Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Doll's House

Some people asked me just now, how do you create characters.

I don't. I take existing ones in the real world, and I make it simpler, because story world is always less complicated than the normal world.

I read up a lot on psychology - classic, new wave, whatever I can get my hands on. There is also story logic which influences a lot of characterisation.

When establishing a character, it is best not to say too much. Most of the image is created by the viewer, like how an iconic image is more accessible than a more detailed one.

Japanese manga and anime makes good use of silence as well as full-on exposition. It's an art culture of extremes.

I am most interested in their treatment of silence. Hideaki Anno, for example, uses a lot of silence and static long shots (a long shot in his definition wouyld be less than 5 seconds), even word placards juxtaposed against a more cartoony, over-animated style in Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou.

Reason? KareKano is basically a romance story where a lot of the emotions being conveyed are tender ones and deal with a more gentle nature of the human heart.

Compare that to Anno's raunchy Re: Cutie Honey and the 2004 Cutie Honey film where the boobs in your face is just one example of his loud style.

In comics, Gaiman uses silent panels to amazing effect, simply because his characters are usually wordy without being expository.

The thing with silent pauses, short still pans or wordless panels in animation or comics is that it allows for the communication of more complex emotions and thoughts, which can only be created by the viewers themselves, inside their heads.

And they are more ready to accept it if they thought they came up with the 'correct' mood or feeling that is 'intended' by the storyteller.

When you master dialogue and silence, 3D characters are born inside the minds of audiences.

Of course, in a production, the directors and actors or artists also play a huge part in the execution, making it or breaking it.