HLSS523 Domestic Extremists and Extremist Groups
Extremist Biopic Profile Paper
Stage Three-Writing:Assemble a timeline.
Record every event that you can, from basic facts like birth, death andmarriage, to minor personal anecdotes, like the night your subject had an argument with their spouse, if it is something significant.
Look for patterns.
See the forest, not the trees.
Phases. Many people go through phases during their lives. Sometimes the phases are backlashes of each other; for example, a person may go through a very dependent phase,then a very independent phase, then something in the middle. This can happen withrelationships, too. One may end up with a string of abusive partners, then, being fed up,starts seeking very submissive mates, then begins to prefer aloof partners, etc.
Progression/regression. Look for a steady refining of the person's character or work, animprovement over time, leading up to a defining event that shows how far the person'scome. Alternatively, perhaps someone's life begins promisingly and gradually unravels--atragedy of sorts.
Cycles. Pay attention to situations that repeat themselves in a person's life. Maybe this person reaches out, gets hurt, becomes reclusive, heals, and begins again. Or the subjectsets a lofty goal, burns out, draws wisdom from the experience, and starts over with anew goal. Addiction also tends to play out in cycles. Whatever the situation, it repeatsitself throughout a significant portion of the person's life (maybe signifying a phase) andat some point, the person might "break the cycle.”
Turning points. What are the moments in the subject's life when their direction changeddramatically? The birth of a child? A near-death experience? Hitting rock bottom? It isthe point at which a pattern changes; a new phase begins, progression become regression(or vice versa), a cycle ends or a new ones starts.
Make a thesis statement.
Based on your "big picture" view of this person's life, what are some points that you can prove? This will be your twist on the biopic - what makes it like or unlike anyother individual extremists’ life. It answers the question posed in the introduction: what makesthis person's life
by the actions they have perpetrated?Some ideas:
What is the significance of this person's life? How did he or she change the world? Whatwould happen if this person never existed? What is unique about what they did or made?
What led to the subject's demise? A particular relationship? A single incident of good or bad luck? A decision by the subject? A particular circumstance?
Decide how to recount the person's life.
Write an outline and fill in the details. Try to use theorganization of the outline to support the thesis (points you are trying to make).
Chronological. Go by the timeline, recounting each event in the order in which ithappened. This is the simplest way to go, but it is difficult to support your thesis in thiscontext and the most mundane approach. You can have chronological reference; however,the point of the biopic is to make it much more interesting.
Flashbacks. Describe a recent or current situation, then "flashback" to an earlier point inthat person's life. This is good for illustrating cause and effect, or how this led to that. Youcan even go in complete reverse order; begin at the end, and work your way backwards.