(again, it should be noted that this email was sent nearly 2 weeks before this date I've blogged)
I decided that now would be a good time to update Tony on whats going on with the whole character development malarky so, here's what I sent him:
how are you doing? Hope you had or are having a nice easter, the time off is different around the country so I'm not sure if you're still on your well deserved break ho ho :)
Here are some sketches of what I've come up with so far on the character; I've been showing them to different forums without giving away too much information just to see if they like the look and feel behind the different characters and the e-mails i've been getting back have been really good so far so, what do you think of it?
First, I should explain that I decided to split the Random Ronnie fellow into seperate characters, allowing a different facet of his 'randomness' to form in each of the personalities. I did this because when developing Ronnie and talking to alot of people about the character, I thought that a random character by default has little in the way of a discernable or reliable character or personailty so I'm trying this way of mainting audience interest.
The house that these characters exist within is also quite.. loose in the old 'reality' department but still looks and operates like a house most of the time, just bending to the context of the story (like rooms turning up for plotlines where there were no rooms before for example). The enviroment is something I'm working on currently so that I can do some storyboards with relationships between characters but, I'm thinking at the moment that the cartoon is set mostly in a house that Ron, 'Neil' and 'Pok' occupy, with their neighbour Benyamin in the house next door and the creepy little girl Lucy who watches from tree branches and shadows outside the house. Depending on the episode context though, the enviroment could change if we needed a townscape or a grave yard or a fun fair or something.
With each of the personalities then, we get another form for a new branch of the audience to indentify with. I had designed them more with the mind to contrast them with Ron, rather than just pander to the audience's tastes but hopefully this is a good side effect.
For example theres 'Ron' (all names are still working titles) who is the happy go lucky protagonist and is the main evolution of Random Ronnie, bearing a strong feel of the original concepts you provided me with his curly red hair and general feel. I've made him with the intention that he's the most.. amicable and maybe human character in there. I guess the way to think about my idea of 'Ron' is like Stimpy from 'Ren & Stimpy' in terms of his friendliness and general good nature; only Ron is more intelligent at this point. Ron will always want to help someone in need so we get plot hooks in that way and his personality clashes quite strongly with the overly aggressive and frustrated sock puppet called 'Neil' that he finds in his cellar.
'Neil' is an ancient demon god trapped in this poorly made puppet's form and this has made him very bitter over the centuries, giving him a resentment for anything happy or alive in general. He is the more malicious, angry character to contrast with Ron so, I guess they're a kind of 'Ren & Stimpy' coupling in that sense with a happy/angry clashing but instead of beating Ron senseless every episode, 'Neil' has very little physical power other than being able to use 'spooky ancient demon powers' (whatever the context of the paticular episode deems those to be) such as being able to throw his voice, move objects, summon demonic imps to perform tasks for him or being able to possess small animals. 'Neil' fantasizes often about being able to possess Ron someday when he is asleep or otherwise helpless and then using his body as a vessel, open a portal to an unknown dimension of pure terror. But, since he's usually quite helpless and Ron is aware of 'Neil's intentions, this outcome seems unlikely at the moment. 'Neil' moves about by either being on Ron's or another characters hand or, by being on top of a stick which ends off the bottom of the screen (looks a bit odd but, suspension of disbelief and all that).
I'll try to get through the other 3 characters a bit faster.
'Pok' is the dog of the household who has no eyes, just glowing white eye sockets. His origins are unknown of by the other characters but 'Neil' suspects that he is some government weapon gone wrong which escaped and turned up in the back garden. It would be more accurate to describe Pok as genderless rather than a male or female but the other characters find it humanizes 'him' a little to assign him a gender role. Pok spends his time following Ron around whereever he goes, literally sliding after him in a stood up or sat down position without moving his legs at all, as if he was a cel of animation that someone literally just slid across a scene. This is to emphasize the overwhelming ominous creepy factor that Pok exudes as he is a usually silent but still very intimidating character and even Ron and 'Neil' are typically weary of him. When not being horribly frightening, Pok looks for objects to fill his eye sockets with like bottles, lightbulbs or legs of ham which could be used as a good ice breaker in a scene or a punchline. This is also where Pok gets 'his' name from, from the 'POK!' noise when something is removed from a socket.
Benyamin is the foreign exhange student neighbour who lives next door to Ron and 'Neil'. He is a very stressful character who has as a result developed an over-eating disorder and understandably, an anxiety over how he feels about his body, which.. makes him nervous and eat more. In an attempt to 'deal' with his problems he often wears ridiculously large clothing or very odd eye catching clothing to avert attention from his frame. His fears include insects, dogs and 'Neil' and as such is quite a timid character, explaining why his best friend is his cat, Toasty.
And finally, Lucy or 'that creepy little girl' is a wannabe voyeur who spies on Ron from outside of the house, from tree tops or in the shadows when he's outside. She has a strong obsession with Ron and his friendly ways but prefers to communicate in her own way to him by dressing as different objects and animals she thinks he likes so that if he ever spots her, he might know that she knows something about him rather than ever actually speak to him . Which.. is a very stalker-ry in which to get to know someone. But she can serve as a kind of narrator to some episodes or a plot hook for investigation.
So, here's the link again if you missed it up on the top of the email.
Also, a second question. Can you please give me some pointers as to how you present a character for a client or similar audience? Would you include some possible storyboards/storylines as well? maybe some walk cycles/character sheets? I've made a bit of a pigs ear of that in this email so some advice on how to do it properly from someone who's got so much valuable experience on the subject would mean alot to me. :)
This would hopefully make it a bit easier to show more and more prospective viewers my ideas so I can get more valuble research on refining or completely changing what we've come up with so far.
Ok, so, once more, here is the link to the images of the characters I've talked about in case you didn't catch it cause this is a long mail, and, I hope to speak to you again soon!
Thank you so much for this opportunity again Tony!
The e-mail is a bit of a fair old length, I need to trim these down in future to avoid confusing clients. Anyway, as of this post I'm still awaiting a response and have sent a follow up e-mail asking if Tony recieved the first so, I'm still waiting for his input.