Monday, October 29, 2012

Character Development

So I just got finished watching an episode of Once Upon a Time with my parents. We're a week behind, and tomorrow we are watching the most recent one. But, boy, how I just love all the character development in this show!
In case you've never watched this show, it is about a 28-year-old woman named Emma whose son, whom she gave up for adoption ten years prior, tracks her down and makes her take him back to his hometown, Storybrooke, Maine. But the twist (one of many) is that every person in this small, quaint little town is a characters from his book of "fairytales," appropriately named "Once Upon a Time." Obviously Emma thinks Henry, her son, just has a wild imagination, when in reality, the citizens of Storybrooke are under a curse which made them forget who they really are. So while Snow White is a saintly school teacher, Prince Charming is in a coma, and they don't know they are husband and wife. The basic theme of Storybrooke is that everyone has a past, and it appears no one gets a happy ending, one of the bonuses of the curse. Snow White's step-mother, Regina, is the Mayor of Storybrooke, and she is determined to keep the truth hidden, even if it means hurting her adopted son... Henry.
Whew! What a mouthful. Needless to say the plots are very intricate and the writers pull characters not only from Disney, but also from Grimm's Fairytales and even Sir Richard E. Burton's "Arabian Nights." So you have Mulan, Red Riding Hood, the genie; Aurora, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Mad Hatter. (All right, that last one was Lewis Carroll, but you get the idea: every children's fictional character comes to life.)
The show usually starts out in Storybrooke where Emma or one of the other characters face some sort of dilemma, and then it flashes back to their old lives, as Snow White instead of Mary Margaret, or Rumpelstiltskin instead of Mr. Gold. This episode I just watched was focused on Rumpelstiltskin and his phase between losing his son and meeting Belle. Oh, and I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but -SPOILER ALERT! Here, Rumpelstiltskin and Kilian Jones cross paths, and Kilian remarks how Rumpelstiltskin's skin resembles that of a crocodile. Not that that is very insightful on my part or anything, but I like how the writers tied it in.
The gist of this whole monologue is that there is so much characters development, and it is all so rich, that sometimes it can feel a bit... a bit like having a huge piece of cake and a plate that's too small. But I love how in-depth they go, the gory little details, a slight-of-hand trick or a notorious phrase. It makes me want to sit down and plan out some of my characters like that, with gory little details, heartbreak, betrayal, and hopes and wishes. Because everyone has felt that childlike happiness, where it feels like you're just bathing in light, like nothing in the world can touch you. I love finding those moments for my characters. It helps me figure out what makes them tick. But you know what's even more fun? Integrating it into the stories, and letting the audience get glimpses of the person's past. Maybe that will be a personal goal for me this month: to pick a character and uncover their history, how I would see it in Once Upon a Time. What are their flaws? What are their strongpoints? Why?
Well, I sincerely hope I haven't bored you with all this yammering, but if I didn't get it out now, I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on reading my Bible.
Anyway, goodnight, and stay safe from all this rain.


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