|elfflame (elfflame) wrote in rp_tutorials,|
@ 2010-07-07 18:37:00
|Entry tags:||resources: played-bys|
How to find a PB
Something I thought people here might find interesting...
Finding a PB
I’ve been playing online RPG of the Harry Potter variety for four years now. These days all my playing is confined to a few RP partners I feel comfortable with in PSLs, but I still love casting PBs and thinking up ideas. I just wish I could handle being in an actual game, but I’ve learned that that’s just not for me.
So I thought that since I’m not likely to partake in an actual RPG again, I’d like to put this out there for other mods/players to use as a way to help those who often have trouble choosing PBs.
Before I go any further, I should probably define what a PB is. The term PB comes from Roleplay, and is short for the phrase "Played By." What a PB is is a graphical representation (usually in the form of famous faces made into icons and sometimes banners) of the character from a game. It has been adopted in other ways as well, particularly in Harry Potter fandom, where the fans often disagree with the casting that was done for the movies. For the terms of this How-to, a PB is a star (or other famous person) being used to represent a specific character.
I love helping people look for PBs. And people have told me, repeatedly, that I’m great at it. I’m not sure if it’s just my inclination towards pig-headedness, or the amount of icon communities/icon makers I have on my flist, or something else entirely, but I truly don’t see why anyone couldn’t do what I do. So I’m hoping this how-to will help those who are looking, or who want to help someone else find a PB.
What I’ve included here are three things: How I normally go through the process, Links I use in looking up possible faces, and a list of what not to do when it comes to finding a PB.
II. Identifying who you’re looking for:
For me, this step is my shopping list. I generally need a few things: age, general race, sex, and hair colour. I’ve found that eye colour can be difficult to match exactly, so I try to leave that out of my shopping list, or I tend not to find anything. I also make a sub-list of things that might make one PB stand out over another—glasses, identifying marks, curly hair, tattoos, crossdressing, etc. This secondary list are things I might not find, but would be great to have. I tend to use them only to narrow down choices.
This is an especially important step if all you have for the character is a name. Obviously when you’re looking for a well-known character, the characteristics people have come to expect make it easier to find. Usually there’s even a long list of well-picked-through PBs that people generally use for that character. But when you’re doing a name-only character, or an OC, this step becomes much more important. In some ways, it can make or break your character.
A list of what to ask yourself:
* Are there any hints to what the character might look like in their name?
This can be sometimes genetic—if the name sounds Irish or Scottish, or some other nationality, that will narrow down your search to a few looks—and sometimes more literal. JK Rowling in particular likes to use descriptive names, sometimes turning them on their head. This can be a fun way to give your character a quirk—though do be careful not to take this too far or too literally.
* Does the character have any other family, and if so, how are their looks described, if at all?
* What age will my character be in-game?
This one can be very important in choosing one PB over another, as it’s far easier to find 20-something PBs than it is to find Teens or Elders. You need to decide here how flexible you’re willing to be.
* Do I want them to have any particular distinguishing characteristics?
In this case, try to limit yourself to one here, but definitely don’t go over three. Remember, this is just the visual representation of your character. The PB doesn’t need to show all aspects of your character, and you need to leave a lot of room for growth. Pinning yourself down too much will limit that in play. And you also run the risk of a Sue/Stu by overdoing it.
Once you’ve got a basic idea of what to look for, then you can begin your search.
III. Starting your search:
I almost always start my search at pb_updates. Tons of icon-makers post their new PB batches there every day, and the community tags every entry not only with general types (m: white: blond: 20s), but also for many fandoms, and a few other miscellaneous tags for specific searches such as crossdressing or glasses.
I start with their tags, looking for the general sex, age and race of the person I’m looking for. On occasion, if I have a character that has a specific attribute, I will look to see if there’s a tag that will help me and start there—in particular, glasses.
Non-white PBs tend to be less available than the white ones, but that is shifting slowly, and if you do find someone you like, you can always see if there’s an icon maker out there who might be willing to make you a batch of icons. Many icon makers offer custom batches once in a while, or have an entry set up specifically for requests. Because of this, I also generally broaden my search for non-white pbs. Sometimes you can find someone who will fit who might not be the perfect race, but will do for what you’re imagining.
The same actually holds true for hair colour for PBs. Yes, you might want to play a Weasley, but red-haired PBs can be especially difficult to find. And sometimes black and brown hair can be almost interchangeable. As can blond and brown. This is true of age as well. 10s and 20s can be almost interchangeable depending on the PB, and in some cases, the PB might span more than 20 years of an actor’s career. Don’t let the labels put you off just because they’re not exactly what you’re looking for. The more you try, the more you’re likely to find.
So with all that in mind, I try to think of all the variations that might work at this stage, and look through each tag that might have something to offer, even if most likely won’t be good.
IV. Making a list:
At this stage, I glance at anyone who even approaches the vague description of the character I’m looking for. This bit’s pretty subjective, and I’ve noticed when I help others, things I think acceptable aren’t to the person I’m looking for. All I can say here is to keep an open mind.
I tend to use Google in conjunction with pb_updates to pull up full-sized shots when I find someone who’s a possible PB, because while icons are nice, full-sized shots give you a better glimpse at what the PB really looks like.
This is the point when I start narrowing things down to names for PBs. I also use the ones I don’t like to help me refine my list a little. When one that I looked at that seemed to be perfect as far as tags goes looks wrong, I try to figure out why they don’t work. Sometimes it leads to insights into who might, or at least gives me further things to look for.
I tend to get one of three outcomes at this stage:
* The perfect idea for who the PB should be (sometimes because I see someone who reminds me of someone else, sometimes because I find “the one.”)
* A list of names to narrow down further
* No names at all
With the first, your search is usually over. Sometimes you need to find a good iconner, but that’s about it.
With the second, I recommend Googling again, and comparing to your shopping list to see which of your possible PBs works best for your purpose. In this case, your shopping list can really help you narrow down your choices. Particularly when it comes to age. This is when I use the sub-list the most. This is also the time I look at eye colour for determination of PB. Sometimes you just won’t find someone with the appropriate colour, but sometimes, this is the best way to differentiate between two PBs.
With the last, I move on to my other favorite way to find a PB: Best of, aka Provocateuse. I’ve used this site to find good PBs from the very start. The list here is extensive, and has both women and men, as well as a great variety when it comes to nationality. Don’t just look at Best of the Rest, either. Glance through all the lists at the site, as some people only show on one list.
Usually, by that point, I’ve found someone, though there have been times when I’ve just been unable. Usually at that point I have to put it all aside and look at it again another day. Sometimes the second glance shows me someone I’ve missed or ignored the first time, or I’m even luckier, and someone’s posted a new set of icons that make for the perfect PB for the character I’m looking for.
However…there are other options out there: find_a_pb and suggest_a_pb, both of which can help you with hard-to-think-of PB suggestions. The latter of which has lists of characters and good PBs to use for those characters.
Finding a PB is an extremely subjective experience. Sometimes what doesn’t work one day is perfectly acceptable the next. All I can say is keep looking, because eventually you’ll find someone.
I hope this How-to and the following links will help you in your hunt. I’ve tried to be as detailed as I can in my process.
If you’ve got any questions, feel free to contact me at my IJ, elfflame. This has been posted there as well as at rp_tutorials. Any feedback or suggestions for additions at either place are more than welcome.
Thanks, and good luck hunting!
pb_updates – updated very regularly, complete with tags for general features, and memories by first name.
wikicon – for use when you have a PB’s name, but not enough icons. A huge listing of icons by icon-makers on IJ, listed in Memories by first name. Also has a red-hair specific listing.
find_icons – another place to go when you have a PB name, but not enough icons. This is a spot to post and ask others if they have seen that PB iconned anywhere. All entries are tagged by PB name.
find_a_pb – as listed above, a good place to ask for help when you find nothing using the above how-to.
suggest_a_pb – a community good for finding lists of suggested PBs for specific characters—currently only has fairly common HP characters.
Hollow Art – A huge archive of icons, banners and journal layouts, highly searchable.
Best of – A large site with lots of great photos of different actors and artists.
*NEW*Why They're Hot - A Tumblr that posts hot folks and gives lots of resources for them.
Good rules of thumb to keep in mind when you choose a PB. Like any rule, none of them are 100% true. I've broken three of them myself. Sort of. Just beware of the 90-99% of the time when they are true.
* Before choosing a PB, check to see if there is a banned PB list for the game you’re making the character for, and also which PBs have already been taken, so that you don’t choose someone already in use.
* In general, it’s best to stay way from models. They're easily overused, and often end up on banned lists for this very reason. That's not to say they shouldn't be used. Just with caution. There may be exceptions to this rule, but it’s best to try to find an actor if you can. The same goes for Musicians, particularly of the JRock variety.
* Be careful—some PBs are heavily used for specific characters in certain fandoms, and using them for anyone else (aside from direct family members) can lead to a great deal of confusion for some, and could lead to outright denial of your app in certain instances.
* Never build a character around a chosen PB. Always build your character first. That’s not to say you can’t have a list of people you’d like to use for PBs, but it’s always best to start with the character first. There’s nothing wrong with using your favorite actor or actress or musician, but only if they work for that character.
* No matter how “fun” it might seem to you, using a group of PBs from a TV show or a band for a family group or some other sort of linked set of characters generally comes off as more tacky than not. Especially when it’s a pairing. Yes, Mal and Inara look great together. No, that does not mean you need to make Nathan Fillion Remus and Morena Baccarin Tonks.