We have 3 characters and 3 animators so Matt thought it best to divide the workload up between the three of us in terms of deciding the characters characteristics, so how they move, how they convey what they’re feeling. Dan will be taking the main character as he is our lead animator, with Matt and myself deciding the Stranger and Dad.
The Dad, when the audience is introduced to him, has just had an argument with his daughter and is now sitting in the car, head in his hands waiting for her to return. I feel like the dad is the type of character to wear his emotions on his face, he’s tired from just having to survive the journey they’re on as the world around them dies.
Some Live action reference:
Will Smith: The Pursuit of Happyness: Is an American biographical drama based on the life of entrepreneur, Chris Gardner and his almost one year struggle being homeless. Throughout the film the tole of Gardner’s struggle can be seen on his face and through his body movements – which is why I’ve picked Will Smith’s portrayal of the character as a reference for our dad character. Like Gardner our character also has a dependant that he is responsible for and is constantly having to think of how he will provide what they need. This weight that both characters feel is displayed through their movements – a weight on their shoulders that affects how they move, walk and present themselves.
Reporter Joseph Galloway, We Were Soldiers: We Were Soldiers depicts the battle of La Drang during the Vietnam War in 1965. Barry Pepper’s character reporter Joe Galloway is one of the stand out characters in the film, in my opinion – this character goes through one of the biggest and most noticeable changes. He is a reporter who is dropped into the middle of a war that he hasn’t been prepared or trained for and he leaves a completely different man (which is only to be expected in this situation) but it is Pepper’s portrayal of this change – how he acts it out on screen – that caught my attention. Below is the clip of when the change in character is most noticeable, when his peers arrive to find out what has happened and he can’t speak of it. They flinch at the sound of bombs going off much like he did when he first arrived. Pepper’s body language as he turns and walks away is what will be most useful from this scene, a weight can now be seen sitting on his shoulders that wasn’t there before.
Much like the characters in our short – they have had to adapt to the changing and dying world around them, things that shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence or ‘normal’ to them now are – such as, a young girl carrying around her own gun and the father not flinching or asking questions when she hands him another man’s pair of shoes. It is these subtle actions that will unnerve the audience and cause a slight sense of discomfort much like that felt when watching the scene below – it is unnerving that this sounds are now normal to Galloway, he’s become used to them unlike the reporters that have just arrived. This will show the effect that this lifestyle is having on our character, his worry and distress will contrast well against the happy and unrestrained nature of the little girl.
The Office, Toby Flenderson: Toby Flenderson played by Paul Lieberstein, he is a quiet mild mannered character, so much so that he can’t being himself to actually voice his opinions or assert himself and often can be heard mourning about his life decisions. Lieberstein’s character has low self esteem meaning that he doesn’t present himself well in public, his shoulders are usually slightly hunched, his walk is slow and with a strange weight shift that almost resembles that of a limp.
Again this is a character who displays his feelings through how he presents himself. The hunched stature of this character may be of particular relevance as this could be the posture applied to our dad character as a way of showing how his life is starting to affect him.