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643 Character Establishment

Posted on Sep 3, 2012

We covered the establishment of character in film. One idea covered was Gestalt theory with respect to film.

The first project is to produce a 6 second video that establishes a character without showing the face through a Gestalt approach or an ambiguous one whereby the viewer gets an impression of a character that then changes.

This reminded me of assignments in a fiction writing course I took earlier this year. We did several exercises writing introductory sentences and paragraphs. There’s much you can establish in just a sentence… or in 6 seconds.

My first thought was to do something with masks. I thought of Christopher Nolan’s last two Batman films. In both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, the villains Joker and Bane, respectively, are shown masked, and then are unmasked only to show their “regular” masked faces.

I love Nolan’s films, but I wonder if this approach would have been as effective if the character being revealed was an unknown one. Batman and associated characters have been a part of popular culture for such a long time, it’s hard to separate all of that from a new take on any character.