“I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation. Then in the end, I go back and try to cut out most of the preachments.” – Dr. Seuss
I was watching Saturday Night Live and the first time I saw this character I was mildly entertained, but there was a point there. The second time I saw her I thought to myself that I had to say something about it.
This one got me thinking of how often it is that certain characters are just put in as filler. Sure, we can understand that non-major characters don’t get a lot of time to develop. That’s why I think it’s even more important that they still feel human.
When i’ve worked with songwriters there have been times when their characters have felt one-dimensional a.k.a “flat”. We worked through the lyrics and emotion, but at times it still felt like it wasn’t quite there. Once again, you get a very limited amount of time to express personality and story. Unless you make a 12 minute epic of course. Just don’t count on too much airplay of that one.
Warning, this song is just… Wow…
I’d come across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator before. I was reminded of it when talking with a producer about a performer when he just happened to remark: “There are only 16 types of personalities!”.
At first I was taken aback because it felt kind of snide. We were talking about humans, but then it sank in that there was something else there. Not necessarily that we’re so easily categorized or limited in our personalities, but that sometimes it helps to keep things simple.
I went home and went over some old material which felt “problematic” and I really saw it. Writers, actors, videogame developers etc have been using it as a guideline for some time. Why haven’t songwriters?
Look, it’s not cookie-cutter personalities just like the “hero’s journey” isn’t cookie-cutter storytelling. It can be used as a tool and a guideline. To make things interesting we need to move the pieces around and mix it up. But what a powerful tool [Voice in head says: “You’re a powerful tool!”] it is.
I came across this a while ago too, I still don’t trust Santa though!