104 – Reading vs Watching a Character

The Mythcreant Podcast

Which better brings a character to life: the skilled performance of a master actor or the flowing words of an author’s quill? That’s the topic we brought Wes back a third time to discuss. While TV and films let us literally see what is happening to a character, only in prose can we easily hear the character’s internal thoughts. Movies and shows might have more explosions, but books can have more long-winded monologues. Which medium will come out ahead? What does it mean to truly know a character? Why are we still talking about Snape? You’ll have to listen to find out.  

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Have a question or comment for our hosts? Send it to [email protected]

Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Teen Wolf

Yes, it seems they did put Vaseline on the lens for soft focus shots in Star Trek.

Mr. Robot

Fire Logic, by Laurie J. Marks (Although it’s not actually clear if the protagonist is a woman of color like Oren assumed.) 

The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison 

House of Cards and Jessica Jones, both shows on Netflix that do interesting things with point of view. 

Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Forster

P.S. Our bills are paid by our wonderful patrons. Could you chip in?

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  1. Hunter-Wolf

    I have to really strongly disagree with Chris on point of view character in visual mediums, there are a lot of different ways visual medium can clearly pinpoint a character as the POV character, a well known example is Fight Club, the whole movie is from the point of view of the main character, the entire point of it is specifically that and also to not let us fully realize that until near the end, on a second viewing we get a very good idea of what’s going on in the character’s head since we now know the 2nd main character is also part of the main character’s psyche.

    A very recent example is the stop-animation movie Anamoliza, where again the entire point of the movie is that we see things from the main character’s point of view (except this time it’s clear from the start), the whole thing is visual and not done through exposition or 4th wall breaking antics, they use the medium to its full extent to show how the main character views the world, i highly recommend this movie either way.

  2. Adam Reynolds

    One interesting thing with the Hunger Games example for me is that the books left me with a feeling that it was fake more than the films, because the worldbuilding didn’t work quite as well. In particular, I was left with a general feeling that the author and thus Katniss had no real experience actually surviving in the wilderness. The films lacked this problem because we never saw narration from the character directly.

    Something worth noting in terms of acting and perspective is the Kuleshov effect, in which actors can do absolutely nothing and yet appear to emote quite strongly due to editing. This is achieved by the shot-reverse shot, in which we cut to the face of the actor in which we see their apparent reactor to whatever is occurring. If it is a horrific scene we judge the person to be horrified, if it is an attractive person we judge the person to be aroused. This was alluded to with the comments about reaction face. Sometimes the actor doesn’t actually have to do anything to get this effect.

    I would also argue the opposite point about books vs films when it comes to empathy to some extent. Empathizing with someone else is easy when you can see inside their mind. Empathizing with the same person just based upon their actions is much harder and in many ways is a better life lesson.

    The problem of someone being charismatic and likable even though they are horrible in terms of their actions is also a nice life lesson as well. We will all encounter someone like that at some point in life, and the sooner you learn to judge people by their actions rather than actions by their people the better. Unfortunately most people never fully learn that lesson.

  3. Pyrut13

    If I would like advice on a story and/or magic system, how should I contact you guys, especially if I want to tweak it more before publicly revealing it?

    • Chris Winkle

      So if you want to ask more brief questions like the ones you’ve been asking, the most reliable way (though not necessarily the fastest), is to submit our ask a question form. https://mythcreants.com/ask-a-question/ – using comments will probably get you a quicker answer. We’re also pretty responsive on facebook. I noticed you also submitted a question via email and tumblr – we will try to be better about those two in the future.

      If you’d like to have us read through your story or system and consult with you about it, you can learn about our paid services here: https://mythcreants.com/services/, and then order a consultation here: https://mythcreants.com/services/order-a-consultation/

      • Pyrut13

        No credit card, so the services are out, at least for now. Thanks for the info!

  4. Pyrut13

    For some reason, I am unable to access the earlier podcasts on Itunes/the Podcast app, could you please fix that?

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