25 July 2010

Something to Think About

One thing Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston harped on about animation until they died was seeing a character think. You could call it the big Frank and Ollie catchphrase: "What is he thinking?"

Something about watching the wheels turn in a character's head is fascinating and uniquely human, not just emotion, but levels of comprehension; inner monologue. You could argue that the main thing a character needs to display is feelings. Malarkey! Puppies have feelings!
Even the bastardized, brainless versions of established characters they slap on the front of video boxes have feelings.
See? They all feel happy. God only knows why.

But what makes an enduring character more than a office calendar picture is that whole brain thing. The audience can see what these guys are thinking.
Even in "cheaper" venues, there's opportunity to show character thought processes at work.
Or what they're failing to comprehend.

If they're restraining an impulse

Figuring out something slowly,
Or very, very quickly.
It's a basic point, and others have pontificated about it more eloquently and with more authority and years of experience than I have to offer. But, that the secret to creating real, believable people, rather than just cartoon symbols might lie in displaying their cognitive processes as well as their emotional reactions...
...Is still something to think about.

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