Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Reflections on Character

Characterisation and character are two very important aspects of film. Without a believable character, the audience may lose interest, but if a good character isn't characterised well then the audience will feel that there's something wrong with the character and may get the wrong vibe from what the director wanted them to feel.
  • "Character" is the state the character is in mentally, and determines what they are doing and what they will do.
  • "Characterisation" is  what the character is wearing and how they move and interact with other characters.
Through given situations, how a character reacts will tell us more about a character then anything else.

In order for a story to change, a character must change. For example, Robert Mckee said "If we're introduced to a 'loving husband,' and by the end of the tale he's still what he first appeared to be, a loving husband with no secret, no unfulfilled dreams, no hidden passions, we'll be very disappointed."  This makes the character arc crucial. This means building on an idea. It states that a director must not only reveal a true character, but show deeper changes as the story progresses.

Structure is used as a weapon against a character in order to create difficult dilemmas where a character is forced to maker decisions that become harder and harder as the plot thickens. The choices made will show the characters real intention and not just the ones the character want us to see.
The character must be made believable and have established limits, as to make the audience believe that the character can and would do as they do. If the character is unbelievable, the story falls apart and is unconvincing.

For a film to be great, the final act must be great. "Movies are about their last 20 minutes."  The first moments of a film are to entice the audience and get them deeply involved with the characters  so that the climax of the story shocks us in it's temporal shift. When writing a screenplay, "the story's ultimate event is the writer's ultimate task." In these last minutes, the protagonist must do something that surprises us. This is usually going against something we thought we knew about them, however it must be justified. It could be a grudge, an event or something that happened in their past that causes them to do what they do. Either way, it must be astonishing and terrifying.

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