Out of character

Out of character

Out of character (sometimes abbreviated to OOC) is a phrase used in entertainment and role-playing to differentiate between a person playing a character and the character itself. When the person is being him-or-herself, he or she is said to be "out of character". The opposite, when the person is acting as the character, is "in character". Occasionally, a film, TV show, or book will break the fourth wall by having one of the characters step out of character and comment on the story or the other characters (often in a narrative way, which does not affect the story but only informs the viewer). As examples, the film "Annie Hall" and television show "Malcolm in the Middle" frequently use this device.

In role-playing games

Out of Character (OOC) is a roleplaying term, referring to the world of the players, rather than the world of the characters. Actions in the game that are described from the point of view of the assumed character are referred to as In Character (IC). Actions or discussion of the character from the player's point of view are OOC.

OOC can also have almost moral connotations, when it is said to be unrealistically interfering with IC factors. For instance, some players are criticized for interfering with their character's actions and psychology to produce a desirable OOC effect. These players are often believed to be treating the roleplay as a "game" rather than as storytelling. While the term game is often used to describe roleplay, purists observe that important traits distinguish it. For instance, in a traditional game, whatever character or symbol representing the character (e.g., the chosen character in Street Fighter) is merely an extension of the player, whereas in roleplay, the player attempts to become the character and "realistically" portray him or her, as an actor might.

"IC/OOC Separation" is an accepted tenet of many roleplaying systems.

Out of Character (OOC) is also used to refer to fan-written literature when a character is portrayed as doing something that the character would not normally do. Examples include writing a normally docile character as regularly violent and brutish, because the literary portrayal of the character is not consistent with canon establishment of the character's thoughts or actions.

Inconsistent character

"Out of character" may also refer to a time when a fictional character's behavior is different from, and inconsistent with, how the character's personality (particularly their mental and emotional state) has been established in the past, without any apparent reason. The term does not usually apply to a character acting a certain way which is later explained in secret history, or to characters so minor little of their source personality is ever well-known. This process also applies to fan fiction where a character is acting differently from how he appeared in the story's source material.

It can also happen when a saga is written by a huge number of different authors, especially when they write not for the same public. For example, Spider-Man's saga Sins Past was disputed to display an OOC Gwen Stacy. [ [http://www.spiderfan.org/rave/2005/0103.html SpiderFan.org - Rave : Sins Forgiven ] ] , the same being said later of Mary Jane Parker during the periods under Howard Mackie and J. Michael Straczynski, and then ultimately Peter Parker during "One More Day"

Some Star Wars characters were considered as being OOC in the Jedi Prince series. [ [http://www.theforce.net/books/reviews/r_mtyoda.asp TheForce.Net - Books - Reviews | Mission from Mount Yoda ] ]

OOC tends to have a bad connotation in fanfiction, as it 'destroys' large parts of the character's personality. Many people will avoid or badly review a story with an OOC character or characters. For this reason, some archives have rules that either disallow OOC characters, or ask that authors warn their readers in the summary. Most authors will have a minor or major OOC warning, minor being a small personality change, major being something that completely revamps a character.

OOC is not always negative; in monologues, for example, an author may attempt to explain, via either a self-conceived history or from previous events in the canonical series, a character's actions. In the Harry Potter fandom, one may run across a story from Draco Malfoy's point of view, explaining why he committed a specific action. Because we generally only get to see the story from Harry's point of view, the fiction might provide a rational explanation. Not all authors perceive this to be OOC; it depends on how the author presents the story and what 'evidence' they can bring to the table. In this sense, OOC is subjective, as it can be argued that all people see characters differently.

OOC can also be explained as character growth. For example, in the "Neon Genesis Evangelion" series finale, Shinji Ikari is portrayed as being more assertive, while his fellow pilot Asuka Langley Soryu became submissive. While this could be seen as them being out of character, the two endured traumatic experiences shortly before the finale so it is not impossible to assume that the two simply matured.

Another occurrence in works of fiction that could be seen as a form of OOC occurs when a character acts in a misleading manner in regard to their personality, motives, intelligence, or the like. Upon showing the audience such a character's 'true' personality, their behavior may be regarded as inconsistent with the 'false' character who had occurred throughout the work. Examples of characters who this could apply to include Keyser Söze from "The Usual Suspects", Sōsuke Aizen from the Manga "Bleach", and Nina Myers from "24".


See also

* Breaking character
* Corpsing
* In Character
* Fourth wall
* Powergaming
* Fan fiction

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • out of character — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} 1. Not in agreement with a person s character or personality; not in the way that a person usually behaves or is expected to behave; not usual; unsuitable; uncharacteristic. * /Mary is a nice girl. Her fit of temper was out… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • out of character — {adv.} or {adj. phr.} 1. Not in agreement with a person s character or personality; not in the way that a person usually behaves or is expected to behave; not usual; unsuitable; uncharacteristic. * /Mary is a nice girl. Her fit of temper was out… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • Out of character — Out Out (out), adv. [OE. out, ut, oute, ute, AS. [=u]t, and [=u]te, [=u]tan, fr. [=u]t; akin to D. uit, OS. [=u]t, G. aus, OHG. [=u]z, Icel. [=u]t, Sw. ut, Dan. ud, Goth. ut, Skr. ud. [root]198. Cf. {About}, {But}, prep., {Carouse}, {Utter}, a.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Out of character — Out of character, abrégé OOC, est un terme employé par les fans de sagas quand un personnage est repris de manière non correcte. Le terme est employé assez souvent dans les critiques de fan fictions : il signifie que l auteur utilise dans… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • out of character — index inappropriate, inapt, incongruous, inept (inappropriate), undesirable, unseemly, unsuitable …   Law dictionary

  • out of character — phrasal 1. : not in accord with a person s normal or usual qualities or traits his rude behavior was quite out of character; he was generally meticulously well bred 2. : unbefitting a role or character type the protagonist s curtain speech in act …   Useful english dictionary

  • out of character — 1. adjective a) Inconsistent with ones personality, disposition, or usual expected behaviour. The burst of anger was out of character for the normally placid boy. b) Not in character; not successfully performing within the mindset of a given… …   Wiktionary

  • out\ of\ character — adv or adj. phr. 1. Not in agreement with a person s character or personality; not in the way that a person usually behaves or is expected to behave; not usual; unsuitable; uncharacteristic. Mary is a nice girl. Her fit of temper was out of… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • Out of character — Der Begriff Out of character (dt: außerhalb der Rolle), abgekürzt OOC oder OoC, kommt aus der Theater und Filmbranche, wo er den Zustand beschreibt, in dem ein Schauspieler aus seiner aktuellen Rolle aussteigt, um etwa direkt zu den Zuschauern zu …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • out of character —    If you do something that is out of character, it is unlike your usual behaviour or not what is expected from you.     The way she panicked was out of character for such a normally calm person …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

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