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While re-writing one of my stories, I got the idea for a phantom character which is only revealed at stories end that he's not real. My question is, if the character isn't real (is a figment of another characters imagination) can the phantom character appear in a scene by himself (without the presences of the real character? I don't think it's plausible, just thought I'd throw it out there.
Other than Harvey the rabbit, I've never seen an example of it. The ending of Harvey is set up to make you believe that there really is a giant rabbit, but the genre seems to allow for that.
In ''A Beautiful Mind'' the phantom characters never appear on screen (to my knowledge) without the main character (Nash) present.
I'd say it all depends upon the story itself, i.e. the context. You could look at a film like "Mulholland Drive" and claim that all--or almost all--of the characters are "phantoms," while also saying that the female protagonist, even if she isn't physically present in a scene, is at least present through the projection of herself into other characters. Think about dream states, or any film that bends reality: whatever we have are a series of "phantoms" because the state itself is "phantom".
Sorry to unduely complicate the issue, but the answer to your question really depends upon the nature of your story.
What about THE SIXTH SENSE? Do the ghosts ever appear when the boy isn't present? I don't remember, and I hated the movie, but if they did it in that movie you can do it in yours. Of course, you can do anything you want if you set up for it.
I'll have to take a look at it again to see when the ghosts are present. I thought it had a great ending, and I for one, never saw that one coming.
In film school I was going to write a story about an alcoholic with a best friend named, Al, of course. Al was going to be the protagonist obviously and as the hero got sober, Al got more distant. In the end you would have seen that Al was every alcoholic's best friend. Literally, there would be multiple Al's in a bar or whatever hanging out with individuals. My instructor told me that was...I forget the exact words...but "dumb" is what he was driving at. He said, "kill all your little darlings." Basically it wouldn't work, he told me. So I didn't write that story.
Flash forward a few years later and I'm watching 'Mr. Brooks' and I'm thinking, WOW! It can work and I wish I'd written what I wanted to.
Sorry to go off there, but it's what came to mind.
Akiva Goldsman's "A BEAUTIFUL MIND" is another example worth studying...
Sorry, Timothy...missed your closing reference up top of the thread!
In Sixth Sense the main ghost (Bruce Willis) did appear with other people and he appeared by him self. Thats because he was a ghost not solely in one persons mind like (A beautiful mind). Ghosts are usually confined to places not people.
So see there are two different kinds of phantoms right there. And Harvey was never SEEN by the audience at all. He was a pooka. So see thats kind of a third kinda of phantom. Theres actually several different kinds so it just depends on what KIND you are talking about.
Angels. Angels seem to be confined to certain people too.
I always thought is would be neat if someone actually created a dual reality that seems to coexist along with ours.They dont see or hear us and we dont see or hear them. But then suddenly someone accidently somehow tears into the the co-existing reality.
Of course in different ways that has been kinda done, Quatum leap, Honey I shrunk the kids, Charmed. But any way it sure sounds like allot of fun. Good luch.
Oh I know, at a different speed from us so naturally we dont hear or see them. They and their world is faster than ours. See?
In The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis is the main character, therefore the story is from his point of view. I have only seen the film once so it's hard to recall what really happens other than the ending.
It's true we never "see" Harvey, but we do see the lever move (by Harvey?) that opens the iron gate.
Sounds like you're talking about "The Others" (Nicole Kidman). If you haven't seen it, it's a good one...
That's right , I forgot about that, Harvey does open the gate. Isn't that at the very end though so it leaves the audience believing that this imaginary pooka maybe really isn't imaginary after all? I can't remember. It's been such a long time since I saw Harvey. It's a good one though.
really? Theres a movie like that already. See? EVERYTHINGS been done already.
I guess I was kind of thinking in terms of drugs. I mean the only way I kind think of for a person to speed up or slow down (so they could see our alternate world) is to either take valium or downers to slow down or speed or uppers to speed up. See.
Is that what they did in " the others". I never saw that one, I guess Ill have to check it out.
"The Others" doesn't have the speed up, slow down thing you're talking about, but it does have the two parallel realities where the occupants of each aren't aware of "the others"--but then, they gradually become aware of them. It's a great little ghost story.
Then there's Henry James' Turn of the Screw where you never really know whether the ghosts are real or the nanny's insanity.
The "worlds existing at different vibratory rates" was used in comic books in the early 1960s and since, and I'm sure it came from earlier science fiction. One day, given the current experimentations in subatomic physics, it may be proven beyond doubt. Al Gore may turn out to be the Earth's version of Jor-El, too.
Tim, my impulse is to avoid having a phantom of the mind appear in a scene without his imaginer. I don't think it was done in "The Sixth Sense" (IMO the only kinda- orthwhile movie ever made by M. Night Shyamalan) or in "A Beautiful Mind," and for all the right reasons. Another flick I cite from time to time in these esoteric discussions is "Jacob's Ladder," and there, too, Jacob is, of course, present in all the phantasmagoric scenes. After all, what's happening is happening TO HIM. In "Fight Club," this law was messed with a bit, I thought. Anything shown to be done by Brad Pitt's character was in the presence of, or in the field of awareness of, Edward Norton's character. But the latter character eventually realizes people are attributing actions to him that he doesn't remember, and he gradually, belatedly figures out he's lived a double life without being conscious of part of his dual persona's behavior, which he then has to scramble to try to undo.
So it does beg the question, what's your motivation to have the phantom character at all? If the character's a manifestation of someone else's fear or desire only, I'd call it bad form to have him appear without that "real person" character in the scene. Yet, I love what was done with "Fight Club." Of course, that's not something you want to copy, either. It's so original it can only be done once in a generation.
I'm with you on this Ron. If only onecharacter can see the phantom then the phantom can't appear (or shouldn't) in a scene where that character's not present.
Luckly for me, this only affects one scene.
Janet, The "speeding up or slowing down" effect you meantion happened in an episode of Star Trek.
Actually , I think its happening with Ron. How in the world you understood what in the world he said is beyond me.
But listen to him, he's definitely on drugs or of another world. He should be a big help to you.
Ron, I like yuh but you're nuts. Whisch is actually a fantastic quality for a writer.
My story, Lucifer, The Adventure Begins, deals with a young Lucifer who's bent on staying in Gods good graces no matter what the cost. He starts out as the youngest of the Archangels and Gods favorite. The other archangels resent this, and scheme to turn God against him and vise-versa.
Lucifers only friend is Satan. Most will say that they are the same person in the Bible, which makes little difference because this is anything but a Bible story. As you might guess, Satan is Lucifers alter ego (a phantom) that pushes and prods Lucifer into doing things he only dreams of doing.
Lucifer starts out an awkward teen surrounded by bullies and ends very close to the vile creature history depicts him as. I say ''close'' because the dramatic fall from grace occurs in Lucifer2.
Some might think it foolish to think of a sequel until you sell the first one. The way I see it, when writing on spec your writing for yourself, therefore write what makes you happy and only change it when someone puts a check in your hand.
Don't worry, I have an alternate ending just in case Jerry Bruckheimer calls.
Check out Mr. Brooks with Kevin Costner.
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