What Feels Real
Human beings perceive reality in sets of three. Â When something looks or feels “real” we say it has three-dimensions. Â For example: Â Every painting is composed of a background, middle ground and foreground. Â The picture is viewed as a whole and is instantly judged as to how all three visual elements work together. Â Likewise: Â Every piece of music is composed of harmony, melody and rhythm. Each song is heard as a whole and is instantly judged as to how all three compositional elements work together. Â All three layers need to be present to create the richest viewing or listening experience.
Emotional Depth of Field
A fictional characterâ€™s personality or “emotional depth of fieldâ€ť is composed of a psychological set of three. These are: Â the character’s Immediate Tactics, Â Long-term Orientation and Strategic Approach. Â The audience views the character as a whole and instantly judges how all three elements work together.Â Each layer needs to be present to create a rich complex three-dimensional characterÂ that “feels real.” Â Here’s a closer look at at the three elements:
A characterâ€™s Immediate Tactics are how a character viscerally reacts to an unexpected challenge, opportunity or threat. Â This is a characterâ€™s short-term or immediate response or action when caught unawares in a surprising situation or when encountering an unforeseen obstacle or problem. Â Immediate Tactics are where the character goes first emotionally. Â These tactics are a characterâ€™s automatic responses when startled or caught off-guard.
A characterâ€™s Long-Term Orientation is the characters ordinary actions based on his or her belief system and personal values. This orientation is defines what a character does based on how he or she Â views the world, believes the world works, values most or defines life, love and his or her role or place in the world. Â It is how the character acts overall based on his or her accumulated beliefs, assumptions and ideas.
A characterâ€™s Strategic Approach is how a character meets an opportunity, challenge or threat overall. Â This is how a character takes charge or commands others to achieve a goal over the long-term. Â Strategy is the art of obtaining a larger, grander or overarching objective. Â It is how the character tackles obstacles and works toward getting what he or she most fervently desires.