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#1 aroundworld

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:16 AM

The Joy of Research



Defining Characters


Research is important when creating a specific world that you aren’t intimately familiar
with. In this case, crime scene investigation and the world of law enforcement would likely
necessitate some degree of research.

Research, in my opinion, is what makes the life of a writer so interesting. You’re constantly
learning.

A former professor of mine was hired to write movies that take place in worlds that he wasn't immediately familiar with. Therefore, it was his responsibility to do the work, research the unfamiliar settings,
organizations, technology, culture and lifestyles of the characters he was hired to create.
You’d be surprised what arises through research. For example:

The following is a direct excerpt from my class with him:

The film production company, Castle Rock Entertainment (Warner Bros.) hired me to write
a movie that dealt with the Vatican among other things. immediately immersed myself in research and my findings were amazing. I had no idea how high tech the Vatican security system was and how modern the secretive archives were, right down to their state-of-the-art, precision climate control.

As a result of this extensive research, I was able to rethink certain plot lines and develop a
more interesting and believable story.


Distinct Reactions

Next, we’re going to look at Distinct Reactions.

This is a fairly simple concept that’s quite useful in developing conflict. Distinct reactions
are nothing more than individual characters responding to the same events with differing
or opposing reactions.


The characters’ beliefs are reflected in their reactions to events, circumstances, etc. As an
audience we learn about characters by the way they respond to certain things in the story.

Having two different characters responding to the same event in different ways adds
texture and depth to the characters as well as heightening conflict.

It’s also a great way to provide insight into the character’s emotional core. Different
characters will respond differently to the same event.
For example, in the movie The Professional, you may remember the Gary Oldman character stealing the basketball from the children playing in the street. It’s an unusual choice but one that tells us a lot about the sort of character
we’re dealing with.

If however the Gary Odlman character was the one that saved Natalie Postman's Character, taking the basketball would have been an action totally out of character.



ASSIGNMENT 1



Discuss a scene in a film you're familiar with that had two or three characters in a scene that had different reactions to the same situation.



ASSIGNMENT 2



Write down distinct reactions for each of the characters in two of the following scenarios:

PURPOSE: To understand how characters can be defined by their reactions.


1. A young couple adopts an infant. (husband/wife)

2. A man introduces his fiancée to his parents (mother/father)

3. An aging baseball player is sent down to the minor leagues. (player/teammates)


4. A twelve year old girl tests as a college level genius. Her teacher recommends she
apply to M.I.T. (child/child’s mother).

5. A single mother finds a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. (single mom/ the
shopkeeper who sees her find it).

6. A brother and sister are lost in the rain forest. (brother/sister).

7. A boy accidentally kills his best friend in a hunting accident. (boy/same boy’s
father).




There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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#2 JosephKw

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

ASSIGNMENT 1



Discuss a scene in a film you're familiar with that had two or three characters in a scene that had different reactions to the same situation.


Star Trek III: the Search for Spock. Capt. James Kirk (William Shatner) is trapped on a planet with a Klingon Capt. Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), as the doomed planet Genesis is blowing itself apart. Capt. Kirk reacts by suggesting that Kruge work with him in getting off the planet. Kruge sees this as a fantastic battlefield to engage in a final duel to the death for both parties. This reflects the difference in philosophy between the human (Federation) and Klingon civilizations. The Federation strives for peaceful cooperation and co-existence, while the Klingon strives for death in glorious combat.
Incidentally, I forgot the name of the Klingon captain, but discovered it via "the joy of research" wink.gif



ASSIGNMENT 2



Write down distinct reactions for each of the characters in two of the following scenarios:

PURPOSE: To understand how characters can be defined by their reactions.


1. A young couple adopts an infant. (husband/wife). The wife is overjoyed with the child she could not otherwise conceive. The husband allowed this adoption to please the wife and cease her nagging, but now that the kid is here, the mother demands endless chores for the father and he is most displeased, resulting in contempt for the new kid.

2. A man introduces his fiancée to his parents (mother/father). The man is caucasian, but his fiancee is African American. The mother is distraught at this mixed marriage. The father, on the other hand, had fallen in love with an African American in his youth but could not pursue it due to prejudices from his parents. Now he hopes he can undo this injustice by allowing his son to do what he could not.

3. An aging baseball player is sent down to the minor leagues. (player/teammates). The player was a star and he still sees himself as a star. His teammates noticed his declining and detrimental performance, but were hesitant to speak up, but now that the opportunity has come to rid their team of this "has-been", they, one by one, try to convince the oldster to leave. At first, their arguments are gentle, but then escalate to outright nastiness. The old man defends his lackluster performances with excuses (other than his age).


4. A twelve year old girl tests as a college level genius. Her teacher recommends she
apply to M.I.T. (child/child’s mother). The mother is ecstatic and gathers up all the information she can on M.I.T.'s admission process and paperwork. The daughter, however, does not want to leave home and live in a dorm. She will miss her friends, and her dog, and her life. She does not want to be "punished" just for being smart. She says that she is intelligent enough to know that joy is the most important aspect of life, and not status.

5. A single mother finds a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. (single mom/ the
shopkeeper who sees her find it). The mother praises God for sending her this blessing in her time of need. The shopkeeper, faced with bankruptcy, curses God for placing the ticket on his doorsteps as a cruel joke.

6. A brother and sister are lost in the rain forest. (brother/sister). The sister panicks and borders on having a nervous breakdown (it's a very scary rain forest). The brother, remembering his father's final words that he is now "the man of the house" becomes a stoic hero who vows to staunchly see his sister safely back home.

7. A boy accidentally kills his best friend in a hunting accident. (boy/same boy’s
father). The boy blames himself for the unfortunate death. The father strikes the son, but not for the accident. The father tells his son he must never admit it was his fault otherwise he might be faced with criminal negligence charges. Instead, he tells his son to blame the friend for his own stupidity. They will survive this ordeal, but only if they retell how the accident happened.

#3 kkffoo

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:15 AM

ASSIGNMENT 1

Mutiny on the Bounty
After a mutiny on board his ship, the Bounty, Captain Bligh has been put to sea in an open boat with members of the crew who wished to leave with him.
Fletcher Christian, the mutiny ringleader expected Bligh to sail to the nearest land and await rescue by any passing naval vessels.
This was also the expectation of the sailors who left in the small boat...but Bligh chose to sail a much longer and riskier route to reach 'civilisation' more quickly, in order to report back to naval headquarters and revenge himself on the mutineers & if possible send naval forces after them.

The ordinary sailors in the boat prefered to value their own safety, whereas Bligh was motivated by revenge.


#4 kkffoo

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

ASSIGNMENT 2



Write down distinct reactions for each of the characters in two of the following scenarios:

PURPOSE: To understand how characters can be defined by their reactions.


1. A young couple adopts an infant. (husband/wife)
The husband is incredibly ambitious for the child, having been frustrated in his own career. When it becomes obvious that the child has a learning disability he can't accept the situation.
The mother sees all the loving qualitites that her new daughter has, and this compares badly with her husband's shallow approach to life.

2. A man introduces his fiancée to his parents (mother/father)
The Mother feels threatened and worries about being replaced, the sports mad father starts a campaign for the couple to have a lot of children, so he can train them to be a cricket team.

3. An aging baseball player is sent down to the minor leagues. (player/teammates)

The player becomes bitter and twisted, especially when he spots rising stars within the team.
The teammates are at first overawed by the star in their midst, but they become disillusioned as his behaviour alienates them all.


4. A twelve year old girl tests as a college level genius. Her teacher recommends she
apply to M.I.T. (child/child’s mother).
The twelve year old had skipped school and spent the day queueing for an autograph in the mall, paying her peculiar neighbour to take the test..she is horrified and becomes 'a fish out of water' in the gifted class at school.
The mother is delighted and starts buying science books and researching how her daughter can work towards a Nobel prize in the fastest time.

5. A single mother finds a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. (single mom/ the
shopkeeper who sees her find it).
The mom sees this as an opportnity to hire a hit man and revenge herself on the missing father, who left with another woman.
The shopkeeper sees a chance to remarry (the Mom) and save his ailing business. He offers to save the Mom paying the hitman's wages by doing the job himself...win win.

6. A brother and sister are lost in the rain forest. (brother/sister).

The sister is relieved as she was due to be married to her childhood sweetheart, who had turned into a drunkard. Being lost enables her to put off making decision about her life.
The boy is desperate to get back to civilsation to attend a rock concert..his favourite group are playing a once only reunion event.

7. A boy accidentally kills his best friend in a hunting accident. (boy/same boy’s
father).

The boy is wracked with guilt and researches how he can leave the town and make his life meaningful to make up for the terrible mistake. The boy's father sees an opportunity to become a local celebrity by exploiting the tragedy, and plans to write a novel called 'The Accidental Murder'.

#5 JosephKw

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:46 PM

Ooh, you got some nice scenarios here Kate, but I gotta say that 'cricket team' dad made me ROFL. Now how many kids do I need for a baseball team?...I'd better get busy.

#6 aroundworld

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Feb 6 2013, 10:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASSIGNMENT 1



Discuss a scene in a film you're familiar with that had two or three characters in a scene that had different reactions to the same situation.


Star Trek III: the Search for Spock. Capt. James Kirk (William Shatner) is trapped on a planet with a Klingon Capt. Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), as the doomed planet Genesis is blowing itself apart. Capt. Kirk reacts by suggesting that Kruge work with him in getting off the planet. Kruge sees this as a fantastic battlefield to engage in a final duel to the death for both parties. This reflects the difference in philosophy between the human (Federation) and Klingon civilizations. The Federation strives for peaceful cooperation and co-existence, while the Klingon strives for death in glorious combat.
Incidentally, I forgot the name of the Klingon captain, but discovered it via "the joy of research" wink.gif


Great example!!!! Very clear and simple motives from both characters. Kirk is willing to make peace to save both there lives. a reasonable and sane objective. Krug, on the other hand, engages the illusion of glory in death and will stop at nothing, even his own demise, to see to it that Kirk perishes.

The contrast here, is VERY IMPORTANT to note .. and how easily it's created.









ASSIGNMENT 2



Write down distinct reactions for each of the characters in two of the following scenarios:

PURPOSE: To understand how characters can be defined by their reactions.


1. A young couple adopts an infant. (husband/wife). The wife is overjoyed with the child she could not otherwise conceive. The husband allowed this adoption to please the wife and cease her nagging, but now that the kid is here, the mother demands endless chores for the father and he is most displeased, resulting in contempt for the new kid.

BRAVO! Well done! SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE reason for conflict excellent!!


2. A man introduces his fiancée to his parents (mother/father). The man is caucasian, but his fiancee is African American. The mother is distraught at this mixed marriage. The father, on the other hand, had fallen in love with an African American in his youth but could not pursue it due to prejudices from his parents. Now he hopes he can undo this injustice by allowing his son to do what he could not.

GREAT CONFLICT HERE!!!!


3. An aging baseball player is sent down to the minor leagues. (player/teammates). The player was a star and he still sees himself as a star. His teammates noticed his declining and detrimental performance, but were hesitant to speak up, but now that the opportunity has come to rid their team of this "has-been", they, one by one, try to convince the oldster to leave. At first, their arguments are gentle, but then escalate to outright nastiness. The old man defends his lackluster performances with excuses (other than his age).


This works, nice job!!


4. A twelve year old girl tests as a college level genius. Her teacher recommends she
apply to M.I.T. (child/child’s mother). The mother is ecstatic and gathers up all the information she can on M.I.T.'s admission process and paperwork. The daughter, however, does not want to leave home and live in a dorm. She will miss her friends, and her dog, and her life. She does not want to be "punished" just for being smart. She says that she is intelligent enough to know that joy is the most important aspect of life, and not status.



5. A single mother finds a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. (single mom/ the
shopkeeper who sees her find it). The mother praises God for sending her this blessing in her time of need. The shopkeeper, faced with bankruptcy, curses God for placing the ticket on his doorsteps as a cruel joke.

6. A brother and sister are lost in the rain forest. (brother/sister). The sister panicks and borders on having a nervous breakdown (it's a very scary rain forest). The brother, remembering his father's final words that he is now "the man of the house" becomes a stoic hero who vows to staunchly see his sister safely back home.

7. A boy accidentally kills his best friend in a hunting accident. (boy/same boy’s
father). The boy blames himself for the unfortunate death. The father strikes the son, but not for the accident. The father tells his son he must never admit it was his fault otherwise he might be faced with criminal negligence charges. Instead, he tells his son to blame the friend for his own stupidity. They will survive this ordeal, but only if they retell how the accident happened.

Great drama here. Clear conflict born out of self preservation. Take a bow!!!



JK, these all work very well. Imaginative, full of conflict with clear motives on the part of each character, and you did it in on paragraph!!!! EXCELLENT!!


There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#7 aroundworld

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Feb 6 2013, 11:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASSIGNMENT 1

Mutiny on the Bounty
After a mutiny on board his ship, the Bounty, Captain Bligh has been put to sea in an open boat with members of the crew who wished to leave with him.
Fletcher Christian, the mutiny ringleader expected Bligh to sail to the nearest land and await rescue by any passing naval vessels.
This was also the expectation of the sailors who left in the small boat...but Bligh chose to sail a much longer and riskier route to reach 'civilisation' more quickly, in order to report back to naval headquarters and revenge himself on the mutineers & if possible send naval forces after them.

The ordinary sailors in the boat prefered to value their own safety, whereas Bligh was motivated by revenge.


GREAT JOB, KATE!!! Excellent breakdown!! See how a large situation was represented by TWO MAIN characters?
These two characters brought the conflict to the fore. Christian and Bligh manifested the conflict in a larger story.

The sailors faced the same conflict in the small boat that brought Bligh to face mutiny. This is highlighted by an obvious choice for a better chance of survival, but Bligh passes on it and takes the tiny boat on journey of almost certain destruction.

IF! The sailors stay with Christian they'll eventually hang, if they go with Bligh, they will almost certainly die on the sea.



Your characters are all well defined. Easy to embrace and imagine in a larger story!!! EXCELLENT!!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#8 aroundworld

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Feb 6 2013, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASSIGNMENT 2



Write down distinct reactions for each of the characters in two of the following scenarios:

PURPOSE: To understand how characters can be defined by their reactions.


1. A young couple adopts an infant. (husband/wife)
The husband is incredibly ambitious for the child, having been frustrated in his own career. When it becomes obvious that the child has a learning disability he can't accept the situation.
The mother sees all the loving qualitites that her new daughter has, and this compares badly with her husband's shallow approach to life.


Well done! VERY CLEAR CONFLICT defining the characters.


2. A man introduces his fiancée to his parents (mother/father)
The Mother feels threatened and worries about being replaced, the sports mad father starts a campaign for the couple to have a lot of children, so he can train them to be a cricket team.

Nice situation for a comedy!! Again, great reactions telling us who these people are.


3. An aging baseball player is sent down to the minor leagues. (player/teammates)

The player becomes bitter and twisted, especially when he spots rising stars within the team.
The teammates are at first overawed by the star in their midst, but they become disillusioned as his behaviour alienates them all.

Good insight on the situation, reading into emotions that would populate this kind of situation and define our characters as well as represent a larger story. smile.gif



4. A twelve year old girl tests as a college level genius. Her teacher recommends she
apply to M.I.T. (child/child’s mother). The twelve year old had skipped school and spent the day queueing for an autograph in the mall, paying her peculiar neighbour to take the test..she is horrified and becomes 'a fish out of water' in the gifted class at school. The mother is delighted and starts buying science books and researching how her daughter can work towards a Nobel prize in the fastest time.

HA HA HA HA!!! FANTASTIC!! VERY VERY CLEAR!!! The genius doesn't care and the stand in's are reacting under an illusion.


5. A single mother finds a winning lottery ticket lying in the street. (single mom/ the
shopkeeper who sees her find it). The mom sees this as an opportnity to hire a hit man and revenge herself on the missing father, who left with another woman. The shopkeeper sees a chance to remarry (the Mom) and save his ailing business. He offers to save the Mom paying the hitman's wages by doing the job himself...win win.

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!!!!!! OMG!!! This would be hilarious!!! excellent!!



6. A brother and sister are lost in the rain forest. (brother/sister).

The sister is relieved as she was due to be married to her childhood sweetheart, who had turned into a drunkard. Being lost enables her to put off making decision about her life.
The boy is desperate to get back to civilsation to attend a rock concert..his favourite group are playing a once only reunion event.


Two comical and very different reactions WITH REASONS that define our characters priorities and personalities. Great job.




7. A boy accidentally kills his best friend in a hunting accident. (boy/same boy’s
father).

The boy is wracked with guilt and researches how he can leave the town and make his life meaningful to make up for the terrible mistake. The boy's father sees an opportunity to become a local celebrity by exploiting the tragedy, and plans to write a novel called 'The Accidental Murder'.

A sorry title for a book! HAHA! A dark comedy to be sure!!!! totally dysfunctional and a very clear sketch about who these people are.


Excellent character definition in every situation... I could tell who these people are and imagine them coming to life. Take a bow! EXCELLENT!!!



There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#9 aroundworld

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

Before we move on, is there anything you guy would like to discuss about how reactions define character? What about subtle reactions to situations? How can subtle reactions also define character?


What films have you seen that have subtle reactions by two or more characters to the same situation?

Why did these reactions work to define the character?




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#10 kkffoo

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

I think I am maybe straying from the intent of the question here, but this one is a tricky one to answer.
I'm thinking more about how an individual actor approaches a part, rather than as part of the screenplay itself.

Men playing 'women'.
Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie.
Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire
& Rupert Everett as Miss Fritton in the modern St Trinian's movies.

All 'pantomime dames', though maybe Dustin makes the most convincing woman, and I find myself wanting her/him to win.
I feel that Robin Williams invests himself less in the character, and plays for laughs, and for me, I like the movie less because of it.
There's something about Rupert Everett's performance which I find very appealing. He injects huge warmth and affection into his portrayal, in subtle facial expresions, the way he looks at other characters and the sense of humour 'behind the eyes'.


Maybe some of the subtlety is beyond the realm of the script writer, and in the approach of the actor...something about chemistry with a role?


#11 aroundworld

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:24 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Feb 7 2013, 10:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think I am maybe straying from the intent of the question here, but this one is a tricky one to answer.
I'm thinking more about how an individual actor approaches a part, rather than as part of the screenplay itself.

Men playing 'women'.
Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie.
Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire
& Rupert Everett as Miss Fritton in the modern St Trinian's movies.

All 'pantomime dames', though maybe Dustin makes the most convincing woman, and I find myself wanting her/him to win.
I feel that Robin Williams invests himself less in the character, and plays for laughs, and for me, I like the movie less because of it.
There's something about Rupert Everett's performance which I find very appealing. He injects huge warmth and affection into his portrayal, in subtle facial expresions, the way he looks at other characters and the sense of humour 'behind the eyes'.


Maybe some of the subtlety is beyond the realm of the script writer, and in the approach of the actor...something about chemistry with a role?



Although you strayed beyond the intent of the question, I think you actually expanded on it.


"I'm thinking more about how an individual actor approaches a part, rather than as part of the screenplay itself."

That is definitely a valid angle to consider this question from! Hoffman, Williams and Everett all approach similar rolls differently. That dove-tails nicely into the question at hand because the their intent ultimately feeds the motivation of the character.


"Maybe some of the subtlety is beyond the realm of the script writer, and in the approach of the actor...something about chemistry with a role?"

Absolutely!!! The actors always breath life into the writers characters. I agree, the subtalty IS with the actors and even the director (writer) if that is the case.

SO! We can say that defining a character begins with finding the right actor? Yes!

But what feeds the actor's choices; the director, the script, the actor, the supporting actor or supporting actor?
In many cases, I think all of the above.


Characters aren't defined in a vacuum, they always react to something that reveals WHO THEY ARE!


Great observation Kate, thank you!!








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#12 JosephKw

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:43 AM

Gads, even though I read this supplemental assignment, for the life of me I can't think of any example of subtle reactions in films. I'm sure some great ones exist, but I just can't remember any. It's the drastic differences that we remember. The subtle ones often make the characters blend together, thus making them less memorable.

However, in an attempt to try to come up with something...how's this: Scooby-Doo and his owner Shaggy are always cowards, and run from whatever threat their team is investigating. Although alike in many ways, one difference which I recall is Scooby's love of "scooby snacks", and yummy junk food in general. There are times when both Shaggy and Scooby run for their lives, but once they pass by some food, Scooby will inevitably stop and grab a bite before continuing to flee for his life. This shows his priorities in life (and death) situations. I believe he even exhibits bravery and courage against intimidating foes if offered a "scooby snack" as a reward.

On a side note, I believe a character is defined by the script, director, and actor/actress. Who has the greatest influence depends on the individuals involved (a famous scriptwriter would take precedence over an unknown director and actor, whereas a name academy-award-winning performer would be given more latitude (and rightly so) in portraying their given role. Even in my machinima films, I would give less direction to voice performers who are known for their acting prowess, and only limit them to lines which may be open to interpretation which I have a specific tone in mind.

#13 aroundworld

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Feb 8 2013, 4:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Gads, even though I read this supplemental assignment, for the life of me I can't think of any example of subtle reactions in films. I'm sure some great ones exist, but I just can't remember any. It's the drastic differences that we remember. The subtle ones often make the characters blend together, thus making them less memorable.

Great observation, JK! Subtleties can blend even the most commanding characters IF they're not established first. Once a character's roll in a story is firmly established they can communicate with only a look and it will be noticed.


In Hunt For Red October, Sean Connery tells his officer's soem some hair reaising news then a subtle line amplifies his character (Capt Ramious') calm resolution .... "More tea anyone?" This Further imbeds who Ramious is and how in control he is.



However, in an attempt to try to come up with something...how's this: Scooby-Doo and his owner Shaggy are always cowards, and run from whatever threat their team is investigating. Although alike in many ways, one difference which I recall is Scooby's love of "scooby snacks", and yummy junk food in general. There are times when both Shaggy and Scooby run for their lives, but once they pass by some food, Scooby will inevitably stop and grab a bite before continuing to flee for his life. This shows his priorities in life (and death) situations. I believe he even exhibits bravery and courage against intimidating foes if offered a "scooby snack" as a reward.


These actions firmly establish Scooby's identity, and amplify what we imagine a dog might do.... hahaha



On a side note, I believe a character is defined by the script, director, and actor/actress. Who has the greatest influence depends on the individuals involved (a famous scriptwriter would take precedence over an unknown director and actor, whereas a name academy-award-winning performer would be given more latitude (and rightly so) in portraying their given role. Even in my machinima films, I would give less direction to voice performers who are known for their acting prowess, and only limit them to lines which may be open to interpretation which I have a specific tone in mind.


Wonderful observation, and from experience too! Amazing what goes onto DEFINING A CHARACTER. smile.gif



JK, these are great observations and right on the mark! Thank you!!!

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#14 aroundworld

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:28 PM

Moral Choices



Okay, now that we’ve looked at distinct reactions to the same scenes, let’s look at a related
topic:


Moral Choices.

Like distinct reactions, these are choices made by the characters. In this instance, the
choices are not always immediately clear and usually involve some degree of moral
ambiguity.

Moral choices, like distinct reactions, also reveal character.
As an example, consider an unemployed father of three who finds an expensive watch on
the subway.

He is now faced with a moral choice. Does he turn the watch over to the transit authority
so that it can be claimed by its rightful owner or does he sell it to feed his family?
This is a moral choice. Let’s take a look at another moral choice in Ron Howard’s movie, Cinderella Man.


Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe) returns home to find out that his son has
stolen a salami from the neighborhood butcher. In previous scenes the family was teetering
on the verge of starvation so it’s understandable why a ten year old boy might steal food
for his family.

When Russell Crowe marches his son back to the butcher’s and returns the salami, it’s a
moral choice made by the character that informs the audience greatly of his steadfast
moral fiber.


ASSIGNMENT



Please give me three examples of a moral choice made by a character in movies you've
seen. For the third example, use a choice a character from your own story has made.






There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#15 kkffoo

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

Groundhog day
The Bill Murray character realises that he can do whatever he likes in a consequence free environment and basis of the movie is him finding out that what works for him is to be kind to others, even if they forget all about it the next day.
He makes a series of choices, and even tries various ways of killing himself.
The whole movie is based around his choices and his character development is shown in the process.

Star Trek (story arc)
Picard is assimilated into the borg collective, and they use his knowledge to fight the federation.
This whole story arc is so thought provoking, not least because of the acting performance of Patrick S and his reactions in the aftermath.
He has a situation where he is unable to make choices, his will is overwhelmed by the 'collective' and yet he rebukes himself for failing to fight back.
This resonates with so many situations.
In Star trek there is of course a strong fantasy element, and Picard eventually gets the chance to fight back so it becomes a collective myth.
Compare this with Sophie's Choice..where a mother is forced to choose between her children after being captured by the Nazis...again the film focuses on the aftermath,
see also 1984.. (I haven't seen the film, just the book) the central character is destroyed by the choice he makes...in extremis he asks for the torture to happen to his lover instead of himself...he is is forced into a place of weakness and sees his darkest self and then cannot unsee that.

In my story Maggy tries to save James on the tower, even though she does not succeed.



#16 aroundworld

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Feb 10 2013, 10:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Groundhog day
The Bill Murray character realises that he can do whatever he likes in a consequence free environment and basis of the movie is him finding out that what works for him is to be kind to others, even if they forget all about it the next day.
He makes a series of choices, and even tries various ways of killing himself.
The whole movie is based around his choices and his character development is shown in the process.

Star Trek (story arc)
Picard is assimilated into the borg collective, and they use his knowledge to fight the federation.
This whole story arc is so thought provoking, not least because of the acting performance of Patrick S and his reactions in the aftermath.
He has a situation where he is unable to make choices, his will is overwhelmed by the 'collective' and yet he rebukes himself for failing to fight back.
This resonates with so many situations.
In Star trek there is of course a strong fantasy element, and Picard eventually gets the chance to fight back so it becomes a collective myth.
Compare this with Sophie's Choice..where a mother is forced to choose between her children after being captured by the Nazis...again the film focuses on the aftermath,
see also 1984.. (I haven't seen the film, just the book) the central character is destroyed by the choice he makes...in extremism he asks for the torture to happen to his lover instead of himself...he is is forced into a place of weakness and sees his darkest self and then cannot unsee that.

In my story Maggy tries to save James on the tower, even though she does not succeed.



In all these examples, we see how the MORAL choice of the character moves the story forward. The most intriguing choices in films, are those that create conflict; choices like Sophie had to make.

The character makes a choice for one thing while risking another or losing it all together.


In our own writing, its important to push the character in a corner MAKE THEM DECIDE right or wrong. BUT the choice MUST COST THEM SOMETHING.


Great examples and observations!!! Kate! Thank you!!!


There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#17 JosephKw

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:07 AM

[/color][color="#FF0000"]Moral Choice Examples:

#1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Sarah Connor has learned that the evil computer, Skynet, was created by programmer Miles Dyson. Now Sarah has the oppportunity to perform a retroactive abortion on Skynet by killing Dyson before he completes his invention (a great twist since the original Terminator was sent to kill her so her own son wouldn't be born). Sarah breaks into Dyson's home and holds him at gunpoint. She now has to make a moral choice between killing an innocent man, or allowing him to live and risk the destruction of all mankind at the "hands" of Skynet. This is a difficult task for Sarah since she is obsessed with the preservation of humanity, yet she is a moral person at heart who at the end could not murder Dyson despite the horrific consequences her mercy might result in. The choice reveals Sarah to be a true heroine, who eventually (with the aid of her son), finds an alternative solution to the Skynet threat.

#2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir, one of the handful of warriors sworn to protect Frodo Baggins on his perilous quest to destroy the Ring of Doom, finds himself alone with Frodo. He has made an oath to assist Frodo with his mission, but also made a promise to his father, Lord Denethor, to deliver the Ring to him. Which promise should he keep? Boromir eventually decides to take the Ring so he could give it to his father, thus betraying his oath to the Fellowship. His decision shows his character's qualities. Later in the films, two other humans are presented with the same temptation (Aragorn and Faramir--Boromir's brother), but they resist the lure of the Ring and demonstrate their virtue where Boromir has failed. These moral choices elevate those who resist the temptation into true heroes (since most mortals are likely to fall when given the same opportunity).

#3. Unfortunately my stories about Dett the assassin and Mel Ein the founder of Purgatory Park don't involve any true moral questions (one is trying to survive the mob, and the other to stay financially afloat while operating a business). So I'll use my latest film, "Pickman's Model" as an example.

Pickman is an artist who has gained fame through his macabre and realistic paintings. His secret to success is his ability to eyewitness the slaughter of innocents by flesh-eating ghouls (literally). He keeps quiet about these monsters since they are the source of his bread and butter, even though it will result in the death of countless others. In the end, his secret is laid bare and he is confronted with this knowing silence. He defends his stance, claiming that he did not directly kill these victims. The moral choice by Pickman reveals him to be no different than the monsters he paints since he, like them, lives off the deaths of innocents. The ending needs to be seen to be believed, and you can do that right here...
PICKMAN'S MODEL by JosephKw
Grand Prize winner of the 2012 Horror Fest Competition
RATE MY MOVIE!!!


Was that a shameless plug or what?

#18 aroundworld

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Feb 15 2013, 7:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[/color][color="#FF0000"]Moral Choice Examples:

#1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Sarah Connor has learned that the evil computer, Skynet, was created by programmer Miles Dyson. Now Sarah has the opportunity to perform a retroactive abortion on Skynet by killing Dyson before he completes his invention (a great twist since the original Terminator was sent to kill her so her own son wouldn't be born). Sarah breaks into Dyson's home and holds him at gunpoint. She now has to make a moral choice between killing an innocent man, or allowing him to live and risk the destruction of all mankind at the "hands" of Skynet. This is a difficult task for Sarah since she is obsessed with the preservation of humanity, yet she is a moral person at heart who at the end could not murder Dyson despite the horrific consequences her mercy might result in. The choice reveals Sarah to be a true heroine, who eventually (with the aid of her son), finds an alternative solution to the Skynet threat.

Fantastic example!!! This is the kind of dilemma that makes movies work!! Excellent. The art of using moral choices effectively, is making them clear.

Making them relatable with CLEAR, CONCRETE , SOLID reasons to make these MORAL CHOICES.


#2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir, one of the handful of warriors sworn to protect Frodo Baggins on his perilous quest to destroy the Ring of Doom, finds himself alone with Frodo. He has made an oath to assist Frodo with his mission, but also made a promise to his father, Lord Denethor, to deliver the Ring to him. Which promise should he keep? Boromir eventually decides to take the Ring so he could give it to his father, thus betraying his oath to the Fellowship. His decision shows his character's qualities. Later in the films, two other humans are presented with the same temptation (Aragorn and Faramir--Boromir's brother), but they resist the lure of the Ring and demonstrate their virtue where Boromir has failed. These moral choices elevate those who resist the temptation into true heroes (since most mortals are likely to fall when given the same opportunity).

#3. Unfortunately my stories about Dett the assassin and Mel Ein the founder of Purgatory Park don't involve any true moral questions (one is trying to survive the mob, and the other to stay financially afloat while operating a business). So I'll use my latest film, "Pickman's Model" as an example.

Pickman is an artist who has gained fame through his macabre and realistic paintings. His secret to success is his ability to eyewitness the slaughter of innocents by flesh-eating ghouls (literally). He keeps quiet about these monsters since they are the source of his bread and butter, even though it will result in the death of countless others. In the end, his secret is laid bare and he is confronted with this knowing silence. He defends his stance, claiming that he did not directly kill these victims. The moral choice by Pickman reveals him to be no different than the monsters he paints since he, like them, lives off the deaths of innocents. The ending needs to be seen to be believed, and you can do that right here...
PICKMAN'S MODEL by JosephKw
Grand Prize winner of the 2012 Horror Fest Competition
RATE MY MOVIE!!!


Was that a shameless plug or what?


HA HA HA HA!!

This was a great movie.... This is the kind of movie that makes people want more yo did a great job on this.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#19 aroundworld

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Feb 15 2013, 7:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
[/color][color="#FF0000"]Moral Choice Examples:

#1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Sarah Connor has learned that the evil computer, Skynet, was created by programmer Miles Dyson. Now Sarah has the opportunity to perform a retroactive abortion on Skynet by killing Dyson before he completes his invention (a great twist since the original Terminator was sent to kill her so her own son wouldn't be born). Sarah breaks into Dyson's home and holds him at gunpoint. She now has to make a moral choice between killing an innocent man, or allowing him to live and risk the destruction of all mankind at the "hands" of Skynet. This is a difficult task for Sarah since she is obsessed with the preservation of humanity, yet she is a moral person at heart who at the end could not murder Dyson despite the horrific consequences her mercy might result in. The choice reveals Sarah to be a true heroine, who eventually (with the aid of her son), finds an alternative solution to the Skynet threat.

Fantastic example!!! This is the kind of dilemma that makes movies work!! Excellent. The art of using moral choices effectively, is making them clear.

Making them relatable with CLEAR, CONCRETE , SOLID reasons to make these MORAL CHOICES.


#2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir, one of the handful of warriors sworn to protect Frodo Baggins on his perilous quest to destroy the Ring of Doom, finds himself alone with Frodo. He has made an oath to assist Frodo with his mission, but also made a promise to his father, Lord Denethor, to deliver the Ring to him. Which promise should he keep? Boromir eventually decides to take the Ring so he could give it to his father, thus betraying his oath to the Fellowship. His decision shows his character's qualities. Later in the films, two other humans are presented with the same temptation (Aragorn and Faramir--Boromir's brother), but they resist the lure of the Ring and demonstrate their virtue where Boromir has failed. These moral choices elevate those who resist the temptation into true heroes (since most mortals are likely to fall when given the same opportunity).

#3. Unfortunately my stories about Dett the assassin and Mel Ein the founder of Purgatory Park don't involve any true moral questions (one is trying to survive the mob, and the other to stay financially afloat while operating a business). So I'll use my latest film, "Pickman's Model" as an example.

Pickman is an artist who has gained fame through his macabre and realistic paintings. His secret to success is his ability to eyewitness the slaughter of innocents by flesh-eating ghouls (literally). He keeps quiet about these monsters since they are the source of his bread and butter, even though it will result in the death of countless others. In the end, his secret is laid bare and he is confronted with this knowing silence. He defends his stance, claiming that he did not directly kill these victims. The moral choice by Pickman reveals him to be no different than the monsters he paints since he, like them, lives off the deaths of innocents. The ending needs to be seen to be believed, and you can do that right here...
PICKMAN'S MODEL by JosephKw
Grand Prize winner of the 2012 Horror Fest Competition
RATE MY MOVIE!!!


Was that a shameless plug or what?


HA HA HA HA!!

This was a great movie.... This is the kind of movie that makes people want more yo did a great job on this.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#20 aroundworld

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:21 PM

QUOTE (aroundworld @ Feb 16 2013, 4:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HA HA HA HA!!

This was a great movie.... This is the kind of movie that makes people want more yo did a great job on this.


There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153



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