This is possibly the most crucial and least understood dramatic notion concerning character and story. Characters in great stories are put in situations where they must make difficult decisions. Characters such as Spiderman, Lester Burnham, Jerry Maguire, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann are all presented with difficult decisions. From exposition or supplementary activity, we can deduce what’s on their minds. But, even though it hurts their hearts, we understand the reality of their hearts via their decisions.

The most moral decisions or choices have repercussions. When a character’s behavior costs them something, it emphasizes the importance of their decisions and obligations. In “Life Lessons”, Lionel loses Paulette because of his commitment to art. In “Words”, Father Kiril must choose between assisting in the hiding of the girl in the monastery and reporting her to his superiors, as he is supposed to do. His acts demonstrate the kindness that he has in his heart.

 

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The best authors recognize that making a decision is a dramatic activity, and they employ it. They dramatize the conditions that put the character at a fiery fork in the road, then rake them through the embers to convert their actions into pivotal plot points. A dramatically effective option provides characters with drastically diverse outcomes as a result of their own choices. The best approach to frame these decisions is in terms of moral principles, not moral absolutes.

Characters are frequently given an option between something positive and something terrible by new and even experienced writers. However, this isn’t a dramatic choice until the character actively chooses the negative above the positive. It is spectacularly ineffectual unless Luke Skywalker is deciding between the good on the side of the rebels or standing with his father against the wicked Empire, because the negative doesn’t reflect what the character truly desires.

 

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For fear of slowing or stopping the action, many feature and short films skip over the act of deciding or choosing. The act of making a decision, on the other hand, is an action. Seeing someone consider and think on their options might help us gain a better insight of their personality. We can see the significance of the decision. Observing someone rashly move forward without considering displays a distinct type of personality.

In “Life Lessons”, Lionel is not a man who stops and thinks. He is unable to make a decision. Lionel acts without considering the ramifications. In his practically crazy pursuit of Paulette, he will say and do anything. This indicates that he is a man who is in love. But by the end of the film, we have a different view of what love means to him when he offers Paulette’s job to the young painter on the spur of the moment. Paulette, on the other hand, is at a loss for what to do. She’s leaving one moment and then allowing Lionel to change her mind the next. Her indecisiveness is what defines her. Her acts also make us understand Lionel’s displeasure in dealing with her. We sense the intensity of her turmoil as we watch her travel from one option to the next, and we begin to figure out where it comes from. Lionel is completely unaware that she is going through a huge identity crisis.

The most essential and revealing about the character are the decisions and choices made at the beginning and finish of the story. The protagonist makes the first decision when he determines what he wants and commits to pursuing it. In some ways, the film serves as a test of that dedication and the price he is willing to pay to keep it. There is usually a scene at the end of most feature films where the protagonist recommits to his or her purpose. In a short film, the final decision frequently leads to the unveiling of the story’s central character.

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/