I love creating characters. It is one of my very favorite thing about acting. So I spent a lot of time thinking about who the characters were for my short film, “Flip Fantasia.” I want to introduce them to you now, so that you know a little bit about them and can “know” them better when you see the film!
Note: these descriptions are out of my mind, my fantasy about who these people are. Each actor when playing the part brought even more to them. You can also check out our Pinterest page, where someone who knows the film as well as anyone has let her imagination go as to who she feels these characters are, based on the original descriptions from the script, which you will also find on that page! That is the GREAT part about collaboration, it’s like a painting or a mural that just grows and grows! If you want to add your own imagination to them, please feel free to do so right here in the comment section on the site!
Let’s begin with the two lovers, as “Flip” is a romance at heart. Ernesto and Belle are each other’s true love. It doesn’t matter that they are very young, they have found home with one another and make each other’s world worth living in.
Ernesto, or “E” as his friends call him, works at Starbucks, but that’s not who he IS. He is a poet, a romantic, a reader, a singer, a dreamer, a believer. Someday he is going to make it big at something, he just doesn’t know exactly what that is yet. Meanwhile, he knows how to enjoy his life. He is a great friend and an amazing lover. He understands intimacy, what love is, how it feels, and how to give it, which makes him a pretty amazing and dynamic person. He doesn’t like to look at the negative, for example, not having money. It’s not how much money you have that matters in his mind, it’s how you spend your time. He was born in the Bronx, but his Latin American parents have kept him in touch with his roots. His favorite movie is “Romeo and Juliet” by Baz Lurhman.
Belle, Ernesto’s girlfriend, had a much rougher upbringing than “E.” Born into a working class family on Long Island to an absent father and a critical mother, she started partying hard in her early teens, until she found herself in a really bad situation on her 16th birthday. That night she was gang raped on a pool table by a group of older boys from her high school. Afterwords, she ran away from home, keeping herself alive by working for an old folks home in NYC. She never thought she would find a guy like Ernesto. His love changed her whole world. Formerly a tough cookie, she was able to finally laugh and relax around him, even party and have fun. She loves unicorns, the movie “Chinatown,” and the Riot Grrls.
Smeg (whose real name is Greg but nobody calls him that) was also born and raised in the projects down near the Lower East Side, called the Henry Street Settlement, in NYC. His father worked making donuts at Donut Plant (before it got cool) but he was mostly raised by his open-minded Aunts. They gave him all kinds of books on world religions and spirituality, which he devoured far more than his school books. He spent a lot of time in the Chess Shops on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village honing his ideas of what mattered in life. It was just a matter of time before he discovered the marijuana being sold in Washington Square Park. He dropped out of Hunter College and now hangs onto a temp job at Sounds, one of the last shops that sell records and CD’s on St. Mark’s place. He met E in High School and they have been great buddies ever since.
Sheik was also born and raised in NYC, up in the Bronx near E. He and E have been friends since childhood. His parents were hard working middle class people who wanted their kids to have the best shot, so they made sure Sheik finished school at Hunter College, where he and E met Smeg. Sheik is the “mother” of the group because he has been raised to embrace being a responsible adult. That said, he loves hanging around his wild friends, because they still have a freedom and innocence he has less of. He is a bit of a ladies man, and loves the Blacksploitation movies of the 1970’s. Both proud and frustrated by his job as the manager at the Union Square Best Buy, he dreams of having a white Porsche, and owning his own Shake Shack. He is a terrible speller.
Bird has issues. A LOT of issues. He is tormented by the unfairness in the world and what he sees as his own inadequacies. He still lives with his mother, who is an art dealer, on the Upper West Side but doesn’t see this as a problem as the cost of rent is so high in NYC. He met E and Sheik at a bar in the East Village during their college years, and liked them so much he transferred from NYU to Hunter, much to his mother’s angst. He makes a meager living as a writer for the Village Voice doing mostly movie reviews but also the occasional Op-Ed piece. He is terrible with women but great in a bar fight and kills it at Trivial Pursuit. He also has the largest collection of antique Playboy magazines on the East Coast.
So there you have it! I hope you feel like you “know” these characters a bit better. Do you know anybody in your OWN life like these guys? Hmmmm…. do I?