Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Character Development Tools

Do the Story Engine Steps First:
Theme and Dilemma
Protagonist Antagonist Conflict
Character Functions

Some More Tools:
25 things a Great Character Needs
More Character Tips

Character Templates 
(based on the life spheres)


Simple Template For Side Characters:
Full Name and (Nickname)
Basic Character Description
Goal in the Story/Objective:
Basic Personal Drive/Story specific Need:
Outlook
Attitude: 
Basic Arc:
Story related and Character Functions:
Other Archetypes
Characterization___________
Personality:
Physical Attributes:
Social Attributes:
Demographic Stats:
Beliefs and Morals:
Background:
Aspirations:



In Depth Character Template for Main Characters:

Full Character Name_(Nickname)_______________________________
Character Basics
Basic Character Description
Goal in the Story/Objective:
Basic Personal Drive/Story specific Need:
Outlook
Attitude: 
Basic Arc
Main Dilemma:
Story related Functions:
Other Archetypes:
Character Details
Physical/Body
Age:
Gender:
Ethnicity/Kind/Species:
Physical Description (Body type,Weight, Height, Hair Color, Eye Color, Complexion, Physical oddities):Physical Limitations (allergies, illnesses, handicaps, Chemical dependency):
Fashion (hair style, apparel, eyewear, common accessories):
Most Desired Physical State:
Most feared Physical State:
Important/ Sentimental Objects and Places
Emotional/Soul/Mind
Basic personality description:
Basic Desire/Pressure/Idol (see P-type):
Basic Fear/Distress/most afraid of (see P-type):
Potential Personality Disorder Traits/Villainous side, darkside (P-type disorder):
Enneagram attributes
Mental Strengths:
Mental Weaknesses:
Virtues/Hero Side:
Overall Emotional Level:
Quirks and Character Windows:
Vices:
Important Favorites (food, entertainments, places etc):
Sexual Preferences/fantasies:
Natural Talents:
Acquired Abilities:
Artistic/musical?:
Pastimes/hobbies:
Social Sphere
Relational Strengths/Confidences:
Relational Weaknesses/Fears:
Masks (around who, what they are and what’s behind them, home, work, family, friends):
Best Friends:
Friends and Allies:
Notable Acquaintances:
Opponents:
Major Social Spheres Involved in:
Family:
Relationship Status:
Children:
Pets:
Cultural Status/Demographic
Income:
Living Situation/Location:
Transportation:
Education:
Standing/rank/class/etc:
Morals/Beliefs
Religious Beliefs:
Political beliefs:
Current Morals/Definition of Justice:
Traditions Raised with:
Values raised with:
The Character in Time/ Background
Childhood:
Traumas:
Family:
Criminal Past:
Best things to ever happen to them:
Most Remembered Moments:
Oddest things that happened to them:
Biggest Regrets:
Background story:
Character Dreams and Purpose
Why they get up every morning?:
Driving obsessions:
Dreams, Aspirations:
Where they see themselves in 10 years:
What makes them feel like they have Fulfillment and Purpose:
What makes them feel Meaningless, Empty, purposeless:

Useful Creative Writing Links

Just a collection of websites I find useful:
http://storymind.com/
http://dramatica.com/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Color Red - Animatic - Exerpt



View Full Screen.

I felt like boarding a blade runner inspired crime noir sequence. And this is the animatic with rough sound.

samples:

An Airship Altercation Animatic

View Full Screen

I boarded this just to have some fun and draw an action sequence.

This is a silent Animatic I made to see the board timed out. I haven't gotten around to adding sound.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Skye having fun

Just playing with the new way I picture her

Reid and Nora Sketch

Reid and Nora going over plans.


Is it a good idea or a bad idea?

I found this in "Save the Cat Strikes Back" and I like to look through it when I have a new Idea.

Seven Warning signs that I might have a good idea:
- I love talking about my story; I’m eager to share what I’m working on and get reactions to it.
- I have no fear my idea will be stolen! No one can tell this story like I can, and in fact someone I tell may give me insight I didn’t have before.
- I increase the magic when I say it out loud. It lets the world know I’m a writer with lots of great ideas.
- I can’t “lose” an idea; it will only get better the more I work on it.
- I look for potential flaws in the logic knowing they are an opportunity to make my story stronger.
 - Even if someone wrote my story before, I can come up with a new twist that will make my version the best.
- I have a great story and that means I have great scenes - they serve my story, not detract from it!

Seven Warning Signs I might have a BAD idea:
- Fear of telling anyone about it.
- Fear it might be stolen.
- Fear that saying it out loud might spoil the “magic”
- Fear that if I don’t write it fast, I’ll lose it
- Lack of basic logic points - which I chose to ignore!
- Lot’s of great “scenes,” but no story
- Not researching to see if someone already did this


Citation: “Save the Cat Strikes back!” - Blake Snyder

Note: As far as getting your idea stolen I believe it's true that if the idea is original and good enough that no one else can do it as well as you can. But I do believe one should be careful with pitching because if the idea is good enough someone else can take it an ruin it. It's a fine balance between being brave and not being dumb.

Visual Contrast and Affinity

I pulled these from "The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media By Bruce Block." I like to keep them in mind when I am storyboarding.

Story: 
Intensity

Space:
Flat/Deep
Ambiguous/Recognizable
Open/Closed
Surface Divisions

Line:
Quality _ | /
Intensity
Direction 

Shape:
2D/3D
Circle, Square, Triangle

Color:
Hue
Brightness (s/a tonal range)
saturation
Warm/Cool
Complementary

Tone:
Incident/reflectance
Coincidence/non-coincidence

Movement:
Object direction
Object Fast/Slow
Continuum of Movement
2D/3D

Rhythm:
Stationary objects - Fast/Slow
Stationary objects - Regular/Irregular
Moving Objects - Fast/Slow
Moving Objects - Regular/Irregular
Editorial - Fast/Slow
Editorial - Regular/Irregular
Continuous/Fragmented

See the book for more information.

Scene and Plot Building

First see the Story Development Steps.

After you get the 40 beats and your overall story working you can block out your scenes and plot out your story.

Makeup of the Character
Visualize:
Attitude:
How others in the scene see them:
Character Handles:
What is the Context?
What is the overall context of this scene?
What do they think about that?
What do they feel about that?
What happened RIGHT before this scene?
What do they think about that?
What do they feel about that?
What is the Current Situation?
Need:
What’s at stake?
Hope:
What is the current relationship to the other character?
Antagonist (or dramatic opposing force):
Conflict:
Current Environment
Location:
Forces:
What is the relationship to the location and major objects?
What is the Characters Strategy?
Goal:
Expected outcome:
Strategy:
Actions:
Road Map:
Emotional triggers:
Arc (transformation):

Scene
Setup:
Inciting incident:
Rising action:
Climax:

Resolution:


Another method:
Object and Filling in Plot
This is the tool to build the plot from the major story elements.

There is an object at the end of the script, at the end of each act, and at the end of each scene.
The object is the goal set by the writer. It may be the goal or the protagoist or the antagoist depending on what part of the story.

One builds the plot based on each object.

Order of events from one point to another:

- Starting point
- Initial Act of Aggression (by antagonist or protagonist)
- Justified retaliation 
- Aggravation of the issue
- cause leading to another cause leading to another cause.
- Precipitating Act
- Immediate cause of final effect
- Final effect (how goal is achieved)
- Object (decided outcome by the writer can be the goal of the antagonist or protagonist)

The best way to work is to decide on the object then work back through the major steps that lead to that object.

Each of the above steps can represent major story points if the final object is the end of the script. They can represent actual scenes if the final object is the end of the act and they can represent actual character actions if the final object is the end of a scene.

It's best to block out plot with the steps first starting with the overall script then down to each act (1, 2A, 2B and 3) then down to each scene.

See "Writing a Great movie" by Jeff kitchen For more information.


Scenes - conflict

 In terms of the emotional shift (+/-), since every scene is a mini-story, each scene tracks change. 
Characters walk into a scene feeling one way and walk out feeling another.
 And while it may be too precise to show exactly what emotions those are in the planning stage, we can easily tag every scene as either positive or negative. 
And I encourage you to do just that. Often it's enough to say each scene is either a “+” or a “-” as it relates to Theme.
we must put conflict into ALL our scenes!

Theme Vs Anti-Theme

Snyder, Blake (2009-11-23). Save the Cat!® Strikes Back (Kindle Location 889). Save the Cat! Press.