Many scifi and comedy fans know immediately who, and what, Adam Shadowchild is. Just the mention of his name reminds us of the science fiction movie Paul. More precisely, it takes us to the scene in which Simon Pegg's and Nick Frost's
characters wait in line at Comic-Con to meet their hero. So why does Jeffrey Tambor’s brilliant portrayal of the stereotypical arrogant author Adam Shadowchild stay in our minds?
Firstly, I’d say that Shadowchild was a side-product of this brilliant hit for the comic pair and, quite rightly so, it brought Tambor even more fame. Superbly caste, we can easily relate to him but, again, why?
Maybe it’s because many of us have come such people during our travels, but none more so than writers. For some bizarre reason, writers’ with success (even if it’s only a little) often look down with distain at others work. Tambor’s comment, 'Don't tell me, you're a writer...' sums it up in one.
What This Says
When Pegg and Frost wrote this movie, they totally captured this guy. In
Shadowchild remains with us is down to brilliant characterisation.
Frost and Pegg show us how by building real peoples’ odd attributes - and our true-life experiences - into our characters really works. It makes them come to life, to literally vibrate. It helps us believe in, and care, about them. We can even use our knowledge of how the duo did it as a tool to enrich our own writing.
The next time we come across such people we can smile instead of wishing them dry ink; perhaps wondering instead how they’d make the superb basis of a character in our work.
In short, we can thank this comic duo not only for an excellent movie but a wonderful lesson in characterisation. I, personally, am looking forward to the rise of the Shadowchild.