The Influence Character in The Shape of Water

Chris Huntley00:00

If you think of him as in terms of Conceiving an Idea, especially at the last moment where, what's-his-name, "You are a God!" You know, that would be a Conceiving an Idea moment. Where he finally gets it. That's the kind of thing where you're sort of like, "Oh, you're not subhuman, you're super-human or super-whatever, humanoid.

Jim Hull00:21

Can I just ask what was the Psychology part for the Influence Character?

Chris Huntley00:24

Yes, I think it's, it has to do with, is there, does this thing have a Psychology? Is it, is it a thinking creature? And if it does, how does it think? Does it, does it think like us?

Jim Hull00:39

Is that in there?

Chris Huntley00:41

As he starts to do things, she becomes more and more convinced that there is a psychology there. There is a being there, there is a thinking soul. How does this thing work? How does this thing think? You know, which is why she's doing all these tests, to think okay, well, let me try music. Maybe. Does he like music? Oh, he likes music. The fact that the more she begins to realize or understand how he thinks the more it is, like, he's just like her.

We see her come to that realization halfway through the story and then beyond that, she starts to realize he's a lot more like her. And that there's, there's more than just a being there, that there is a kindred soul. You know, but I think that's why, since it's identified as a monster fish, that is a big unknown. And as that becomes more and more clear that's what has that, that influence on her. Does that answer your question?

Jim Hull01:51

Totally. It's totally Iron Giant. It's the same. I was just having trouble. That makes complete sense.

Nic Schouten01:56

The IC is having an impact clearly on evolving the way that she's thinking.

Chris Huntley02:01

If it's a Changed Main Character. Think of it as challenge. Because that's what an IC does. The IC challenges, and if it's a manipulation, then it's how the IC thinks will challenge what the Main Character does.

Nic Schouten02:13

And where's the evolution on that?

Chris Huntley02:15

I think it has to do with the revelation of it.

Mike Wollaeger02:18

Can I pitch my...?

Before the creature shows up, there's a magic world in all of those old movies. Right? And she lives in this small room, and that's her world. It's that room, and the bus, and work. And when she meets this creature...

Chris Huntley02:38

And fairytales exist in the box, right.

Sandy Stone02:41

And downstairs in the theater.

Mike Wollaeger02:43

And when she meets this creature, fairytales exist in the world. And they're for her. And she can engage them. And that is a total reconceptualization of how the world works. I think that's the influence.

Nic Schouten03:03

No, I agree that there's an influence. I'm just trying to see if it's okay to assign manipulation to an Impact Character based mostly on the impact--

Chris Huntley03:13

That's your primary way...

Nic Schouten03:16

As opposed to just say, okay, he's got problems in the manipulation area.

Mike Wollaeger03:19

I'm thinking about last month, The Conversation. In The Conversation, everything happened inside of Gene Hackman. You know, the tape was fixed. But it was still Memories because he would play it, and he would,

Chris Huntley03:33


Mike Wollaeger03:34

It would affect him. Everything happened in it.

Chris Huntley03:36

That's the nature of the Influence Character is how it influences, or impacts, or provides an obstacle to the Main Character's avoidance of the problem. So it forces the Main Character to have to address their personal issues.

Nic Schouten03:53

Or address their worldview.

Chris Huntley03:55

Not their worldview, their issues. In which their worldview has issues. Because if they don't have issues,

Nic Schouten04:03

No story.

Chris Huntley04:04

Well, no, they can be a Steadfast character, but then the issues are outside of them, but it's still their world.

That's why the point of reference is always from the Main Character's perspective. When you think of the Influence Character, the Influence Character is the You perspective. It's the someone who says, "You're not this, you're this, you're the other thing. You, you, you, you, you."

Well, who is that directed at? It's always directed at the Main Character, but it's coming from the Influence Character. That's why the You.... when we look at this, we think, oh, if I adopt it in an Influence Character-- No, no, no. It's not a Main Character. So you can't adopt it in the same way. You can't stand in their shoes and think of yourself, you stand in your shoes and think of how your relationship is to him or her. And what did you say to that person about that? That's what that Influence Character would do.

And is it a very confusing perspective because we always want to step into the shoes of a character. We want to take their perspective and see how things are in relationship to them. But that's not what that perspective is. It's always in relationship to someone else.

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