I did the venerable and excellent “status cards” exercise* in my drop-in today and meant to say this afterwards, but forgot, so I’ll say it here:
Your Status as a character is independent of your character’s position or job.
You can have Darth Vader (Darth fucking Vader) as a King, which you see in the case of Darth fucking Vader in the Star Wars movies.
You can also have Darth Vader as a 4, which you see in the case of Dark Helmet in “Spaceballs”.
Same basic character with the same job/position, but utterly different when created into a different status.
Or (chicken and egg time), created with some different characteristics, he lands at an utterly different status. Either way, it’s the same basic character/job/position.
Note that it’s on purpose that I cite Mr. Vader as a King, and not an Ace. He is every bit a King, but there is an Ace: The Emperor. One of the most powerful things George Lucas ever wrote was the moment in Empire where we see Darth Vader, Darth (fucking) Vader, the ultimate Villain of the Universe, dismiss a subordinate angrily, turn to his left, and instantly bow to one knee, head lowered, as a screen comes alive with the face of a man Lord Vader addresses in earnest as “my Master.”
Holy balls, breathed the American moviegoing public of 1980. There’s someone bigger.
Know that there is always someone bigger, and there is always someone smaller. If you’re a King, you might just meet an Ace — or discover that the two you’ve been pushing around has been an Ace all along. If you’re an Ace, there’s always the chance you run into the Ace of Spades. Or a Joker.
And if you’re a two, that card with the rules of pinochle is out there somewhere. This scene might just be the moment where you run into him and get to do the pushing around for once in your life.
Status is an awesome thing to give yourself in the early (or late) moments of a scene or show. Just know that is is never absolute, is never static, and is in no way directly locked to your position in life.
*in which, before your scene, you draw a playing card, from 2 to Ace which tells you your character’s status in the food chain/pecking order of humanity