Thursday, October 9, 2008

Character: What I learned from friends and writing

So instead of accomplishing any work today, I just watched a bunch of movies, and tried to do more posing for Kailo. Although I copied several interesting poses, these attempts didn't really accomplish me anything. Eventually I got some very experienced advice from a friend.

Essentially Kailo is a character with a complete story backing him. And the whole time, I've worked that story to chronologically make sense. So plot twists and other things work out smoothly all the way through. I never really focused all too hard on Kailo as a character though, because he was more of a prop I just moved from scene to scene. I knew about things that happened to him in his life, but I never really focused on his attitude as a self-standing character. This same idea hit me earlier this week in class, when the teacher gave a lesson on good story structure, and explained that all characters need to have a clear objective to motivate them through the story. Which I found almost impossible to nail down with Kailo.

Essentially to complete this posing assignment I needed to be decisive on what my character does. Is he a pirate, a warrior, a baker? When my friend would ask me something like, does he do this or that. I would inevitably end up saying. Yes, he can, but only if the situation called for it. But that really isn't much of a character, if he lets others instigate his actions.
My friend was able to make me realize that I got caught up too much in the character as a plot oriented machine, rather than a living thing.
The best way he described it was. If you were trying to pose Tarzan would you say "oh yes, tarzan, he's a man trying to find out where he really belongs. No of course not, that doesn't explain anything about how he moves or acts."
I went through my entire story again this evening, and looked for every instance Kailo was given a choice, and asked myself, is this consistent to the type of character I want portrayed. Because of the advice I received, I was able to make a few minor changes to the plot, which as a whole make the whole story a lot better, and now I've nailed down Kailo's personality.

Earlier this week, I really wanted him to be upbeat, a pacifist, things like that, which on paper sound like a good person. I realized it was more important for him to progress the story, and be true to himself. I decided on him being a fighter. It doesn't make him bad, as long as he's clonking the right heads. And it's the quirks to how he does this that make him interesting. The form of martial arts he uses, and his wild tendencies from exploring the forests, means his posing can be really unique.
This decision took a while to realize, because in the story, he gives up fighting several times because of other characters persuading him in that direction. I realized it was really his true nature, because if it's something you keep going back to, it's what you really are.

Hopefully this turns out really well. This post was mostly written to help remind me when I revisit this project later this week, but I thought I'd put it online, so I can refer to it in the future if I ever get stuck again. Possibly it can help others in my situation, who have character designs they can't let go of, but don't know what to do with them.

1 comment:

Victor Preto said...

hey kevin! that turtel is rediculous!!
good job on it (thumbs up)