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Article - 'The Lesser Known Main Characters' by Xanqui

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

Sure, you've heard of the heroes, but have you ever considered these insignificant characters?

Body

I came up with the idea for this while watching The Matrix Reloaded. During the awesome highway scene, there was a lot of action, but the camera never really focused on extras. In a lot of movies and games, there will be action sequences that don’t focus on the main character, but rather on a character that the player knows nothing about.

For example, in Final Fantasy VII, just after the party breaks away from Cid’s ship, and the meteor is hit by the ship, it shows several scenes of people being greatly disappointed. In one part of this cutscene, you see a character fall to his knees and lower his head. This character is the main character of that particular shot. You never see him again, and you don’t know his name.

So, what is the significance of them? They provide a point-of-view during scenes that none of the main characters are in. Rather than putting the main characters in every single shot, which would be annoying, the camera can focus on other characters.

The first step is really your decision whether you wish to take it or not. It is not required, but it can help improve upon your hero-less scene. Besides this character’s appearance, he could, perhaps, have a personality. Will he drop his jaw when his car is destroyed, or will he get pissed off and start yelling at the ultimate power destroying his car? Does he have a family? Does he hate his life, and want to die? Decide a personality for this character so that he will have his own specific way of reacting to the action.

As the action takes place, there are two different perspectives this character could have of the action. He could either be in the middle of the action, or he could be outside watching it. Think of how this character would react to the situation from both perspectives, and decide which would be the best for this character.

In the middle of the action, the character will either die or barely escape. Or, what I’ve seen done many times before, is the character will narrowly escape with his life while his brand new car is destroyed. Don’t ask why, but it’s just funny. The character could also die, giving it a less amusing mood.

Outside of the action, there’s not much you can do other than show the feelings of this character.

Remember; this character is the main character. Make it HIS scene. He is the one the audience will care about until it is over. If he dies, make it sad. If he lives, and his brand new car or whatever is destroyed, make it funny. The mood should revolve around this character, and this character alone.

This is a rather short article, compared to some of my others, but seeing as these characters aren’t very important (outside of their scene), there’s just not that much to write about them.