Thursday, July 12, 2007

Character 2 - Crossover Characters - Chemistry

I hope I haven't given the impression that I think that characters have to be either/or abstract or realistic.

It's more important that they are specific and somewhat detailed characters, not just cliches. At least for the kinds of stories I like.

I still believe in the star system, whether we are talking about live action movies, television, short cartoons, feature animation, drama or comedy.

James Cagney is specific and chock full of charisma and talent; Tom Hanks is Mr. Normal.
Cary Grant VS Hugh Grant.
Foghorn Leghorn VS the Family Guy Dad.

Stars have to have more extravagant qualities than your next door neighbor, but that concept is out of fashion these days.

3) Crossover Characters
These are characters that are partly realistic and partly preposterous. Every degree of mix of the two categories is possible-as long as the characters are engaging and SEEM real in their contradictions and charisma.

Let me adjust this definition. Interesting isn't good enough. A star has to be magnetic and specific. You need to recognize their basic attributes but they can't be totally predictable!

Olive Oyl


Well there are lots more characters that are combinations of abstract and realistic traits, but I'm worn out from my last few posts and need a break.

Maybe you can do my job for me and describe which of Olive or Ren's traits are based on observed traits in human nature and which are preposterous or impossible.

Chemistry is also important.

The chemistry between characters is very important too. If you have a bland character and a cliche character together, there is no real chemistry. Or worse, 2 bland characters, like in a movie I saw lately.

You can have an underplayed character like Alice with an exaggerated character like Ralph, but they should both have specific and interesting characteristics if you are going to want to see them over and over again.

That's why I think animation and comedic characters have generally been more complex and charismatic in shorts and television than in features. Good short characters are easy to write lots of stories for.

Many animated feature characters are basically throwaways, blank slates that you ride through the spectacle with.

How many animated feature characters could hold up in a series of shorts? That's the true test.

I'll get to more of that with the next character post about Disney style characters.

These fit neither the abstract, nor the realistic categories of characters.

They are their own strange inbred entities that exist in mutated form only in the cloistered world of Cal Arts animation.

Then there's Dreamworks, a whole other level of ....what?

Check out this magnetic chunk of star quality