Conference Masterclasses
ON SITE Raum Karlsruhe Tuesday, April 25, 17:00

Bringing Characters to Life

Whether it is animation, VFX, or immersive media… character development in storytelling is tough to get right. It can seem like an impossible task to come up with engaging characters that your audience/players can emotionally connect to (identification). No matter what genre you prefer, fantasy, medieval, comedy, drama... the characters must be complex, knowable, and feel real. The characters must be capable of change (i.e., Arc). But where do you start? To flesh out characters, you begin with their motivations, backstories (influences from their history), psychology, and external relationships. Next, it is essential to differentiate their wants, goals, and needs. One must successfully delineate between archetypes versus stereotypes as well as making sure the characters are distinct, not generic. This session examines character conflict (e.g., internal, external, environmental), causality, and how difficult choices define a character. What is at stake? (i.e., survival, safety, love, esteem, etc.) What drives a character? Fear? Determination? Once you know your characters, you can create character-driven stories/experiences so your audience will care about what your characters are going through.

Please note that this presentation will only be available online on April 28.

USTAR Professor Craig Caldwell, USTAR Professor, University of Utah, Film, Media & Arts

Craig Caldwell, USTAR Professor, Film and Media Arts, and co-founder of the Masters in Games Program Entertainment Arts & Engineering, University of Utah. Honored as a DeTao Master, Institute of Animation and Creative Content, SIVA Campus, Shanghai, China. Industry experience: Head of Creative Training at Electronic Arts, Tiburon Studio and 3D Technology Specialist, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Mulan, Tarzan, Chicken Little, Bolt, Meet the Robinsons), Burbank, CA. Academic background includes Head of the largest Film School in Australia at Griffith University and Chair, Media Arts Department, University of Arizona. Current research is differences in storytelling around the world. Frequent workshop presenter at companies and universities.  Author of Story Structure and Development – A Guide for Animators, VFX Artists, Game Designers, and Virtual Reality, CRC Publishers (on Amazon).