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Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV

From: Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:42:26 +0000
To: "Dawson, Laura" <Laura.Dawson@bowker.com>, "Olson, Peter" <polson@marvel.com>, 'Thad Guidry' <thadguidry@gmail.com>
CC: Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net>, Jason Douglas <jasondouglas@google.com>, "public-vocabs@w3.org" <public-vocabs@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CD19E5F2.4D08%richard.wallis@oclc.org>
Before we go too far down this particular rabbit-hole ;-)

This sounds to me that it is translating into a recommendation to enable the
description of fictional things of any type; plus the ability to describe
them as being fictional representations of real things.

Not forgetting a Character special case.


On 14/01/2013 16:36, "Dawson, Laura" <Laura.Dawson@bowker.com> wrote:

> Smeagol/Gollum springs to mind.
> From:  <Olson>, Peter <polson@marvel.com>
> To:  'Thad Guidry' <thadguidry@gmail.com>, Richard Wallis
> <richard.wallis@oclc.org>
> Cc:  Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net>, Jason Douglas
> <jasondouglas@google.com>, "public-vocabs@w3.org" <public-vocabs@w3.org>
> Subject:  RE: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
> Hi List - 
> I would second Richardıs suggestion that non-character entities be taken into
> account ­ locations are particularly important in, say, the Star Wars universe
> and thereıs many examples of objects and organizations that are important in
> fiction ­ the Elder Wand, the Infinity Gauntlet, HYDRA, etc..  It seems to me
> that characters and these types of things could be logical extensions  of a
> generalized FictionalThing definition.
> Some other use-cases/edge cases to consider:
> - use of real locations in fiction (for example, most Marvel stories take
> place in New York City).  Does that make the real-world location a fictional
> version or not?
> - characters which use aliases - for example, Superman is an alias of Clark
> Kent (or vice versa depending on the fan you talk to).  These are obviously
> most common in comics, but they do appear with some frequency in other genres.
> - peter
> From: Thad Guidry [mailto:thadguidry@gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 9:28 AM
> To: Richard Wallis
> Cc: Gregg Kellogg; Jason Douglas; public-vocabs@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
> A tiny bit of correctness from the movie industry...
> A Movie or Film has a Story/Screenplay which has the Characters created by
> someone typically an Author, where those Characters IN THE STORY are portrayed
> IN THE FILM by Actors.
> The Film's Story (a Creative Work) is where the Characters could land.
> In Freebase we decided however to create a Fictional Character class to reuse
> for lots of things like Comics, Books, Video Games, Fictional Universes, at
> large.
> On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 5:00 AM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org>
> wrote:
> Hi Greg,
> I think we are sort of generally agreeing ;-)
> Firstly I would suggest that character does become a type in its own right ­
> to support the wider understanding of the specialness of fictitious people.
> As you recognised characters appear in many things other than movies & TV, so
> I would suggest the property should be placed upon CreativeWork to cover
> books, plays, poems etc. too.
> I also think it would be a missed opportunity, not to enable the description
> of fictional organizations, places, things etc.  How for instance would you
> differentiate the descriptions of MI6 and SMERSH in the early bond
> films/books, or Bristol and Lilliput in Gulliverıs travels?
> I know this may be a little broader than you intended, but I think it would be
> valuable for this group to work upon.
> Not so sure why you think that the ŒreferencedInı property doesnıt work ­ is
> it the way I have done it, or you think it is superfluous?  If it is the
> latter I was looking to it as an inverse property of character so that
> starting with a character (or a fictional thing, you could describe the
> books/movies that it appears in.
> ~Richard.
> On 14/01/2013 10:24, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net
> <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net> > wrote:
>> On Jan 14, 2013, at 10:32 AM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org
>> <http://richard.wallis@oclc.org> > wrote:
>>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>>> Hi Gregg,
>>> Referencing the other current thread on this list about the purpose of
>>> Schema.org <http://Schema.org>  and the breadth and purpose of the list
>>> itself, I am looking at this from the point of view of someone marking up
>>> their web pages.  Using the additionalType property, I come up with
>>> something like this in Microdata:
>>> <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person"
>>> <http://schema.org/Person%22> >
>>>    <link itemprop="additionalType" href="http://schema.org/FictionalThing"
>>> />
>>>    <span itemprop="name">Harry Potter</span>
>>>    Affiliation:
>>>    <span itemprop="affiliation">Hogwarts</span>
>>>    <div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/FictionalThing"
>>> <http://schema.org/FictionalThing%22> >
>>>     From the book:  <span itemprop="referencedIn">Harry Potter and the
>>> Philosopherıs Stone</span>
>>>   </div>
>>> </div>
>> Actually, I don't think you want to nest the "referencedIn" property within
>> it's own item.
>> I am deliberately resisting the urge to create a Character class, as it is an
>> approach that will obviously not scale across all the fictitious things that
>> we could come across.   How is this different to saying that a thing  we are
>> describing is a schema:Book with an additionalType of schema:Offer so that we
>> can so that we can describe both its creative work and product or sale
>> properties.
>> The reason I proposed a Character type is because I think that a missing
>> property from Movie, TVEpisode and so-forth is, in fact, schema:character. To
>> say that a Movie has a name, director and actors, but not characters, seems
>> to be missing a big part about what people expect from movies, books or TV
>> shows. After all, it's the characters that draw people to these things, it's
>> just the actors that help realize it. Given the need for a character
>> property, what is it's expected range? Thus, my proposal to add a Character
>> class.
>> I acknowledge that Character may be a special case that requires a type ­
>> after all we have a word in English to describe a fictitious person in a
>> creative work, so it may well have enough extra importance to demand one.
>> But using what is a special case to test a generic theory doesnıt work very
>> well ­ lets get generic right and then specialise if it is inadequate.
>> I'm not really trying to solve a generic problem here, and I don't think that
>> the schema.org <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org>  maintainers are that
>> interested in generic things. However, I do think that the vocabulary should
>> be able to express them; adding a FictionalThing class that can be "mixed-in"
>> seems to accomplish this generically.
>>> A bit of turtle always helps me see what Iım modelling, this is what I get
>>> for the above which would naturally map to RDFa:
>>> <http://example.com/people/1234>
>>>     a <http://schema.org/Person>;
>>>     a <http://schema.org/FictionalThing> ;
>>>     schema:name "Harry Potter";
>>>     schema:affiliation "Hogwarts";
>>>     schema:referencedIn ³Harry Potter and the Philosopherıs Stone².
>> Except for the referencedIn I mentioned above, yes. From this perspective, a
>> Character class isn't necessary, but as I mentioned above, if you think (as I
>> do) that a character property is required, then you need a way to describe
>> what the value of that property can be.
>> Iım no RDFS expert so the nuances of your explanation are not fully clear ­
>> however many of our [web page markup] audience are not even aware of RDFS.
>> The above feels like a simple solution to me (which may be simpler to use,
>> than describe using OWL & RDFS).
>> The RDFS Entailment stuff is more intended to motivate what the semantics of
>> rangeIncludes and domainIncludes is. This is not something that should be
>> exposed in the actual vocabulary, or anything that web developers need to
>> know. But for those who want to reason over the vocabularies, we need a way
>> of known precisely what is meant by rangeIncludes or domainIncludes. However,
>> this is divergent from the main thrust of the proposal, but at some point we
>> need to understand the meanings of these annotation properties.
>> Gregg
>>> ~Richard.
>>> On 13/01/2013 09:05, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>> <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >
>>> wrote:
>>>> Hi Richard,
>>>> On Jan 11, 2013, at 5:44 PM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org
>>>> <http://richard.wallis@oclc.org>  <x-msg://335/richard.wallis@oclc.org> >
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>>>>> Hi Gregg,
>>>>> Sorry for replying to this one out of sequence, I have been thinking about
>>>>> it and discussing it ;-)
>>>>> You say ³From my understanding of RDFS, if I have a subject with two
>>>>> different types, then I'm really saying that the properties associated
>>>>> with this subject are the intersection of those two types.²
>>>>> My understanding is that the result would be the union of the properties
>>>>> of the two types, thus achieving the result I was suggesting.
>>>> Yes, of course you're right, I was confusing this with rdfs:subTypeOf. My
>>>> concern is that if I wanted to describe properties on a fictional person, I
>>>> would need to define a type which is the union of schema:Person and
>>>> schema:FictionalThing, such as the following:
>>>> :FictionalPerson a [ a owl:Class; owl:unionOf (schema:Person
>>>> schema:FictionalThing)] .
>>>> I am confused by your actor example, as an actor would not normally be a
>>>> fictional Person, the character they portray would be.
>>>> I was using schema:actor as a property of a schema:Character. When I was
>>>> saying that schema:actor had the domain of wikia:Character, I was saying
>>>> that a Character may have an associated Actor; I think this is okay. If I
>>>> had used rdfs:range instead of rdfs:domain, then it would be a problem.
>>>> To satisfy your example of an actor portraying a fictional character, I
>>>> believe we may be looking for a type of Person ŒActorı that has a property
>>>> of Œportrayedı or Œcreatedı  that would have an expected type of Person.
>>>> When encoding your data you could then describe that person (your
>>>> character) as being of type Person and of type FictionalThing.
>>>> That "portrayed" is an appropriate inverse property of actor, as if a
>>>> character has an Actor, an actor portrays a Character.
>>>> To be successful we need to find a generic way of enabling any Œthingı to
>>>> be described as a FictionalThing ­ picking off individual solutions for
>>>> specific types of things such as a character simply wonıt scale.
>>>> Yes, I think that having such a generic mechanism is a good idea, it's just
>>>> that if you want to start to describe properties on the "mixin" of Person
>>>> and FictionalThing, though, you need to be able to describe the union type.
>>>> I believe that this is the intent of schema:rangeIncludes/domainIncludes. I
>>>> think that appropriate rules for these could be the following (although
>>>> expressing it formally will require some more work.
>>>> For all classes ?c* which have a common subject and rdfs:rangeIncludes
>>>> predicate, construct the following triples:
>>>> _:rangeClass a owl:Class; owl:unionOf (?c*)  . # same for domains
>>>> Actually constructing these statements is challenging because owl:unionOf
>>>> takes a list rather than multiple repeated statements for each object.
>>>> Note that multiple properties having the same set of range/domainIncludes
>>>> will result in multiple blank nodes, which entail each other, but are not
>>>> equivalent nodes. Furthermore, actually using the property in a concrete
>>>> instantiation uses an entailment rule that claims that the range is of an
>>>> equivalent class
>>>> <JamesTKirk> schema:actor <WilliamShatner> .
>>>> would end up entailing
>>>> <JamesTKirk> a [ owl:Class; owl:unionOf (schema:Person
>>>> schema:FictionalThing) ].
>>>> due to rule rdfs2
>>>> If it is appropriate for schema.org <http://schema.org>
>>>> <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/> >  to define a
>>>> something like a character property (in addition to the Performance
>>>> property suggested by Yves), then I think it does need to define a
>>>> schema:Character class, so that properties such as schema:actor can be
>>>> ascribed to it. For schema definition purposes, in the spirit of not
>>>> getting all pedantic about using OWL to do this representation, it might
>>>> require adding something like a schema:classIncludes annotation property,
>>>> similar to rangeIncludes and domainIncludes so we could assert:
>>>> schema:Character schema:classIncludes schema:Person, schema:FictionalThing
>>>> .
>>>> Gregg
>>>>> ~Richard.
>>>>> On 09/01/2013 21:14, "Gregg Kellogg" <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>> <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >
>>>>> > wrote:
>>>>>> Hi Richard,
>>>>>> On Jan 9, 2013, at 1:38 AM, Richard Wallis <richard.wallis@oclc.org
>>>>>> <http://richard.wallis@oclc.org>  <x-msg://335/richard.wallis@oclc.org>
>>>>>> <x-msg://178/richard.wallis@oclc.org
>>>>>> <x-msg://178/richard.wallis@oclc.org> > > wrote:
>>>>>>> Re: Modeling fictional characters in movies and TV
>>>>>>> Starting from the point of view that most of the Œrealı types of things
>>>>>>> we want to describe could have fictional equivalents ­ fictional people
>>>>>>> (characters), fictional organisations, fictional places, fictional
>>>>>>> products, fictional automobiles, fictional planets, fictional fizzy
>>>>>>> drinks, fictional races, fictional religions, fictional songs, ....,
>>>>>>> ....   
>>>>>>> I am thinking perhaps a more generic solution might be appropriate.
>>>>>>> What about a FictionalThing type. Probably a sub-type of Intangible,
>>>>>>> having  createdIn and referencedIn properties both having an expected
>>>>>>> type of CreativeWork.
>>>>>>> To describe something as fictional you would only have to add
>>>>>>> FictionalThing as an alternativeType, or add a typeOf attribute in RDFa.
>>>>>>> That way we would not have to invent a new type for every new thing that
>>>>>>> we find a fictional instance for.
>>>>>> I agree that there's a more general need here, and that anything could be
>>>>>> fictional, but I think just adding another type doesn't really solve the
>>>>>> problem. From my understanding of RDFS, if I have a subject with two
>>>>>> different types, then I'm really saying that the properties associated
>>>>>> with this subject are the intersection of those two types. It actually is
>>>>>> sort of the reverse of this based on rdfs:domain and rdfs:range
>>>>>> semantics. If I say the following:
>>>>>> schema:actor a rdf:Property
>>>>>>   rdfs:domain schema:Person, schema:FictionalThing .
>>>>>> What I'm saying is that the property is on _both_ schema:Person and
>>>>>> schema:FictionalThing. In general, I don't want 'actor' to be a property
>>>>>> of either schema:Person or schema:Thing. Dan's introduced the notion of
>>>>>> schema:rangeIncludes to address this problem, but the semantics haven't
>>>>>> entirely been worked out yet. This issue is, is there a similar
>>>>>> schema:typeIncludes that uses something closer to owl:unionOf semantics.
>>>>>> But, using schema:additionalType (or @typeof with RDFa) won't do this,
>>>>>> AFAIK.
>>>>>> The way I had actually modeled Character for Wikia was closer to the
>>>>>> following:
>>>>>> wikia:Character a owl:Class
>>>>>>   rdfs:subClassOf [ a owl:Class; owl:unionOf schema:CreativeWork,
>>>>>> schema:Person ] .
>>>>>> This basically allows me to define properties on wikia:Character that
>>>>>> done "infect" schema:Person or schema:CreativeWork.
>>>>>> Gregg
>>>>>>> ~Richard.
>>>>>>> On 09/01/2013 02:04, "Jason Douglas" <jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>>> <http://jasondouglas@google.com>  <x-msg://335/jasondouglas@google.com>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>>> <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com> >
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com> > > > wrote:
>>>>>>> On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM, Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> >  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>>>>>>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > > > wrote:
> On Jan 8, 2013, at 5:43 PM, Jason Douglas <jasondouglas@google.com
> <http://jasondouglas@google.com>  <x-msg://335/jasondouglas@google.com>
> <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com <x-msg://178/jasondouglas@google.com> >
> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com>
> <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com <x-msg://3694/jasondouglas@google.com> >
> > > wrote:
>> > On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net
>> <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >
>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >
>> > > wrote:
>> > TL:DR: propose adding schema:Character, schema:Location, and
>> schema:FictionalLocation classes, along with a schema:character property.
>> >
>> > In the work I'm doing with Wikia, we're using extensions to schema.org
>> <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >  to add structure to Wiki
>> content. Wikia hosts hundreds of thousands of wiki's, mostly related to
>> special-interest subjects. Important classes of these include sites about
>> Movies, TV Shows/Series and Video Games.
>> >
>> > Cool!!
>> >
>> >
>> > The schema.org <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >  vocabulary is pretty useful in
>> doing this but lacks some important properties and types:
>> >
>> > Character class: a Character is a subclass of Person, which is intended to
>> represent some fictional character. This could include fictional human
>> characters, such as Sam Spade, as well as non-human characters, such as "The
>> Cat in the Hat". As such, it could also be considered to be a union of
>> schema:CreativeWork and schema:Person. Alternatively, it may simply be a
>> sub-class of Creative Work which simply has some properties in common with
>> Person (birthDate, colleague, gender, ...). Note that books can also have
>> characters.
>> >
>> > Character property: An important characteristic of things such as movies,
>> and TV shows is the characters that are in them. For instance, TVEpisode has
>> actor, director, producer and so forth, but no way to indicate the characters
>> that are in the show. Here is where having Character class comes in handy, so
>> that you might have the following:
>> >
>> > <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Where_No_Man_Has_Gone_Before_(episode)>
>> >   a schema:TVEpisode;
>> >   schema:name "Where No Man Has Gone Before"@en;
>> >   schema:partOfTVSeries
>> <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series>;
>> >   schema:character <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk>;
>> >   schema:actor <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/William_Shatner> .
>> >
>> > One downside of this is that when you have multiple characters you lose the
>> ability to correlate the actor to the character.
> In the example below, I set schema:actor on the character

ah, missed that.
> , but it's obviously loosing some temporal information. More complex modeling
> can be more accurate, but within the context of a single graph (e.g., for a
> specific episode), we can probably simplify it that there is a signal actor
> for each character, or at least a set of actors.
>> > An alternative, that Freebase uses, is to create a class for Performance,
>> that has the properties of character (expects Character has you defined) and
>> actor (which works the same as actor on today).
> This is sort of like an Event, which acts to join various elements together
> (characters and actors in this case), perhaps along with elements such as
> scenes and locations. I like the idea of having a Performance class, but there
> may be times when simpler modeling works.
>> > Connecting that to TVEpisode could be done with either a new "performance"
>> property or by making actor accept Person or Performance.
>> >
>> >
>> > <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk> a schema:Character
>> >   schema:name "James T. Kirk";
>> >   schema:birthDate "2233-03-22"^^xsd:date;
>> >   schema:deathDate "2371"^^xsd:gYear;
>> >   schema:actor <http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/William_Shatner> .
>> >
>> > Another class of properties generally useful for works of media classes is
>> Location. A schema:Location class could be a sub-class of schema:Place,
>> intended to describe locations that might not be real, or not at least not
>> having geographic coordinates you can get to using Goole Maps. A location
>> could also be a Fictional Location, such as Middle Earth.
>> >
>> > Lastly, many wiki's concern themselves with Video Games, which have quite
>> deep structure. Logically, a Video Game is probably a sub-class of
>> schema:SoftwareApplication. Of course, there are many other things that could
>> be modeled on video games, such as levels, objectives and weapons, but having
>> a concrete class for describing them would be quite useful.
>> >
>> > Since the Wikia communities are the real domain experts here do you think
>> there's any chance they could enumerate these in a public schema.org
>> <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org>  <http://schema.org
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/> >  <http://schema.org <http://schema.org/>
>> <http://schema.org/>  <http://schema.org/> >  extension proposal?
> This post was an attempt to get that started, and the most obvious missing
> pieces are for Character and Location, along with the character relationship.

Agreed, those are needed incremental additions.
> Video Games is a deeper subject, and we can share the work we're doing, but it
> will be a more substantive proposal. I'd really like to use it to get a
> conversation with other people who have worked on modeling games. Our current
> focus has been on linear first-person shooter style games, but much of the
> work carries over to open-world/parallel mission environments too. We'll come
> back with more on this in the future.
>>>>>>> Yeah, Video Games is where I was hoping for a more "substantive
>>>>>>> proposal" as you say.  Sounds good.
> Gregg
>> > -jason
>> >
>> >
>> > Gregg Kellogg
>> > gregg@greggkellogg.net <http://gregg@greggkellogg.net>
>> <x-msg://335/gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>> <x-msg://178/gregg@greggkellogg.net> >  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net>  <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net
>> <x-msg://3694/gregg@greggkellogg.net> > >
>> >
>> >
>> >
Received on Monday, 14 January 2013 16:43:09 UTC

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