Last night I was watching the movie Pleasantville and it got me thinking about the importance of conveying emotions within each of our characters. Now of course this is not something new to me, but rather something that was reinforced by the watching of the movie.
In case you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick rundown of the plot. Basically, teenage siblings from the modern day, David and Jennifer, are transported into the 1950s television world of ‘Pleasantville’ into the lives of Bud and Mary Sue, where everything is well…. pleasant; pleasant weather, pleasant people with nothing but pleasant feelings doing pretty much the same thing day in and day out. The TV show that is depicted in the movie, is in black and white, so naturally when the two main characters are transported into that world, becoming the Pleasantville characters of Bud and Mary Sue, they also are in black and white.
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However, things start to change in the TV land of Pleasantville, as people begin to experience other things besides ‘pleasant’, the world starts to slowly fill with colour, one person, one flower, one door at a time.
There are many lessons to be learnt from the movie Pleasantville (such as those suggested here) however something which I took out of this movie was the importance of self-discovery and self-acceptance, allowing for the experience of all emotions.
But see? That’s just the point! It can’t stop at once, because it’s in you, and you can’t stop something that’s inside you. -Bud/David, Pleasantville
Sometimes, the world isn’t just pleasant. Sometimes it’s more, it can be amazing, exciting and exhilarating and sometimes is not pleasant at all it can be sad, lonely, dark and painful. The important thing though is that we allow ourselves to experience the world in all of it’s technicolor glory! Allow ourselves to feel happy, sad, excited, depressed, ecstatic, angry or even down right pissed off! The point is, not only is it important for our own lives to allow ourselves to experience all of these emotions when appropriate, it is also an important part of character development to create characters that experience a world that is more than just Pleasantville. In order to develop our characters we need to consider Bud’s words from the quote above and find out exactly what is it inside our characters that can’t be stopped? What is their emotional response to each complication in the plot? (Even the smallest complication that seems insignificant). We need to consider their life experiences and things that have shaped the person they are in the story we are trying to tell. Their background and history may not be important to the story, but it is something that is important for the writer in the development of each character.
Enjoy you week,
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