Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As an animator trying to create a character, the crucial thing for me to understand isn’t just WHAT a character physically does. The crucial thing for me is WHY that character acts the way it does.

This encompasses all aspects of the character’s psychological and physical makeup. For me to convincingly draw a character, I have to animate that character from the inside…not manipulate him/her from the outside.

As a writer, I approach a story the same way. Before I can begin telling my story, I have to know what events in the characters’ lives led up to that very moment at which I choose to start my tale. What are they looking for? Why are they looking to accomplish their particular goal? How are these characters’ goals at crossed purposes to each other? That is the conflict that I want to understand before I go down the story road, following the characters as they battle each other.

(Note: I am not satisfied with simplistic “good guys” against “bad guys” plots. Protagonists are not all good, and antagonists are not all bad. They all have shades of gray in their personalities that if developed properly will make them richer characters that will be more relatable and entertaining to the audience.)

Once I understand those things, then I can start experimenting as to how the characters’ physical appearances can represent who they emotionally are. How can the design of one character play against the other to create tension on the screen?

Conflict/tension and resolution are the essence of a good story. And a good story can be shown in the characters’ actions with a minimum of dialog. Showing, not telling, is the best way to entertain an audience.

As a decorative element for this posting, here is a rough of Boba Fett from the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

                                                                                                                                 Rough Drawing: John Celestri

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