Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brain = off

I had a conversation with costume designer Melissa Schlachtmeyer the other day where she was saying that in a dramatic production you must determine the "world" first. And I was all like "You have to figure out the relationships first."
Winston doing what he does best.
And she was "I'm totally right about this."
So I realized that I was probably thinking about it upside-down and I did some more thinking.
My mistake was a common one. I was ignoring the part of production that was easy for me and focusing on the thing I had to work at. "World building" is a fairly base level thing for my little brain. It's sort of like a task that runs in the background.
Of course the world comes first. And it's not built from the individual character outward. You have to know what the world is in order to (for instance) figure out what everyone is wearing. Sheesh! Why I so dumb?
Well... there's a reason I'm so dumb...
That old cliche of movie trailers where the guy intones "In a world where..." and then goes on to "One guy/girl/robot/well-meaning rabbit must..." you really have the most fundamental things about your story. You have to fill in the blanks. In a world where _________ one dude/princess/rat-of-NIMH must ________.
And although I know that, I don't actually pay attention to that in day-to-day life. I mostly pay attention to cats. Sometimes sparkly things. Sniff sniff... ooh! Is someone baking something? ;-)


Allan Mackey said...

I think that probably holds true a lot of the time but as with all things, that isn't 100% true.

I wrote a fantasy script recently whose lead character was a woman in a dark place in her life. The script was very character-driven and so built based on her interactions/relationships, and obstacles that fit her journey. The world was built and adjusted based on those obstacles and the characters she met.

In a Steampunk thing I'm working on, too. Aside from being "steampunk" the real details of the world are being filled in based on my plot and characters and what's doing.

In science fiction, it feels more important to know the world you're putting characters into. In fantasy, perhaps less so.

Then again, most things are constantly in flux in development anyway, the characters/obstacles change to fit the world. The world changes to fit the characters/obstacles. Everything changes to fit the budget.

So. You were both right?

Andrew Bellware said...

In development the relationship between characters and the "world" is iterative, so yeah, we're both right. But when it comes down to design you absolutely need to know what the world is in order to actually execute the design.