1. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    A tapir as a main character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rick n Morty, Jul 18, 2016.

    Before I get to the topic at hand, I want to talk a little about this project.

    Even though I've talked about the dinosaur story much more often, this project is my magnum opus, the one I've been developing for years. I've only mentioned it once here, on the "environmental messages" thread I made when I was new to this site.

    It's very deep, complex, and character driven, and takes influence from films such as The Secret of NIMH, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Prince of Egypt. It deals with heavy themes from interracial adoption to animal abuse in circuses. Everyone I've showed it to, family members and non-family members, real-world friends and deviantART friends, agreed that the idea was very good.

    I'm not gonna reveal too much about it (if you want to know more, you can message me), but I got the idea because I'm fascinated with Southeast Asian culture, and I thought a Disney or Don Bluth-style film set in Indonesia and Malaysia would be very interesting.

    Now, onto what concerns me the most about this concept.

    Okay, so all four of my main characters are animals. They consist of a Komodo dragon, a gibbon, a Malayan tapir, and a tiger. While many people know what the other three are, I'm not sure if a lot of people know what a tapir is.

    Do you think it's a big cause for concern to have an animal as obscure as a tapir as one of the main characters? I really hope I don't have to change the character's species.

    Yeah, this issue doesn't sound like a big deal on paper, but I just want to check. ;)
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it an illustrated book? If so, I think readers will be able to get a pretty good idea of what a tapir is. (I have a basic idea because I've seen them in a zoo. If I hadn't seen them there, I don't think I'd know based on any other experiences I've had.)
     
  3. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Introducing people to a new animal could be a bonus but I knew what one was (that might be because I've worked with them for two months). I was initially grabbed by tapir in the thread title as I find the babies very cute and the fact it would be a main character!
     
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  4. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    I wrote it down, but don't picture it as a book, but as a movie. (Specifically, a 2D-animated, Disney or Don Bluth-style film.)

    Maybe it'll become a movie, or maybe it won't. (My mom's friend wants me to pitch it to a studio, but I'll wait till traditional animation comes back before attempting.) I still have fun imagining it anyways.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt many people knew what a meercat was pre-Lion King. As long are there are pictures, I think you're good.
     
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  6. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Why? Why wait for a swing of a trend in the abstract future, that you can't predict? What if it never comes back? I think your idea is good and you should start networking with the right people and pitching as soon as it's ready, instead of waiting for the climate to change. You have to be flexible in the arts business.
     
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  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tapirs are awesome. Run with it.
     
  8. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Lots of animators are working on independent 2D-animated projects, like James Lopez with Hullabaloo, Don Bluth with the Dragon's Lair movie, and Sergio Pablos with Klaus. I am confident that someone will succeed in bringing 2D animation back, even if it takes a long time.
     
  9. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I think having a tapir as a main character is wonderfully original. Go for it! Those who don't know what one is will learn.
     
  10. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    There's so much you could do with an odd-one-out main character.

    -people mistake it for other animals, MC gets upset. "Seriously, an anteater? I look NOTHING like an anteater!"
    -MC has to keep explaining to everyone the difference between it and other animals. "I'm not a pig, we don't hooves, we have claws!"
    -MC doesn't actually know anything about its own kind, never met another one, meets one in the wild and realizes its not what you are, its who you are or some other sentimental sludge.
    -MC sees its self in a mirror for the first time. "Wait, THATS what i look like?"
     
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  11. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Even if people don't know what a tapir is, it's a great opportunity to introduce them to an endangered animal that needs protecting, which seems to fit with the theme of your protagonists! :-D
     
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  12. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    Tapirs have hooves.
     
  13. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    I don't think it's a big deal that the main character is a tapir, but I think that it's important with such stories to get the message across without being too preachy. It might be good if there is a more personal theme to the story, something kids can easily relate to, such as friends stick up for each other, and the environmental message is overlayed upon that.

    The idea of the Secret of NIMH was brilliant(even though it gave a very negative message to people with bona fide mental health issues who actually need medications, but such a message is tacitly or not so tacitly, very popular today).

    The more accessible idea of NIMH was that through hard work and sticking together, great things can be accomplished by the 'smallest' of creatures, something children strongly resonate with.

    The other messages, the more 'adult' ones, were overlayed upon that. And were 'available' for adults watching the movie, but were over the heads of most kids.
     
  14. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    As mentioned in the other thread, the reason I included the "animal abuse in circuses" wasn't so that I could teach audiences that animal abuse in circuses is bad (I'm sure that's common knowledge). It was just meant to be another obstacle in the casts' adventure.

    My main message was the idea that someone doesn't have to be biologically related to be considered family. The cast spends most of it trying to find their own kind, and close to the end, decide to go live at a zoo. But before they can enter, they get afraid of separating, since they've gotten to know each other for so long, and then that's when they officially realize to stay together.

    Please note that I am NOT trying to demonize zoos. The zoo is talked about as a wonderful place where humans care for you and you're safe from both predators and disease. My idea there was that the zoo was a metaphor for Heaven, and you can't enjoy paradise without friends or family along with you.
     
  15. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    I suppose that depends on one's view of heaven/the afterlife.
     

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