Inside Out – A new way to develop characters?

Have you see Pixar’s Inside out? If you haven’t the basic plot is an 11 year old girl moves from one city to another, but you experience the move through the five emotions that live in her brain: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. The movie itself is enjoyable and if you haven’t seen it, and like animated films, it’s worth watching.

Anyway, ever since I saw Inside Out I can’t help but picture those five emotions in other people’s heads. I wonder about which emotion is their most prominent and how those emotions interact to create the person I know. I wonder what other people would guess is the primary emotion in my head. (In the movie each person has one of the five that leads the others to at least some extent). My guess for myself would be Joy first, fear second, then the rest.

After thinking about the people I know, I started thinking about my characters. When trying to develop characters people spend time doing quizzes online, answering character questionnaires, and making positive and negative traits lists. I propose using the Inside Out model as another development tool. It gives some insight into how the different balance of those emotions plays into how people act or react to situations. I often focus my character development on traits, history, and likes. Hopefully this will help me remember characters should have unique emotional responses as well. It’s at least worth a try.

What are some of the strange things you do to help form your characters? What is your favourite character development tool?


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