Week 1 - Storytelling
January 6 - Introduction
January 7 - Why we like stories
January 8 - Why we tell stories
January 9 - Your perspective
January 10 - Worlds/Characters
🔒January 11 - Responsibilities
Week 2 - Characters
🔒 Week 4
🔒 Week 5
🔒 Week 6
🔒 Week 7
🔒 Week 8
🔒 Week 9
🔒 Week 10
🔒 Week 11
🔒 Week 12
Hour 240-264 | Internal vs. External Features
Welcome to the second week of the 2,000 Hour Series Challenge which is all about character development. The goal of this is to explore the character development process by which we go from simple character concepts such as a robot or a man or a girl to complex characters people can actually care about.
Take Wall-E, he's not just a robot, he's a lonely, curious robot who fears, thinks, and ultimately loves. Or Nemo, he's not just a fish, he's a young fish who craves independence from his father, but endangers himself in trying to achieve it. Or Merida, she's a young princess who wishes to pursue her own hopes and dreams rather than conform to her parents' expectations.
We can call these characters fully developed.
This means we've gotten to know them so well that we can imagine them in almost any situation. Creating a fully developed character isn't easy. You're basically creating a new life from scratch, but it's really special when you get there.
We can talk about characters in two ways. They have their external features, which is their design, their clothes, what they look like. Then much more interesting is the internal features. Are they insecure, are they brave, are they jealous?
One thing I do is I will pretend like I'm having a conversation and getting to know a friend and think okay, well what do they like to do? What are their beliefs, what do they enjoy? What do they not enjoy?
Sometimes I think I actually I work more externally first. If you know, what they're wearing, how they style their hair, and that kind stuff that can help inform you of what is internally going on.
One of my favorite characters I've worked with is Benjamin in The Fatherlander. You look on the outside and he actually kind of looks like a bum. He's got the old clothes on, he needs a bath. He's got the dirty hair. But inside he's totally a rich man and he wants for nothing. So you kind of have that great little contrast there with that character that makes him feel really rich and really real.
Characters have to come from authentic human emotions and experiences. And it doesn't necessarily have to mean make every character you. It could also be draw from people you know, things from real life. Listen to that little voice saying. "Oh, that's just like what my mom used to do." Or, "Oh that's just like this friend I had in high school." Or, "My little brother was like that when we were growing up." Because it's much easier to go from your family members or a friend when you're trying to search for a character.
The specificity that people bring that you can't make up on your own is something that I look forward to and I enjoy when I'm trying to pinpoint down a character. I was working on Literal. I was the story producer. Now I'm a little invested in Doug's journey from Literal because back then my father was jobless. He also had a full beard of white hair. But that's beside the point. When Doug gets to the Literal and starts working at WWBTV,
Doug actually has to face a new boss he helps to hire. At that point when I was writing that sequence my father was already jobless and he was pretty broken about it. And how my father lost his job was over a disagreement of faith with his new boss.
Seeing my dad after that actually helped me accurately craft the character of Doug when he struggles with Mr. Media Jr. at the TV station over what they believe.
Without my experience with my father I wouldn't 4have been able to actually tackle that moment in the show.
Understanding a character, both inside and out will help you figure out what the character really desires, which is what drives them through their journey. In this exercise you'll have a chance to think about the difference between internal and external character traits.
Remember, the more you know about your character, the more real that character will feel.
Exercise 6: Internal & External Features
Part A: Return to your three favorite stories and identify a main character in each.
Part B: Identify three of their external features.
Part C: Identify three of their internal features.
Part D: Identify three internal and external features of someone that you know.
Part E: Return to one of your character ideas from yesterday. Brainstorm some possible answers to the following questions (feel free to work alone or in a group).
You can submit your ideas in the Comments section below, or write them down in your story journal.