She needs to look pretty!

Inside Out, Disney

“Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty… So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough.”


So who dictates what is pretty? According to Chapman, these days it is usually marketing:

“Before The Lion King (which was a hugely surprising financial success), the films were creatively led and supported by marketing. Now marketing calls the shots… and their vision is limited to previous successes. They don’t look forward or try to break creative ground. They want to stay in the safety of what is known to work, which in the end is a very short-sighted approach.”

A good silhouette is iconic – characters like Maleficent, Shrek and even all of the Seven Dwarves are easily recognisable as shadows. However, the more recent female animated characters lack any real distinction in terms of their silhouettes – all have big heads, small waists, an hourglass figure and the same, exaggerated human look. Creative risks these are not. Even more distinctive female characters like Joy, Sadness and Disgust in Inside Out adhere to the ‘human’ rule – although director Pete Doctor states they were designed to look like a star, a teardrop and broccoli (respectively), all three could be sisters when contrasted with the two male leads, Anger and Fear. Anger is a squat, red, brick-shaped being, while Fear is lanky and vertical, designed with a raw nerve ending in mind. The contrast between the two male characters is clear, and allows for a full range of motion and animation, and while it is a step forward, the blackout silhouette lineup of Inside Out’s five emotions reveals two very distinct characters, and three humans.

full article here

 

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