“To live a creative life we must lose all fear of being wrong” Joseph Chilton Pearce
Since the 29th of January 2013, I've been taking part in creative writing workshops by Jane Hankin a writer with a background in acting, training and directing and Steve May an animation director & freelance illustrator based in London (UK) who has been running 3 design classes for us at university. The two guests have both been very encouraging and supportive of the work I'm planning to produce for my final majour project.
This post focuses more on the art of character and storytelling from Jane.
From Steve's classes I have had my film ideas changed as from the start I wanted to do somethign quite adventurous and abstract almost, but seeing it was early days I decided to allow myself to be open on my final project idea.
Steve's classes have helped me to really make my animation film very streamlined and simple with no complications as the story is very clear and understandable. In combination with the sessions from Jane's classes I have learnt and covered many topics concerning character and what makes a good story.
I have learnt that a good character helps to drive the story forward, along with four key factors about character (voice, surprise, conflict and detail).
Voice - This is about communication, as "dialog is what characters do to each other". In this we are taught to understand that each gesture a character makes is to carry meaning. As every part of the dialogue pushes the sstory forward.
Surprise - "People can be surprising." Jane shared with us that the audience doesnt need every bit of detail explained to them, instead allow them to work things out by themselves by simply allowing the scene to express the detail of the person characters.
Conflic - Through conflict (an action of some sort) a ersons character is revealed. This is important because a character must always be at the centre of things. Conflict allows us to see character and this is done through a series of obstacles and scenarios - asking what will this person do in a certain situation, perhaps they're pinned to the wall and have no way out but a path they fear treading? Or let's say a character's being hunted down, what does he/she do? Do they decide to become the hunter or the hunted? This is set up so we can see truly who this character really is and so conflict allows a persons character to be revealed.
Detail - In terms of Character:
A has to be truthful, believeable to an audience, otherwise people may lose interest in a character i.e. why should they care about your character? Whats so important that they should care? Why do you want them to care? It's all in the detail, characters need to be multi-facetted (have different sides to them) to bring some significance to them and their purpose.
Detail - In terms of Detail:
Where are we? (Where is the story set? What age are we in or what type of universe are we being introduced to?) Setting the scene is vital to any story so getting the detail correct is imperitive. As this leads to the storyworld of any story/character. The best way to explain the detail in any story is to describe the environment, describe where we - as the audience are and establish key things about this world. I guess you could simple ask, Who, What, When and Why for this - but all of this is done to make a connection between character and audience or storyteller and audience.
Overall I'm glad to have had these sessions and thank the tutors for organising them, also a big thank you to both Steve May and Jane Hankin for their support - thanks guy's your the best.
Guest tutor links:
Steve May - http://stevemay.biz/home/
Jane Hankin - http://www.janehankin.com/Jane_Hankin/Welcome.html