Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wasted Wednesday: What Spieling Peter Can Teach Writers

::spieling -- to speak extravagantly; a lengthy speech or argument usually intended to persuade::

Spieling is the nickname a certain Peter Pan acquired while working at Disneyland and being in contact with many video cameras.  Because this particular Peter Pan "spiels", or talks, a lot, he was given the nickname Spieling Peter.  His real name is Andrew Ducote, an actor who just happens to be a huge Peter Pan fan.  Ducote's fresh and energetic take on the character of Peter Pan made Disney fans from all over the United States want to fly to Disney Land in California just to meet him in person.  He is perhaps the most popular "face character" (characters at the Disney theme parks who do not where any type of suit that covers their entire face/body and can speak to the visitors of the park) Disney Land has ever seen.  Fan videos with him earn thousands of hits on YouTube and there are even blogs dedicated to this guy.  Before  you continue reading, maybe you want to watch him in action?  Check out his videos below.

Saying Hello to Giselle | Dream Catcher | Little Boy | Disneyland | Losing Voice | Crow | At Disneyland | Story-time featuring Alice & The Mad Hatter

So why is Spieling Peter so popular to audiences?  Well, there are many reasons why.  For one thing, he is fun and energetic.  His talkative nature makes people laugh.  But more importantly, it is Ducote's interpretation of the character he is playing - a boy who never wants to grow up.  Indeed his nature is funny but also quite annoying at times, much like the actual Peter Pan from the movies.
Surprisingly, watching him in character can teach us writers quite a bit about character painting including flaws, hobbies, habits, and environment.  Throughout the videos I posted above, the audience gets a very good sense from Ducote's portrayal of who Peter Pan would be if he actually existed in the flesh.  He enjoys to play games where he is the winner and loves laughing at another's expense (of course friendly expense).  He knows what Dream Catchers mean to someone who lives in Neverland and loves to play his flute if he hasn't forgotten to bring it with him.  And he knows the stories of the other characters around him, referring a little girl who is too shy to speak to visit Ariel because she "lost her voice".  Essentially, Spieling Peter can teach writers how to stay in character.  This is not only important for writers who wish to create their own spin on a story previously told by someone else but also for writers originating characters.  Spieling Peters helps us to remember the big details and the little ones when it comes to bring a character to life!  It is important to learn from other arts other than the novel.  While I'd of course say the novel is essential to the writer, I would also say that other arts are just as important when it comes to writing and we can learn from anywhere; whether it be from a book, a film, a painting, or a Disney Land face character!
While Spieling Peter seems to be the best at his role, there are plenty of other characters who do a pretty good job at their roles as well.  Here are a few more videos for your viewing pleasure!

Megara | Belle & Gaston

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