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Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animation Features and Shorts, 2nd Edition by Nancy Beiman

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6

Appealing or Appalling? Beginning Character Design

“You mean somebody's actually waiting to see this ?”

—Director William “One-Shot” Beaudine's reply when he was asked to speed up production to meet a deadline

You do not have to like a character to find it appealing. You need only care to know about what happens to it. Appeal in animation may be defined in the phrase, “Do I, the viewer, want to spend a few minutes or hours of my life with this character and this story? Am I willing to suspend disbelief and accept the character as a sentient being? Are its problems of interest to me?”

An appealing character is interesting to look at. Appeal does not mean that it is ‘cute’, lovable, infantile, or cuddly. Monster movies contain good examples ...

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