Animation Scriptwriting
Stories - Part Five: Relationships and Communication
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Roles We Play

Though the basic roles we play are Adult, Child, and Peer, these roles come up in variations. At a family meeting a woman might take on the child role with her parents, yet the adult role with her children. She will take on the peer role with her husband, siblings, and friends. What is more, her children will take the child role with all of the family, and her parents will likely take on the adult role with all the others.

On the other hand, we might become 'friends' with our parents and treat them as equals, or if they become dependent on us, treat them as children. We change our roles in the process of growing up, getting promotion, or doing something that obviously puts us in a leading position.


Vocational Roles

Captain Ahab is a full time captain. He doesn't start at 9am and finish at 5pm. The nature of his job means he is always available. Sherlock Holmes also works continually on a case once started. We can't imagine him taking an evening off to go the theatre, or having a holiday break halfway through a case. Their job is their life.

People whose job dictates their lifestyle are usually easy to identify. Their clothes, their manner, their speech, and their close acquaintances, all reinforce the image.


Select which of the following people are likely to have vocational roles.

Bus drivers - Farmers - Professional football players
Shop assistants - Artists - Gangsters
Oil riggers - Bakers


On the other hand a cashier in a shop might have a totally different life outside work. A life style that would not in any way reflect the work she does. The worlds of amateur sport, entertainment, and social activities are run by people who by day have ordinary jobs, but change into other personalities in their spare time.

In creating characters, it helps to use the background interests of a person to define them. A shop girl who is an amateur dance champion is likely to be outgoing in personality, be fit, be popular, and have a good dress sense. On the other hand, a shop girl who is an amateur orchestral musician might be more serious and reserved in her nature.


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