Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Oscars: Dallas Buyers Club (2013) - Creating Fictional Characters that Don't Exist in Real Life

[Quick Summary: Ron Woodroff fights for illegal meds to treat his AIDS symptoms.]

*WARNING: MILD SPOILERS*

QUESTION: Of these main characters, who was a real person?

a) Ron Woodroff
b) Rayon
c) Dr. Eve Saks

ANSWER: Only Ron Woodroff.

Were you surprised as I was?

I'm not always a fan of creating fictional characters when portraying a real person's life.  So why does it work here? 

I think it's because these made-up characters have a specific purpose.

1 - Dr. Eve Saks

Dr. Saks was created to show how even the "experts" knew very little about battling AIDS in 1985.

She represented doctors skeptical of the AZT medications.

Without her, we would only see one side of the debate (the pharmaceutical company). 

2 - Rayon

Rayon was created to track Ron Woodroff's emotional growth.

Through Rayon, we saw how Ron got involved in other people's lives.

Without Rayon, we would only see "business Ron" and not "personal Ron."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I need a specific reason to create a fictional character that rings true. 

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack

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