Friday, 8 June 2007

Giving Jerome a character history

We've been taught this year that when you create a character, in film or animation or writing ,that there are seven key questions that you need to be able to answer to contrsct and idea of who they are, because this will influence their actions, behaviour, posture and movement.

In the dvd extras to Belleview Rendevous director Sylvain Chomet also talks about the importance of his characters having a history. One of the first verisions of my animatic had an ex girlfriend tear up a photo and throw i ton Jerome, who then opens a drawer in his chair and drops it in. The camera follows the scraps drift onto a pile of photos and documents that refered to Jerome's history - see animatic still below.

1) WHO AM I? Mr Jerome Saint, 26 years old. Used to be a postie, popular with the locals, would take his dog Leo with him on his rounds. Spent most nights down the pub and always had a girlfriend, although most were short term because he was to carefree to commit and there was always another round the corner. When his mother passed away when he was 22 he began drinking more and more, turning up late for work and becoming moody. Eventually fired, couldn't afford the pub anymore, started drinking at home. Both Jerome and Leo started putting on weight because of not walking the postie round anymore. All he'd do is watch tv so his final girlfriend leaves him.

2) WHERE AM I? A local burrough in a big annonymous, grimy city. See sketck below. In a two room rented council flat - kitchen, with bathroom attached (never see this in animation), and living room / bedroom.

3) WHEN AM I? 21st century ie present day. When people believe anything can be bought.

4) WHAT DO I WANT? Jerome: Companionship and love without any effort. Beer, food,
pancake bride!
Leo: Simple life with master and no outside interference / competition. Food and love.

5) WHY DO I WANT IT? Jerome: Because he is lonely without a girlfriend, but doesn' t realise
that he has the kind of efforless companionship he wants with his dog.
Leo: Because he is a loyal dog whose instinct is to live in peace with his master.

6) HOW AM I GOING TO GET WHAT I WANT? Jerome: 1st by buying a mail order pancake
bride, then by realising that he had his dog all along.
Leo: By destroying the obstruction to the relationship - eating the pancake bride.

7) WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF WHAT I WANT? Jerome: Leo eating the pancake bride.
(although this is really a blessing in disguise otherwise he would have killed his dog - the only
creature who still really loves him).
Leo: The pancake bride and Jerome wanting to kill him for his heart.

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