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Today I'd like to talk about writing dumb characters.

You see, I've just watched this movie called Freddy Got Fingered, and I have to say, I've never been this angry at a fictional character in my entire life.

This movie has a main character who is meant to be stupid, which I think was meant to be some kind of charm for the audience.
And I'm aware that there are a few people who think he IS charming, as this movie actually has a cult following.
But to me... it deserved all the hate it got.

Now what do I mean with dumb characters? Well obviously; characters who have low intelligence and tend to be kind of awkward, but are lovable because they've got a big heart, they do mean well and their antics are fun to look at for slapstick reasons.
Characters like Frank Drebin from Naked Gun or Son Goku from Dragon Ball or Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove.

Now why is Nord (The main character of Freddy Got Fingered) not as likable as the three examples above?
Well because his low intelligence and awkwardness is ALL he's got.
All throughout the movie he's just being annoying and awkward, never saying ANYTHING that actually remotely sounds like natural speech, doing everything he can to alienate anyone around him, yet he still ends the movie with having a friggin' girlfriend and making his dreams come true. Halle-friggin-lujah...
He DOESN'T have a big heart, everything he does is for selfish reasons and his antics aren't even funny.
They're just outright stupid, and I grieve for any animal he has abused to film what he so affectionately calls "funny scenes".

This is not to say an idiotic jerk can't be funny. On the contrary, they can be hilarious.
But they're hilarious because they have the reactions of the OTHER characters.
Because the OTHER characters are likable, you can instead just love to hate the idiotic jerk, since you relate to the other characters who rightfully are annoyed by him.

It, however, doesn't work if the OTHER characters ALSO are unlikable jerks!
Freddy Got Fingered has a whole cast of characters who all have to put up with Nord's antics. That SHOULD be a nice set up to have some funny reactions.
But Tom Green (The director and writer of the movie, also the actor of Nord) seems to be unable to realize that his character is in the WRONG here, so he writes all the other characters as unlikable so the viewer would "logically" be on Nord's side again.

Here's the problem; just because the ones opposing a character are unlikable does NOT mean that the character in question suddenly becomes likable!
Let's say there's a character named Bob. He kills puppies for a living.
Then you have a Terrorist. He breaks bicycles of 9 year olds.
They meet and you have Bob annoying the Terrorist, with the Terrorist getting a well-deserved "funny" angry reaction towards Bob.
Well, obviously the Terrorist isn't likable, but that doesn't stop Bob from being the jerk who KILLS PUPPIES FOR A LIVING!
Instead of switching our hatred for Bob to the Terrorist, all you did is give us TWO people to hate!

Now how WOULD a dumb character work?
Well, how about give him a bit more depth than just being stupid?
Doesn't even have to be something innovative. Just have the dumb character at least mean well in everything he does.

Make him honestly not see that what he's doing is wrong, have a scene where someone calmly explains to him why something he's done is stupid and have him actually respond with;
Idiot: "Oh... gee, I didn't think of that... Sorry, Old Man Jenkins, I didn't realize the anvil was going to be heavy... Is your back okay?".

Have him propose to his girlfriend and have the proposal play up the charm of his stupidity, like;
Idiot: "Mary, when I first met you I never imagined that I'd be popping the question in front of this big romantic fountain... I actually imagined popping the question inside the USS Enterprise, but I just found out yesterday that Star Trek is not a documentary..."

Have him be optimistic and simply trying his best to cheer up a friend, ignoring the fact that the friend is grumpy because he just thinks it's his duty as a friend to cheer him up;
Friend: "I just lost my job as a Game Designer"
Idiot: "Oh, that's terrible! What's the reason?"
Friend: "They think my knowledge and ideas of games aren't up to the company's standards."
Idiot: "Come on, that's nonsense! What kind of ideas were they?"
Friend: "You're trapped in a building with killer animals, you're supposed to escape."
Idiot: "Ooh, so kinda like Mario?"
Friend: "What? How the heck does that resemble Mario?"
Idiot: "Well you know, you jump around, roll into a ball, run through a goal sign..."
Friend: "... You mean Sonic the Hedgehog?"
Idiot: "No, Sonic's the girl with the sword and shield, right?"
Friend: "You mean Link... from Legend of Zelda... who's a guy?"
Idiot: "Wow, you know so much about games! Can't believe the company thinks you're not up to their standards!"
Friend: "..."

In general if you want a character to be likable, whether they're stupid or smart, they have to be more than just their intelligence.
You have to look beyond just their own personality and look at how other will perceive them, both the audience and the other characters.
A character is always half of what he is inside and half of what others perceive him on the outside.
Regardless, a Protagonist has to be able to carry the audience with him, and while it doesn't HAVE to be because they're likable (although it's very much preferred), they still have to at least give the audience something to think about, or something to be entertained about.
  • Listening to: My Adorkable Fangirl (by Huy Minh Le)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
Today I'd like to talk about the importance of limiting your colour schemes.

Now there's lots of people out there who complain about how many games seem to have this "Real is Brown" mentality and that it really desaturates the fun out of the aesthetics of games and all that.
And while recent games seem to slowly move away from that, thankfully, I also do agree that it's a stupid mentality. But in fact for a different reason.

You see, giving your scenes the hue of a single colour is a GOOD thing.
Or at least it is if it's done as a default.
I don't think the "Real is Brown" is stupid because they're turning everything brown, I think it's stupid because they ONLY use brown.

I've seen many recent games trying to tackle the mentality by making their games full of VIBRANT COLOURS and while it looks fun the first few hours, after a while it just becomes a bit of a headache.
You need to balance these things out. The times when the place is filled with vibrant colours are supposed to be the SPECIAL moments.

Now, am I saying that unless you're in a fantasy world, everything should be given the default colour brown?
Of course not. I'm just saying that you should give OTHER hues a try.

Look back to the first two Pokemon games, Pokemon Red and Blue.
Notice the sprites of each building and mountains and whatever.
They're exactly the same.
Yet if I would show some classic fan a screenshot, most would be able to tell which city the screenshot was taken.
That's because each area had a different hue of colour.

You see, the hue of a singular colour "glues" the whole picture together.
It helps making two separate assets look like one big whole.
This isn't saying that everything in a city should be coloured green. I'm instead saying that one certain colour should be given more focus than all the others.
Look for example at the first Sonic the Hedgehog game.
You start in a level which has lots of green and brown with a blue background. Then you go into a level where it's green and purple with a reddish background. Then you enter a level with a brown and yellow with a dark blue background.
They're appealing to look at because there's JUST enough colours to focus on, not because there's LOTS of it.
The creators gave you a different colour set per level, but they never overdid it PER level.

Now, am I instead saying that we should NEVER use huge amounts of colours at the same time? Not at all.
Let me point out to one of history's best uses of colour: The Wizard of Oz.
The movie started out in sepia-tone.
Back in the day of that movie, they're usually seen as the standard look reality has in movies, mostly due to technical limitations.
But the moment Dorothy enters Oz, BOOM! Colours alore!
Eventually when the group enters a forest or the Witch's castle and whatnot, the colours actually start being one-tone again, but the introduction of Oz was FILLED with different colours.
That's because the introduction is supposed to be the "Wow" moment. The moment where you'd be like "Holy shit, this place is beautiful".
After that is done, they decide "yeah, the point is made, let's go back to making the place easy on the eyes".

In conclusion, choose your colours wisely.
There are moments where it's appropriate to bombard the viewer with colours, and there are moments when it's best to fade the colours to a singular colour. Yes, that includes brown. 
  • Listening to: My Adorkable Fangirl (by Huy Minh Le)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks
XNinjas by XNinjaRed
XNinjas
A wallpaper of the XNinjas, one of my oldest creations, remade and redrawn in my newer art style.
I drew the characters for a meme, which you can find here:
xninjared.deviantart.com/art/V…

So I thought it'd make a good excuse to draw them again after so long.
Loading...
Today I'd like to talk about writing dumb characters.

You see, I've just watched this movie called Freddy Got Fingered, and I have to say, I've never been this angry at a fictional character in my entire life.

This movie has a main character who is meant to be stupid, which I think was meant to be some kind of charm for the audience.
And I'm aware that there are a few people who think he IS charming, as this movie actually has a cult following.
But to me... it deserved all the hate it got.

Now what do I mean with dumb characters? Well obviously; characters who have low intelligence and tend to be kind of awkward, but are lovable because they've got a big heart, they do mean well and their antics are fun to look at for slapstick reasons.
Characters like Frank Drebin from Naked Gun or Son Goku from Dragon Ball or Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove.

Now why is Nord (The main character of Freddy Got Fingered) not as likable as the three examples above?
Well because his low intelligence and awkwardness is ALL he's got.
All throughout the movie he's just being annoying and awkward, never saying ANYTHING that actually remotely sounds like natural speech, doing everything he can to alienate anyone around him, yet he still ends the movie with having a friggin' girlfriend and making his dreams come true. Halle-friggin-lujah...
He DOESN'T have a big heart, everything he does is for selfish reasons and his antics aren't even funny.
They're just outright stupid, and I grieve for any animal he has abused to film what he so affectionately calls "funny scenes".

This is not to say an idiotic jerk can't be funny. On the contrary, they can be hilarious.
But they're hilarious because they have the reactions of the OTHER characters.
Because the OTHER characters are likable, you can instead just love to hate the idiotic jerk, since you relate to the other characters who rightfully are annoyed by him.

It, however, doesn't work if the OTHER characters ALSO are unlikable jerks!
Freddy Got Fingered has a whole cast of characters who all have to put up with Nord's antics. That SHOULD be a nice set up to have some funny reactions.
But Tom Green (The director and writer of the movie, also the actor of Nord) seems to be unable to realize that his character is in the WRONG here, so he writes all the other characters as unlikable so the viewer would "logically" be on Nord's side again.

Here's the problem; just because the ones opposing a character are unlikable does NOT mean that the character in question suddenly becomes likable!
Let's say there's a character named Bob. He kills puppies for a living.
Then you have a Terrorist. He breaks bicycles of 9 year olds.
They meet and you have Bob annoying the Terrorist, with the Terrorist getting a well-deserved "funny" angry reaction towards Bob.
Well, obviously the Terrorist isn't likable, but that doesn't stop Bob from being the jerk who KILLS PUPPIES FOR A LIVING!
Instead of switching our hatred for Bob to the Terrorist, all you did is give us TWO people to hate!

Now how WOULD a dumb character work?
Well, how about give him a bit more depth than just being stupid?
Doesn't even have to be something innovative. Just have the dumb character at least mean well in everything he does.

Make him honestly not see that what he's doing is wrong, have a scene where someone calmly explains to him why something he's done is stupid and have him actually respond with;
Idiot: "Oh... gee, I didn't think of that... Sorry, Old Man Jenkins, I didn't realize the anvil was going to be heavy... Is your back okay?".

Have him propose to his girlfriend and have the proposal play up the charm of his stupidity, like;
Idiot: "Mary, when I first met you I never imagined that I'd be popping the question in front of this big romantic fountain... I actually imagined popping the question inside the USS Enterprise, but I just found out yesterday that Star Trek is not a documentary..."

Have him be optimistic and simply trying his best to cheer up a friend, ignoring the fact that the friend is grumpy because he just thinks it's his duty as a friend to cheer him up;
Friend: "I just lost my job as a Game Designer"
Idiot: "Oh, that's terrible! What's the reason?"
Friend: "They think my knowledge and ideas of games aren't up to the company's standards."
Idiot: "Come on, that's nonsense! What kind of ideas were they?"
Friend: "You're trapped in a building with killer animals, you're supposed to escape."
Idiot: "Ooh, so kinda like Mario?"
Friend: "What? How the heck does that resemble Mario?"
Idiot: "Well you know, you jump around, roll into a ball, run through a goal sign..."
Friend: "... You mean Sonic the Hedgehog?"
Idiot: "No, Sonic's the girl with the sword and shield, right?"
Friend: "You mean Link... from Legend of Zelda... who's a guy?"
Idiot: "Wow, you know so much about games! Can't believe the company thinks you're not up to their standards!"
Friend: "..."

In general if you want a character to be likable, whether they're stupid or smart, they have to be more than just their intelligence.
You have to look beyond just their own personality and look at how other will perceive them, both the audience and the other characters.
A character is always half of what he is inside and half of what others perceive him on the outside.
Regardless, a Protagonist has to be able to carry the audience with him, and while it doesn't HAVE to be because they're likable (although it's very much preferred), they still have to at least give the audience something to think about, or something to be entertained about.
  • Listening to: My Adorkable Fangirl (by Huy Minh Le)
  • Reading: Those Two Guys Screenplay
  • Watching: The screen of my laptop
  • Playing: Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Drinks

Journal History

deviantID

XNinjaRed
Huy Minh Le
Artist | Student | Film & Animation
Netherlands
:iconapinkishblue::iconxninjared:

Favourite genre of music: Pop/Rock
Favourite photographer: My father?
Favourite style of art: Manga
Operating System: Windows XP
Favourite cartoon character: The Grim Reaper
Personal Quote: "It's not Survival of the Fittests, it's Survival of the ones who dare to cheat."
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:iconcrescotheeko:
CrescoTheEKO Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
:w00t: :party: Happy Birthday!! :party: :w00t:
Reply
:iconxninjared:
XNinjaRed Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Student Filmographer
Thanks, buddy :D
Reply
:iconcrescotheeko:
CrescoTheEKO Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
You're welcome! ;3
Reply
:icon64supernintendo:
64SuperNintendo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Happy birthday!
Reply
:iconjannoo:
jannoo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012
Hmm, it's a long time ago you uploaded something.... When will you upload something new? =D
Reply
:iconlanprowerkopaka:
LanProwerKopaka Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011
Hey, I've tagged you!
[link]
Hope that's okay. :D
Reply
:iconsimmszs:
Simmszs Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank u much for the dA watch :dummy:
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:icontsuki-soraruki:
Tsuki-SoraRuki Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:icongroupjoinplz: :iconcreation-inspiration:
we're so honored you join this group
here are a things you need to know about CI
more information is here
for the rest I wish you a great time at Creation-Inspiration
and feel free to upload your creations anytime ^-^
regards, Crew Of CI
Reply
:iconnekorandomnessqueen:
nekorandomnessqueen Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday! :dummy:
Reply
:iconxninjared:
XNinjaRed Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Student Filmographer
Ah gee thanks, didn't think anyone on Deviant Art would notice.
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