I was watching a classic film that catapulted the career of Charlie Chaplin, and that was THE KID.
MY GOSH, I never laughed that genuinely ever at the beginning of any film. It was so perfectly constructed the first 20 minutes that it was nearly impossible for anyone not to laugh out of joy.
The reason I bring this up is because the beginning of THE KID is a perfect example of creating empathy for the main character by making them sympathetic. What happened at the start of this film was a single mother had a child. The father abandoned her and the baby. She was so afraid of raising this newborn alone that she decided to abandon him in a car. The men that owned the car didn’t find out the baby was in there until it started crying. They pulled a gun on it thinking he was a burglar. After finding out it was a baby these men abandoned the baby and left it near the trash.
Thus is where Charlie Chaplin comes in. Charlie Chaplin is a poor old SAP just wandering around when he finds the baby. At first, he thinks it belongs to a lady and places it next to her baby, but she says it’s not her and makes him take it away. Even that woman who has a baby didn’t want the kid. So Charlie Chaplin leaves with the baby. He then tries to abandon the baby next to the trash that he found him in but a police officer is right behind him, and he cleverly plays it off and walks away with the child.
Charlie then tricks an old man and tells him, hold the baby while I tie my sneakers, and the old man does so. Charlie runs off, and the old man chases after Charlie, but charlie evades him, and the old man finds the woman again and places the baby in the carriage. The woman comes back out and sees the baby and right in that instant Charlie walks by and she slaps him on the head with an umbrella and tells him to take the baby, and he is forced to do so. Charlie then leaves with the baby and even considers putting him in the sewer drain (geez).
So what happened here?
The biggest sympathetic feelings has been built for this baby. He has been abandoned about 9 times! Holy crap you have no choice but to feel bad for the kid
Fast forward five years later and Charlie has raised the boy to be his right-hand man. Charlie fixed the windows that the kid brakes. And oh my goodness the next 10 minutes make you burst out in laughter because the kid is just too darn slick and cute.
Before this, the mom had had an epiphany and wanted her child back, but it was too late. The baby had disappeared.
We then find out that she has become a prominent lady in those five years. Without spoiling anymore I won’t further.
The reason I saw this film was that it was shown to me in music and film class. The professor explained that Chaplin had revisited the movie 20 or so years later and rewrote the soundtrack to fit the film better.
But while that was interesting I found the tactic Charlie used to create sympathy was so efficient. He did the same technic 5 times! You can do the same with just careful planning. Have what I talked about in this article in the back of your head while you write. To learn more techniques, subscribe to my email list.
RECAP- How exactly did he create sympathy?
1. Abandoned by father
2. Abandoned by mother
3. Abandoned by the two men
4.abandoned by Charlie
5. Lady didn’t want.
6. The old man didn’t want the baby
7. lady didn’t want again.
8. Charlie tried abandoning it stopped by police officer.
9. Charlie considered leaving it in the sewers
POOR KID, POOR KID….
That’s all for today!