A Dreamer Walking

Let The Conscious Be Your Guide!

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on September 4, 2010

In every film there is at least one type of conscious that is expressing some kind of eternal debate that is going on in the main characters head. Above you can see three of the more obvious individual conscious’ that have been used in film business. With animation you have a little bit more liberty to visually show the conscious as a individual character. Anything is possible in animation so having a living breathing character telling the main character what is right or wrong, is not too extreme for the audience to buy into. With Obi-Wan from Star Wars  it is explained that he can guide the lead character Luke Skywalker, through the power of the Force. All three of the characters above, Gusteau from Ratatouille, Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio, Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars, are used to be the Conscious of the main characters and are vital to moving the main character and Story forward.

I explain the conscious as being the visual example of what is going on deep in the characters head. In essence the conscious is what tells the main character the difference between good and wrong. Sometimes the conscious comes in the form of a other character such as the ones you see above. Sometimes the conscious comes from many, maybe even a community such as in The Last Samurai where the lead character Nathan Algren is completely changed through the community of Samurai he is forced to live the winter with. Characters like Jiminy  Cricket are used when the main character does not have much interaction with the rest of the world. Characters like Remy, Pinocchio, and even Luke Skywalker, have a lot of screen time where they are essentially alone and need something else to interact with in order to understand the conflict that is going on in the characters head or in order to move the story along.

The conscious is used to be the guide of the film, so if the conscious is represented through a  character or through a community, you need it to to stay relatively the same. The whole point of a conscious is that foundation that gives the audience grounding. In most films you want to see a good representation of a foundations that can ground your story, the conscious can often do that for you. If you watch a movie like Lord of the Rings, you will see that there are characters that stand for what is right through even the hardest of times, a example of this would be Samwise Gamgee. Sam is sort of used as Frodo’s conscious, standing for what is right even through the hard times. There are many places where Frodo is about to quite or his reasoning is clouded because of the burden he bears (that being the ring). But with Sam, Frodo is able to see a constant light that keeps him on the right path. Because of Sam, Frodo is able to keep moving forward, witch in turn keeps the story moving forward.

You do need to make sure you do not use a conscious as a way to preach at the audience. The conscious is used as a guide the main character and move the story forward. Even though the conscious represents the difference between right and wrong, it could be different from our perception of what is right and wrong or the reality of what is right or wrong. A great example of this would be Fight Club, where the main character Jack, is guided by his sort of “conscious” Tyler. In the end of the movie Jack realizes that Tyler’s perception of right and wrong is not exactly in line with the reality of right and wrong, in essence Jack finds out that his guide or “conscious” was leading him the wrong way.

There are many movies that don’t like to draw a clear line, there are movies that draw the line in a completely different place that our society is used to. However, in almost all the movies you watch there is some hint of what the director considers to be Truth. There is often a character or two that represent the Truth that resonates with audience at very deep level. Just because there is that truth, does not mean the main character needs to follow it, actually the interesting parts of most stories is when the main character rebukes his or her conscious.

(Tell me what you think? This is sort of a concept that I have been thinking of fore a while, however I do not claim that all my thoughts are completely accurate. If there is some confusing parts or things that you want to add onto in this blog, please comment 🙂 )

One Response

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  1. Liam Taylor said, on October 11, 2019 at 4:59 am

    Thanks – useful blog. Would be interested in seeing any follow ups to this blog. I am interested in this type of character and the different examples of use.

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