Humanizing Nameless Extras:

Total posts: [8]
1 SandJosieph19th Mar 2011 12:41:31 AM from Grand Galloping Galaday , Relationship Status: Brony
Bigonkers! is Magic
It's for a zombie story. There are so many times where a nameless person is shown being killed and while it's treated as horrible, there is still something of a major disconnect that lessens the potential emotional trauma. At least in my opinion anyway. So, what are good tips and techniques to use to avoid turning them into faceless victims to be slaughtered in droves? I'm not looking to humanize every nameless character, but only enough to remind people that these victims are people you may know.
2 nrjxll19th Mar 2011 01:35:34 AM , Relationship Status: Not war
I use The Dead Have Names (and faces, and families, and interests, and little capsule biographies...) a lot. However, I mostly use it for scenes of large-scale death: i.e. to avert A Million Is a Statistic. I'm not sure how well it would work with individual characters, especially since you specifically called them "nameless".

edited 19th Mar '11 1:36:02 AM by nrjxll

Transsexual needs <3
Surprisingly enough, Ĉon Flux (the cartoon, not the dreadful Charlize Theron thing they called a movie) actually explored the What Measure Is a Mook? situation in at least 2 of the short episodes. The DVD even explains it in detail if you can find it.
Just have them spit out their entire life story unprovoked.

Like just as the zombies are about to rip their insides out and eat them the extra can use the last several seconds or minutes they have left to spout off every single detail about them and their life and just keep on going until the zombies eat their voicebox. Even if all they can hear is "Glugllughglug... and my dauglurlgurrg [sounds of throat being eaten] ...turns glgurglurg 7 today... urrrrggghhhh... gluglgug.. and my wife is.... owooaaaa..."

You get the idea.

edited 19th Mar '11 8:10:40 AM by HelveticaScenario

5 alliterator19th Mar 2011 08:31:53 AM from Southern California
professional crastinator
There was an issue of The Invisibles called "Best Man Fall" which was the life story (told in fragments) of one of the nameless mooks one of the main characters killed in the first issue. It's extremely well done.
alternativly, you could have your characters mention that they knew some random pre-zombie, "she use to work in X, she helped me find the y when I was having a really bad day" of course no one knows everyone but a ocasional "That guy was a jerk, still didn't deserve zombification though" could be funny.
7 nrjxll20th Mar 2011 02:55:13 AM , Relationship Status: Not war
@Helvetica Scenario: Can't speak for anyone else here, but in my personal case that would not have the desired effect. Virtually any Final Speech longer then 3-4 lines usually gives me a combined reaction of derisive laughter and "just die already". If I saw an extra spouting something like that before dying, my first response would likely be to assume it was a parody.
8 annebeeche20th Mar 2011 04:26:00 AM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
I actually did precisely this a year ago, in which I portrayed the zombie-related death of an anonymous person in great detail. (in fact, no one in the project was given a name, or at least a real one.)

The excerpt of the death, which for me was the only highlight of my story, can be found here.

It's also written in the form of a journal, so there's very little actual dialogue, and half of it is reflections of the author.

edited 20th Mar '11 4:28:53 AM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
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Total posts: 8