Saturday, 25 September 2010

More Sadistic Cartoon Humour... With Added Insight Into Character Acting

Having chosen the general story path I wish to follow, I once again called upon the works of Don Hertzfeldt for further inspiration as he seems to have a certain flare for mercilessly punishing his characters for the sake of humour. Not that I want to go out of my way to be evil to my character or anything (...Okay, maybe just a little), but the Brother's Mcleod once told us that the best thing you can do for your character or story is make the worst possible thing happen to them, and sager advice I have yet to find. If everything is going perfectly fine for a character then the story becomes boring and the audience quickly loses interest; its the way the character overcomes whatever problems are hurled at him or her that engages us and makes us care about and empathise with the person we see on the screen. Ed Hooks brought up essentially the same point during his Acting for Animators lecture we went to last year, saying that a successful scene is a negotiation: there has to be a way to win and lose. There's a big difference between the dull goings on of regular reality and the exaggerated drama of theatrical reality, in which there needs to be an action in pursuit of an objective while overcoming an obstacle. Its the obstacle that makes the scene interesting since its the obstacle that provides conflict for the character, whether with themselves, their situation, or another person.

I intend for my character to start off having conflict with herself over whether to cut her hair or not, which then switches to conflict with another person (her hair) when her hair comes to life. Hertzfeldt's film 'Billy's Balloon' is a great example of an innocent character finding himself in sudden, unexpected conflict with his balloon (another character) which suddenly gains a rather malicious life of its own. Its a very simple idea which isn't fully explained, but its a good reference for ways in which a long appendage of an inanimate object (in this case, the string of the balloon) can be personified as a human limb such as a hand and arm, which is exactly want I want to achieve with my character's hair. It also gives me some good ideas for ways the hair can battle my character, such as picking her up and throwing her around (and naturally, wrapping around her neck to strangle her).

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