Understanding character video
Duration: 2 minutes 31 seconds
Erin – Hey Mr. Cranna!
Mahdi – What are you doing?
Mr Cranna – Drawing a new character for my comic. [Mr Cranna turns around notepad to reveal image of a volcano]
Erin –Oh, let's see.
Mahdi – Your new character's a volcano? I thought characters have to be human.
Mr Cranna – Actually, the concept of character can be a fictional person or idea. So long as you give your character an identity. That means a personality, wants, emotions, and feelings. So a fictional character could be a volcano, or, a disgruntled lobster! [draws lobster on page]
[Erin turns into a lobster with pincer hands and lobster head]
Erin – Ugh, what's with these pincers? They're not good for anything!
Mr Cranna – Characters are important because what happens to them and what they do drive the action in a narrative. They have to want something, or need to do something, and then set about trying to achieve, or obtain, that goal.
Mahdi – I still don't get how a character doesn't have to be human. Aren't you supposed to be able to connect with a character? I mean, I definitely don't connect with a shellfish.
Mr Cranna – Well, what if you knew she had a goal? She's been training for months to become the world's greatest hairdresser.
Mahdi – You wanna be a hairdresser too?
Mr Cranna – But she's finding it tough to get clients because no one wants to get the hair cut by a crustacean.
Erin – Why does nobody wanna be friends with me?
Mahdi – I find it hard to make friends sometimes too. Hang on! I've got an idea. Why don't we become friends and open a hairdressing salon together?
Erin – Yay!
Mr Cranna – Still think you can't connect with a crustacean character?
Mahdi – Wow, how did that happen? To begin with, I didn't care about the lobster, but now she's my bestie.
Mr Cranna – You were able to connect with the lobster when I gave her some characteristics. I told you what her goal was, and what the problem she was facing. Goals and flaws are important, because they allow us to connect with a character on an emotional level. Hmm, it's got me thinking. I need to give my volcano a want, and a motivation.
Erin – Yeah, so we can connect with it.
Mr Cranna – I know, maybe the volcano is kind, and wants animals to live on it. But it gets angry when the animals keep littering on the volcano. So it gets mad, and boom! Blows it's top.
End of transcript
Example learning sequences that teach character
The English curriuclum team produced two week units of work called 'Focus on character' for Early Stage 1 to Stage 3.
The resources include a:
- teacher guide
- student workbook.
English K-10 Syllabus © 2012 Copyright NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales.
English Textual Concepts and Learning Processes, and Related Syllabus Content © State of New South Wales, Department of Education, 2017 Learning and Teaching Directorate