Blog Tom. Keep up the good work. You may inspire me to do one of these damn things.

Anonymous said...

You like Cameron Cruise but not Lindsay Troy? You're insane, right? How does one fantasy wrestler read like fan fiction and another does not?

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify. I don't like Lindz's narrative stuff. And not just hers. I don't like narrative period.

Cruise doesn't write narrative in UCW. If he did I would not enjoy those parts.

Lindz in A1E is a strong charecter so long as she stays away from all the "she touched his hand"..."they shared a secret"..."their eyes met" stuff. I don't think that is e-fedding.

Of course these are just my opinions...I am sure there are those who only like Narrative.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I've only seen narrative Lindsay Troy RP's in general RP sections, never for her matches.

I'd also rather read a good narrative story than a crappy promo.

As for Cruise VERSUS Troy, I'm sure that answer will be found sometime during this season in NFW. :)

What I don't understand is how you can just flat-out hate a whole style just cause its a style. There's people that write in narrative that don't talk about romance, or out of life experiences. There's also people that write promos in narrative form.

Just because something doesn't say (FADEIN:) or (CUTTO:) doesn't make it less realistic, either. I get the sense you're pigeon-holing something just cause you're used to a certain way of doing/reading things. Kinda like how Holzerman summed up his reasons for the West putting him off sometimes.

I know for a fact that alot of narrative writers can switch to script format and you'd be very surprised at the results.

I see what you're saying about the whole out of kayfabe stuff, tho. Sometimes that gets to me as well...I don't really read too many RPs from angle feds except for Don (KVC), Pants (Rook Black) and Devin (Lowell Dot Com).

Lindz said...

Let me just first say that I love Katz. :)

Now to my argument.

It's entirely safe and 100% accurate to say that if I never met Steve Thomas, I never would have started to write narrative. BUT...if I never meet Steve Thomas, I never would have been able to tell as good a story, or ANY story, as I've been telling over the past 2+ years.

So what does this tell you?

Well first, that Steve is an awesome writing partner...who happens to write narrative style for character-building roleplays. I've adapted to the style because I've done so much work with him...not to mention since being in the fWo segments and character RPs are written that way too. I write how I write with different people. Not every on-card segment of mine is narrative. NONE of my match RPs are. I think character-building RPs almost have to have a narrative sense to them...but, then again, few people in A1E do any character building outside of matches and cards so the point there is moot.

I know that, for the most part, narrative style is completely new to A1Eers and that the change alone will probably turn some people off. Argue that all you want, but it's true. But again, it's for character-building only...you'll never, EVER, see me do narrative during RP week for a match. I'm used to the "trash-talk" style, which is why I could never go to PRIME.

If narrative style isn't e-fedding, then what is e-fedding anyway? E-fedding is fiction, right? A place where we tell stories with our characters and talk a little shit too. Sure, the on-card segment with Melton on this past TNW could have been less wordy, but I wasn't about to ask Steve to change his style for one card just because A1Eers are used to only doing things and seeing things one way.

You can hate narrative and still appreciate the story being told.

Anonymous said...

If you're trying to get in my pants Lindsay, keep talking.

Oops.

STEVE: Keep talking Lindsay, flattery gets you everywhere.

(FTB)

I want to lash anyone who says, "I don't enjoy narrative rps," "it's hard for me to read them," or, "they don't belong in fantasy wrestling." You people have picked up a book before haven't you?

It's fair to say you didn't enjoy the story, or the writing itself was poor. That's valid. Otherwise, write a narrative rp yourself and become a better writer.

Narrative for matches bores me. I'm a PBP guy there. For promos in rp feds you don't write narratively, but 'general' rp (i.e. crap you do for fun) and on card segments work better for me narratively.

The relationship between Melton and Troy really came alive in narrative rps. You can say more, and say it well.

Bad writing is eveywhere, including most of what I commit to microsoft word. But, fw is fiction. We're not throwing dice anymore, or getting results of a similuater. We're judged on how well we write or characters, and the story we tell. Why begrude someone for writing in the form they feel best suited to? It's quality not style.

Anonymous said...

Ok...so let me go on with this. Quite frankly I thought the Melton/Troy segmant from Meltons TNW appearance was crap. Boring. Overdone. Mindless Drivel that didn't advance anything except Meltons and Lindz's relationship. How does this benefit the league? Where does this fit in in wrestling? I don't get it.

The Melton charecter rocks when getting down to business and talking smack with his opponant. The same goes for Lindz in SPADES. She can talk shit with the best of them. But I don't want to read about the relationship between the two. I don't need to know that she has butterflies as she anticipates his arrival. Show me through actions. You don't need to write a novel for me to read to get how you are feeling. Show me. Wrestling is an action sport. The entertainment is action driven. Seriously it reads like fan fiction. Bad fan fiction.

Quite frankly I don't care how the charecters are "feeling". I don't need to know. Out-promo your opponant. That is the goal; correct?

See it's like Undertaker...if you can call lightening down why wrestle? Why not just fry your opponants? I hate that shit.

This is how I personally feel about narrative. Write a book and write it well and I will read it. Waste my time with he said/she said, he blinked/she blushed stuff and it just puts me off your charecter completely.

I am facing the First in UCW. He doesn't do narrative but he "existed" in the civil war, he was a "roman gladiator"...no...no...no. That is just crap. That's not a charecter I am interested in or ever will be. It's silly. It's not real life. It doesn't even make sense. I have no interest in doing a program with someone like that. I would never vote for a charecter like that. It is a waste of my time. Yes, e-fedding is fantasy; but there is a fine line that gets crossed to readily when the writer falls into narrative.

Be real with your writing in realtion to your foe and the match. Respond the way you would if someone was threatening to kick your ass.

The same reason I disliked 80's WWF I dislike most OOT charecters and I feel every single bit of narrative is WAY OOT and simply not needed in e-fedding. Go and play Greyhawk and waste years on a quest. Come to e-fed to fight and win.

That is just how I feel everyone. You don't have to agree with me; but I upset someone I truly like by not being clear enough with my first post so I hope that now I am crystal.

Dave said...

I think along the same lines as Steve does. RP threads should be RP and that's that. Same for matches. I had a match written with my character once in the narrative style and it was ridiculous. The guy had written stuff like what he was thinking as his opponent did a plancha to the outside on him, stupid crap like that.

However, in general RP forums I love narrative stuff done to give me insight into a character. I especially like the Melton/Troy stuff in that regard because when you "know" a character you can write for them more effectively as a match writer and have an expectation of what they might do in situations.

For narrative segments on cards themselves? Eh, I'm iffy on it. I'm kind've a traditionalist in the script style and I prefer to show with action what's going on rather than giving exact thoughts away, but I don't mind it. If it's a character I like, I'll read it. If not, I'll skip it. It's simple as that.

Beast said...

Ok...so let me go on with this. Quite frankly I thought the Melton/Troy segmant from Meltons TNW appearance was crap. Boring. Overdone. Mindless Drivel that didn't advance anything except Meltons and Lindz's relationship. How does this benefit the league? Where does this fit in in wrestling? I don't get it.

I couldn't agree with this more. I don't care about two characters in love making out in a car in front of a gas station or convenience store or whatever it was. That's developing themselves, fine, but what does it do for the fed? What feud does it advance? It doesn't.

The Melton charecter rocks when getting down to business and talking smack with his opponant. The same goes for Lindz in SPADES. She can talk shit with the best of them.

I also agree with this. When Lindz gets fired up and promos and stays consistent, she can be one of the absolute best. Melton's got charisma flaming out of his ass.

Don't get me wrong, I respect them for what they do, but all the aside narrative stuff doesn't do anything for me at all.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes narrative's the best way to go for an angle if it develops something. I write with Foxx in EPW, and she and I will happily use a narrative style because it suits two or three purposes at once. I did a narrative style with Lindsay once for a tournament angle, and it worked really well because if t gave the readers more than just what we'd RP'd.

Fantasy Wrestling is fantasy, and no matter how you decide to write, it's still fantasy (fiction). I've disliked the odd angle written in narrative, but that's because I thought the angle or segment was weak or unnecessary to the card, not because it was done in narrative style.

I guess what I'm saying is the content is far more important than the way it's written. I could write a promo for any of my characters as either script or narrative, and, if I wrote them properly, they'd say identical things. Content rather than mehod.

-Karl

Anonymous said...

If Melton/Troy read like fan fiction what do you have to say for this:

---------------------

"As we return from commercial the cameras take us backstage where we see Nathan Houston and Zeno having a slightly heated discussion in the hallway. Houston is leaning against the steamer chests placed in the hallway with his arms crossed as he is listening to what Zeno has to say.

Zeno: I'm just saying, Sir, is that this just isn't working. This just isn't... me. I can't get into this "Zeno" character.

NH: So, what you are saying is, you want to drop the Zeno name?

Zeno: What I'm saying is, I want to drop the "gimmick" of Zeno. He's nothing like me. I've been saddled with the whole thing for a long, long, time. And, seriously, I'm just tired of it. I think its time for me to establish my own identity in A1E. Its time for me to make my own name in this sport... Rather than trying to make a name out of some idea that someone else gave me....

Houston nods slowly as he thinks it over.

NH: Sounds fair enough. If you want to make a name for yourself as... Alex Bolden... then so be it. Best of luck to you.

Houston then shakes hands with Alex Bolden, the man formerly known as Zeno, before then walking away. Alex Bolden then just smiles as he turns and heads the opposite way. A huge smile is seen on his face."

--------------

I respect that by and large A1e's card format is pretty vanilla. But the idea that fleshing out the writing beyond:

RYAN: Beast you going to have any trouble with Melton?

Beast laughs.

BEAST: No.

is bad fan-fic, or has no point, that's pretty funny to me. If you can write with characters without the handlers' knowledge you can just as easily manadate that no narrative writing take place.

The gist of what you claim to like in Melton promos is there in a narrative bit as well. The piece we wrote with Phill, unless changed, didn't have Joey holding Lindsay in his arms as they showered togethered, and blinking into one another's eyes. It set up that Melton would be managing later on in the night, and showed conflict between Joey/BD, and BD/Lindsay.

The issuse is whether or not you want it on A1E cards. If not, say it. That seems like a better option that having to hear you bitch and moan about it later on about how it's tainting the legacy of:

Beast laughs lightly.

BEAST: Not remotely.

Leagues and writers tell stories differently in fantasy wrestling. If you want it one way, make it so.