TEETHING: Sven Mensah
I recently ran a poll on twitter to decide what character to focus on for the next blog post. Sven won (which might be a little biased as I've talked about him publicly for the longest). Before jumping into his character concept, storyline and more, I want to do a mini-update on production as a whole!
Jess, my other half of this project (character designer, illustrator, art director) has been working on a logo for TEETHING! I can't wait to see what she comes up with, as we discussed wanting a cleaner version than the one I'm so used to using (image below).
What more, we've teamed up with 1x4x44r, the themes composer for Love Shore, to create the music for the trailer we are producing. I have worked with 1x4x44r before and have never seen a piece of their work I didn't absolutely love.
Now, let's introduce Sven Mensah:
Official Character Description:
Sven is a 23-year-old man who suffers from the unusual condition of vomiting teeth. It’s an awkward problem he attempts to come to terms with throughout the story of TEETHING. Sven dropped out of Blackpool schooling in his late teens due to financial reasons and dedicates whatever free time he can during his supermarket job to reading and educating himself. He's been obsessed with books since he was a child, likely do to having to spend a lot of quality time with himself after his father's passing.
Sven is self-centered and a bit of an asshole, with a dirty mouth and an expressive face. He is the most animated out of the three, choosing to express his emotions openly and loudly. Despite his crass nature, Sven can easily be quelled when given a puzzle to work on. His naturally black hair has been dyed bright red at the start of the series, a reaction to his disdain towards the bleak muddled greens of Blackpool. Despite his disheveled and unhealthy appearance, it is often remarked how pretty Sven is, though the compliment pisses him off. Sven takes his beauty after his missing mother, a foreigner who married into Blackpool before suddenly vanishing. Her disappearance haunts him and appears related to all the horrible events taking place around him.
Sven's father was Swedish, his mother was Algerian. He is 5’9”.
He’s often caught wearing his supermarket apron or graphic tees that he finds along the wasteland when traveling with Leo and Lily.
Sven is the easiest character to define in TEETHING. He's loud, expressive and usually fucking pissed, but he has a lot of heart, usually the first int he group to empathize with a situation or individual. TEETHING is a dark comedy, and a factor of that is showcased in a lot of horrible experiences Sven has had to deal with in his life. From the mysterious disappearance of his mother, to the death of his father, to Leo's (his once best friend) betrayal and ostracization. Sven has had to raise himself after turning 15 and has lived on the outskirts of Blackpool, in the quiet trailer his father left for him.
All these events has lead to Sven becoming head strong, driven and confrontational. He has had a long time to come to term with his feelings and he knows himself better than anyone, a counter to Leo's stoicism and Lily's indifferent nature. He's passionate, he's angry and he's scared.
Sven vomits teeth, but it isn't just Sven that gives TEETHING its name.
TEETHING is a story much about traveling and saving the world as it is about characters growing and developing into something different than when they started. Sven is not immune to this theme and develops in surprising ways throughout TEETHING, starting with running out of hair dye in the wasteland.
Jess describes him in a unique way:
Sven is such a vessel for our own impulsive natures, which makes him so fun to design. He's really got it all, from the cherry red hair to the trashy anime t-shirts (sorry, Hot Topic didn't survive the end of the world) he finds dickin' around in junkyards as he avoids people at all costs on his days off. Paired with that sickly aura and sarcastic snap-back-attitude, he's also representative of the taboo candidness we'd all love to tiredly exude in social and especially retail settings. If you're not gonna say it, Sven will. And that's why he's such a wonderful and relatable character. You'd think he'd be the most predictable character too, because he'll react the same way you would. However, Sven catches us off guard because he shoves the reality of human reactivity in our faces, disturbing that little pond of moral superiority we've all procured to keep ourselves assured in our decisions. Working with his character allows for a bit of an outlet in all things ‘too much’, which makes him one of my favorites and a character that really propels TEETHING forward in a most comical way. Son has written him in the most perfect haphazard fashion and I can’t wait for that to shine through in animation.
As Jess mentioned, Sven represents a lot of complex topics. The main cast of TEETHING express desire, whether sexual in nature or not, in completely different ways. Sven's love language needs to be obvious, it needs to be just as loud as him. And that shakes the foundations of friendships he builds throughout TEETHING.
To avoid diving into complete spoiler territory and giving away the fun surprises of TEETHING, here are some final notes on Sven's character.
Sven begins vomiting teeth for the first time at the start of the series and is rightfully horrified.
Sven's favorite book is Wuthering Heights, ever since he stumbled on a copy of the ancient text a couple years ago.
Sven is gay.
Sven is a surprisingly good people person and this expresses itself whenever the three wander into a new city.
Sven has three piercings on his right ear. He has two moles underneath his right eye. He has long lashes, Jess knows how much I talked about those lashes.
Sven despises Leo at the start of TEETHING for how Leo treated him after the disappearance of his mother.
Sven and Lily circle around each other, having grown up together but never truly getting close. Lily finds his company pleasing, as he's less stubborn than Leo.
Sven suffers from extreme jaw pain prior to vomiting teeth and took an unhealthy, constant amount of painkillers.
He does poorly in cold weather.
Sven's character is a fun one but Lily and Leo complete the cast. I can't wait to dive into the other two!