Though my heart does drop a little when somebody invites me to write about an animated alarm clock, the interesting thing about this task is that the character had existed previously only as a drawn logo device, and was now about to be used for the first time on interactive TV. My task was to write a character outline, defining the key characteristics and motivations of the character so these could be shared with the animators as well as being integrated into future brand guidelines. Interesting and fun. Animated character profile for insurance claims specialist CTS.
Dondy, the CTS Clock
Why is Dondy called Dondy? Simple! Because of his fondness for excitably urging people, “Don’t Delay! Claim Today!” which emerges sounding, to some of his friends’ ears, like “Dondy Lay! Claim Today.”
Dondy does not work for CTS. He is not a member of its Customer Service department or anything like that. Dondy knows everyone. He’s a decent and active member of the community, known in the locality by all. You can trust Dondy’s advice. He’d never recommend anything to you unless he knew it was good.
Dondy is always quick to see where someone has a rightful claim to accident compensation, and he is genuinely knowledgeable about accident insurance rather than one of those ill-informed people who, when told any story about any incident by anyone, blurts out an uninformed opinion that “you could get money for that.” When Dondy says you could claim, it’s true.
Dondy is the knowledgeable and motivated friend who urges you to overcome your own inertia and get on and do something. He hates to see anyone not getting what they’re entitled to simply because they are frightened of applying or
don’t know how to apply.
Dondy gets excited. He can’t help himself. When he knows that there is a claim to be made, he has to urge people to make it “Today”. Dondy loves the whole cut and thrust of claims and compensation, and once he’s spotted a claim is possible, he can’t imagine why anyone would delay making it. We know this is the absolute essence of Dondy’s character, his reason for being. How do we know? Because he’s an alarm clock! His whole form has evolved to be able to remind people that the time to act is now. He can seem a bit overenthusiastic in this respect, but people appreciate his good advice and tend to be indulgent of his enthusiasm.
In common with almost all cartoon characters, Dondy has four fingers and not five. However, this may prove to be very useful in enabling him to count out the 4 easy steps to calling CTS using a full hand.
Being a clock, and an animated clock at that, Dondy has the ability to display numerals on his face when required. Like blushing cheeks, they are not visible when he is calm and at rest, but appear when he is eagerly counting out for people the 4 steps. Like his fingers, however, he has only 4 numerals and these display at E, S, W, N, the positions normally occupied by 3, 6, 9, 12.
Why is Dondy an alarm clock? The job of an alarm clock is to ring its bell to remind people it’s time to do something. Really, of course, it’s to remind them to get up, but we can fairly imagine that once everyone is out of bed an alarm clock finds other things to remind people about. In Dondy’s case, claims are his passion, but reminding people to make them “Today” is the essence of who he is.
Dondy’s bell. It doesn’t work very well. Not without him or someone else giving it a sharp tap to ‘unstick’ it. Why? It’s funny, and it’s ‘human’. We can all relate to having bits of our bodies that don’t quite work as they are meant to.
How large is Dondy? He is around 2.5 to 3.0 feet high, like a young child. A cartoon alarm clock of adult human size is very hard to make lovable, and given that he is likely to be in a lot of one to one dialogue, it’s easier to frame and animate him charmingly if he can jump onto things, squeeze into places etc. He has an endearing habit of leading people he wants to show things to by the hand, like a child leading its mum.
What physics govern Dondy’s movement? Animation physics. He is rigid only when static and when it suits the action. He comes from a cartoon world in which he can jump, squeeze, bend and perform whatever feats his animators require him to.
What does Dondy sound like? Hard to say at this stage, and the animators will develop a feel for how he might sound when they bring him to life. However, it’s vital that when you come to dub the films, you choose a good voice artist who is used to doing character animation, and has the vocal versatility to experiment widely in the studio. Dondy is keen to have things happen NOW, however, so it seems reasonable to assume he sounds eager and hurried.
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