Writing and reading fanfic is a masterclass in characterisation.
Consider: in order to successfully write two different “versions” of the same character - let alone ten, or fifty, or a hundred - you have to make an informed judgement about their core personality traits, distinguishing between the results of nature and nurture, and decide how best to replicate those conditions in a new narrative context. The character you produce has to be recognisably congruent with the canonical version, yet distinct enough to fit within a different - perhaps wildly so - story. And you physically can’t accomplish this if the character in question is poorly understood, or viewed as a stereotype, or one-dimensional. Yes, you can still produce the fic, but chances are, if your interest in or knowledge of the character(s) is that shallow, you’re not going to bother in the first place.
Because ficwriters care about nuance, and they especially care about continuity - not just literal continuity, in the sense of corroborating established facts, but the far more important (and yet more frequently neglected) emotional continuity. Too often in film and TV canons in particular, emotional continuity is mistakenly viewed as a synonym for static characterisation, and therefore held anathema: if the character(s) don’t change, then where’s the story? But emotional continuity isn’t anti-change; it’s pro-context. It means showing how the character gets from Point A to Point B as an actual journey, not just dumping them in a new location and yelling Because Reasons! while moving on to the next development. Emotional continuity requires a close reading, not just of the letter of the canon, but its spirit - the beats between the dialogue; the implications never overtly stated, but which must logically occur off-screen. As such, emotional continuity is often the first casualty of canonical forward momentum: when each new TV season demands the creation of a new challenge for the protagonists, regardless of where and how we left them last, then dealing with the consequences of what’s already happened is automatically put on the backburner.
Fanfic does not do this.
Fanfic embraces the gaps in the narrative, the gracenotes in characterisation that the original story glosses, forgets or simply doesn’t find time for. That’s not all it does, of course, but in the context of learning how to write characters, it’s vital, because it teaches ficwriters - and fic readers - the difference between rich and cardboard characters. A rich character is one whose original incarnation is detailed enough that, in order to put them in fanfic, the writer has to consider which elements of their personality are integral to their existence, which clash irreparably with the new setting, and which can be modified to fit, to say nothing of how this adapted version works with other similarly adapted characters. A cardboard character, by contrast, boasts so few original or distinct attributes that the ficwriter has to invent them almost out of whole cloth. Note, please, that attributes are not necessarily synonymous with details in this context: we might know a character’s favourite song and their number of siblings, but if this information gives us no actual insight into them as a person, then it’s only window-dressing. By the same token, we might know very few concrete facts about a character, but still have an incredibly well-developed sense of their personhood on the basis of their actions.
The fact that ficwriters en masse - or even the same ficwriter in different AUs - can produce multiple contradictory yet still fundamentally believable incarnations of the same person is a testament to their understanding of characterisation, emotional continuity and narrative.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate Jessica Rabbit here. She is sexy, beautiful, tall, curvy, red haired, smart, mature, classy…basically every guys’ dream woman. She has guys throwing themselves at her, going crazy over her and fighting just to get a glimpse of her. She could literally have any guy she wanted. And yet, she falls in love and marries someone who isn’t conventionally handsome, but who has a great personality which appeals to hers and is fun to be around. All her life she’s probably been told how physically attractive she is and been used for her beauty, so it must be so wonderful for her to meet someone who wants to make her laugh and be genuinely happy rather than have her as a trophy wife. Roger appeals to her humour and appreciates her mentality and personality and is the first guy to treat her like a normal girl and a human being. Of course she’s going to be defensive when guys don’t understand what she sees in Roger. He was the first and only guy to respect her personality and wanted to know her as a person so he could make her genuinely happy. She didn’t settle for any less than she deserved.
Philosophical Science Fiction films (of this century)
“Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. …Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.”
So there’s a new film out starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac which is amazing in and of itself, since they’re phenomenal actors. They’re in the film called The Promise, a film that depicts the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide.
To this day, the genocide is still actively denied by the Turkish government when it did indeed occur. Because of this, the film has a really low rating as people are actively trying to get people to not know the truth of that the genocide occurred. I am not Armenian but my people (Assyrians) were killed, as well as Greeks during this time.
Please go see the film, if you can. Its really important to many of us considering denial has a huge effect on inter-generational communities. Plus it looks like its going to be good.
Your courage is a small coal that you keep swallowing. Follow. Follow the sun and which way the wind blows When this day is done. And breathe, breathe in the air. Cherish this moment. Cherish this breath. «To the Bone», 2017
“It was a movie where the main character, the guy in the mask, really isn’t altogether human. He has no characteristics. He’s, uh, almost like a machine. He was just pure evil. That was what I intended to do. It’s evil out of nothing, evil from no background, which completely creeps me out as a human being, that evil could arrive at my doorstep without a purpose, without a past, without an origin. So that’s the idea behind it. It was put together to scare you. That’s all.” - John Carpenter
Whaddup. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time now and it’s finally here.
I wanted to make this post more serious and analytical so here it is. I’m Cloud and this is why the short film “In a Heartbeat” by Beth David and Esteban Bravo is a masterpiece and why you should care.
This short film that was released today has been through kickstarter and I know that kickstarter projects are well… Unreliable. So I was really scared for the success of this project considering that I’ve seen many other kickstarter projects have popped out sloppy, horrible, and downright awful. Yeah, talk about a waste of dough. But I’m happy to say that this wasn’t one of those fails. The creators of this short film were very determined and weren’t going to give up on this.
This short film has something we like to call good representation.
Needless to say spoiler warning so I’m gonna get right into the story. The short film takes place through the eyes of Sherwin a closeted schoolboy. Who has a classic crush on another schoolboy. Enter love interest Jonathan. Just from the concept art it was established that Sherwin was head over heels for Jonathan.
That is something a lot of kids experience, crushes but not all kids have the challenge of being outed to a world and society where they could be ridiculed and possibly slaughtered for their feelings. And I know that sounds scary but it’s true some kids are just in dangerous unaccepting environments, so it’s easy to see themselves in Sherwin.
Sherwin isn’t the best at expressing his feelings and nor does he really want to because he’s closeted. But that’s not healthy at a young age to try to hide your feelings when they’re so deep. So his love is personified into this very adorable heart. This heart is Sherwin’s desire to be with who he wants even if it’s another guy and nothing’s stopping it except Sherwin. This carries the message that love is love even if it’s not from a man to a woman and vice versa.
So through the short film this heart is just going out there to be with Jonathan and Sherwin is struggling to hold it back. Suppress his feelings should I say. And it reaches this point where the cartoon heart is showing it’s affections in public in front of the school. The homophobic surroundings are then very real and puts both Sherwin and Jonathan on the spot. And this scene at 2:18 is the breaking point (pun not intended). Just this shot is showing how the two characters have this pure bond but yet everyone else sees it as a disgusting display. Now everyone can see it Sherwin isn’t in the closet anymore and put himself out there. So now that he’s out and exposed for what happens his heart breaks. Literally.
And the doors close on Jonathan with a piece of the broken heart now aware of Sherwin’s sexuality and feelings. So basically Sherwin symbolically came out to him but shrunk and ran away with his romantic feelings in shambles. And media wise that’s usually the end of it for queer characters. Nothing. No love, no affection, just a broken spirit. We see him outside the school with his broken heart.
But then Jonathan comes and fixes the broken heart. Returning his feelings and showing support and acceptance by sitting next to him with the repaired heart. And in the end both of their hearts come together. So finally the gay characters get a happy ending after years of bury your gays and homophobia. There’s happily ever after.
This film shows the struggles of real people and there’s no dialogue either so literally anyone can enjoy this without any language barriers or translation errors. That’s what makes good representation showing the struggles and themes that a group of people experience and even flipping the script and giving them a good ending.
I apologize for spelling and possibly grammatical errors but I wanted to get this out soon. Thanks for reading.
[Have you ever had bad chemistry with a cast?] I haven’t yet, the only time I had that was when I’d done a play. It was my first professional job; it probably wasn’t the lack of chemistry, more fact that I was young and making some mistakes. Chemistry is very important though; if you have chemistry on film, it helps to sell the connection between you and the other character.