Creating the Character from the music

(LO2:) This project brief that I created was a way for me to challenge myself and to approach another way of creating ideas. The idea was to collaborate with a music student, that would create the music first and from this I was to create a character and later a story to tie in together. This was a lot harder than I anticipated but it meant that I had to really work hard to produce a creative and relevant character.

(LO2:) Before I explain more about the synopsis of the character that I created, above is the music that I received from my music student (Eliza Daly). I received this final piece of music on week 3/4 and after receiving it I explored many characters and ideas. I listened to this piece of music non-stop for over a week to know the ins and outs of every note. (LO5:) I asked family and friends to explain what they thought about the tone of the music (which was similar to my own ideas). (LO2:) It’s a suspenseful, slow paced, serious, sturdy, mysterious and magical piece. Listen to it above before reading on…

Scan_20170216 (44)w

(LO2:) I created this list of 6 characters that reminded me of the music or captured the essence of the music. However these characters were all completely different. In the end I realised that the music represented a lot of moods – the journey of the music changes which was really nice since I felt that I could create a complex character. It took me a while to decide because of the many characters I could create – it was down to interpretation.

The first character was an unpredictable, emotional, she acts to her emotions – to connect with the idea of the changing pace. The second character was serious, polite and abrupt. I felt that parts of the music was very square. The third character was gentle but curious and daring in her gentle way. – slow pacing and determined middle section. The forth character was logical, critical and angry. The music had this rolling drum sound which reminded me of a mechanical logical thinker. The fifth character on this list was irritated, arrogant, defensive but still driven and brave. She was a character that was agitated easily. The last character was meant to be a villain like, evil, cruel, slow moving and weird.

Final Character

I decided to go with the 3rd character who was the strong soft character. A character that was gentle and kind but still strong and determined. She would over estimate herself but she tries her best. She is a logical thinker and observant. I felt in the end the music was slow paced and gentle like this character – the determined and strong section in the middle – therefore her gentle strength appears. The music for me has a mature tone – She is wise before her age but still can act naively. We often see characters that are ‘strong’ women, which are female characters without emotion, numb to emotion in order to make them strong, or they are rude and witty. I want a character that is gentle and soft but her strength is standing up when she needs to in her gentle way. I want her to be kind and sweet.


(LO2:) When I create a character I want them to be as complex as possible – I like to create characters that have depth and the ability to drive the story. I always create a list of different words that would describe their character, including at least three faults. This is their negative qualities which are just as important as their good ones – the bad qualities creates a round character which is more appealing. In this case her emotions can work her up, she is defiant and stubborn and will stand for herself – she is also very protective which can be negative. She is naive, and experienced in the world.  However she has a long list of good qualities and its the mix of the two I want to explore in her journey (the music above points out the different feeling from the music – explained more below…)

Who is my character?

  • She has a very gentle serene nature. It’s calming and steady. Mature nature about her that is soft and welcoming.
  • If provoked she is Stubborn and will fight for her corner.
  • Fear and doubt can draw her into herself at times 
  • Strong and determined – protective and will make her voice heard
  • Observant and intelligent can empathize and read situations very well.
  • Intelligence leads her to curiosity and figuring things out (logical mind set.)
  • Patient? Keeps trying and determined.
  • Will over estimate herself / exaggerate
  • Stubborn and emotional she gets carried away with herself. Hard to forgive.
  • Will try and do the right thing – carried with guilt
  • A gentle character with strength (not a strong character that is soft)

Earlier Explorations


Sketchbook pages exploring music

(LO2:) I explain more on the page to the right in the post below – but to understand the left page let me explain that I created these music diagrams above with shapes for me to visualize the music. From these I tried to develop the character on the page to the left…


(LO2:) I created this spider diagram above to explore the music personality in more depth and to make sure that the character had been explored into depth. I wanted to be creative and experiment with ways I could visualize the music and imagine the shapes of the sounds – this reflecting on the personality of the character. The shapes at the top (explaining my diagrams) explain the different tones of the music.

The music goes through a lot of changes and sparks of different elements just like a normal human who react and have different layers to their personalities – for me it was important to develop the character and make sure the music was being used correctly. The difficulties that I found was the variety of tones in the music which meant lots of music – in the end I decided to create a character from the music on the whole and the main tones in the music. I’ve explore different moods and feelings.  This page helped me to visualize the music and the main emotions / characteristics I have circled above in the music.

Mood boardssome

(LO1/LO2:) When I was struggling with deciding on the final character, I created a few of these mood-boards with photographs of women that I felt captured the look of the music or an emotion of the music. The music for me was serious and sincere, the character at this point was going to hide herself in a stubborn outer shell but really she was kind and honest.


(LO1/LO2:) Here is another mood-board exploring the same ideas. I found the older (black and white photography) models to have a lot of expression and feeling to them, hence why I have used so many. I like the honest and direct characters. They all tell different hints of the character from the music.


(LO1/LO2) Above is another mood board where I collected models that had a lot of expression and feeling to their photographs and captured hints of the music. This was a very creative exercise that enabled me to give characters to these different women and what I could take away from each of these characters for my own. How I could use facial expressions to give hints of character to the audience too.

Characters who remind me of my character


(LO1/LO2:) After determining who my character was I explored characters already existing for me to think of how my character could transform from an idea to a living character. Sybil from Downtown Abbey is a very sweet and kind character –  she is fair and soft but I like how she is also defiant and strong in her own way compared to the other characters. She approaches things with a soft spirit – I want to be able to create a gentle character similarly.


(LO1) What I like about Rose from Titanic is her maturity and her childishness together -like my music which I feel is mature she is very refined and hard. But yet she still has these hints of innocence and childish nature hidden, I also like her strength and her defiant nature. She is a very complex character that changes throughout her film.  


(LO1/LO2:) Tara from Buffy is very soft and quiet character. She is another humble and sweet nature which is logical and observant. I’ve never created such a gentle character and I hope I can achieve this with for my final animation.

Research into character

Creating a character - Sheet1

I encountered the challenge later on when my story was developed and I had decided the character – that the character had to react to being shrunk/small on a stream and this took away from the character that I had spent so long creating. Obviously she can react in the only way she can, but it was difficult to show her any way other than the human reaction – how can I enable her to come through. I wanted to understand explore this problem and researched into good characters to see how they over came this problem.

Above is a diagram that I created after some research into character development, which I will call ‘WHAT THEY ARE.’ All of these characters have a title which is given before their own personal character (in my character’s case she is small). For instance Quasimodo (Hunchback of Notre Dame) is a ‘deformed‘ Hunchback, Frodo (Lord of the Rings) is the Ring bearer / Hobbit, Chihiro (Spirited Away) is a child moving house and Aldonza (Man of La Mancha) is a Prostitute. But all of these titles do not describe any of who these people are. They all have different personalities separate from ‘what they are’ – but they are also impacted by their titles e.g. Quasimodo is a hunchback which means he is lonely, sad, isolated, shy, obedient, but we know separate from this, his character is gentle, kind and brave. They show their true character in different ways, by what they do. Hunchback cared for the bird and defied his master going outside and saving Esmeralda. Aldonza it was sharing in the world of Don Quixote and cleaning the wounds of the thieves and villains (Who later attack her.) Chihiro returned the staff and at the beginning she never ate the food that wasn’t hers (even though her parents did, a good example of her character shining through).

Frodo is a good character to look at for this idea of ‘what the are.’ He is the ring bearer which was the reason (catalyst) that made him sad, angry, possessive and depressed. His character was actually adventurous, happy and brave but he throughout the trilogy is in pain and struggling. His goal which drives him to get rid of the ring that has the power over him. Like my character in the state of ‘what they are’ – ring bearer and My character small.



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