Sunday, 9 October 2011

Summer Ideas

Over Summer I had several ideas for the film I wanted to pursue before I settled on "Great Trees from Little Acorns Grow" (Working Title). First, I would like to surmise my aims and goals for this coming year.

My Final Film will be very important to me, it will be the first narrative-based piece of fully animated work that I have created. I have made half-and-half film/animation before, abstract animation and animation snippets and some animatics, but not to the scale I want this to be.

My main goals for this film are:

  • Entertaining characters and story
  • Personal meaning to me
  • Fun to work on so that I can stay enthusiastic/passionate about it
  • Makes a statement that appeals to my demographic
  • Displays my abilities as a character animator, designer and storyteller to interest potential employers
To begin with, my issue was not coming up with enough ideas, the problem is coming up with the right idea.

After writing a couple of shorts that would work well as storybook animatic videos (but not my final film) I came up with a short animation idea about the creation of Earth, but from the perspective of twin creation students (or Gods-in-training). One (sister) is creative and passionate, while the other (brother) is wise and logical, so, naturally, they bicker and everything goes wrong. I also dabbled with the prospect of them creating humanity too, but eventually I decided against this one as the characters just aren't involving enough. Perhaps I will reattempt it at a later date.

Michelangelo's Adam and God
It would have been a part Science-Fiction, part Creationist take on the creation of the Universe, taking inspiration from Greek myths, but in the end it just wasn't that personal to me.
After this, I watched a DVD of Pixar shorts with the Director commentary on to discover the creative decisions behind the shorts and also their meaning. I wrote a list of what I thought each short was trying to say, for example, For the Birds is about the injustice of bullying and peer pressure where the bullies get their comeuppance and Day and Night is about envy (the grass is always greener on the other side) but also reconciling your differences with one another. After this I wrote a list of my own messages that I want to say, such as self-acceptance and letting go.

Eventually I realised that the kind of story that would most connect with me and my intended audience would be a sentimental one. I'm a very nostalgic person and the loss of treasured possessions or even friends means a lot to me, which is why films like Pixar's Up and Toy Story 3 get me very emotional. Thus, I wrote a story that is centered around the sentimentality of youth and the loss of something/someone dear. Here is an image illustrating  three of my ideas following my "Creation Students" story. 

  • The first, Princess-in-Waiting is all about a short-tempered Princess who is fed up of waiting for her Prince so she travels on her very own pet dragon to seek Mr. "Charming" for her revenge! She's a modern, independent girl who much prefers black glasses and leather jackets to her embroidered dress and tiara! It's a bit of a joke short as just when she thinks she gets what she wants (peace and quiet) suddenly there are Prince Charming's everywhere, all desperate for her hand in marriage. So this is a fun short, but it's not particularly personal to me and a little too "Shrek-like" for my liking, so it's more of a back-up
  • Second is an untitled film where I was thinking about self-acceptance through physically destroying your inner demons. This would take place in a surreal world, perhaps in this girl's mind, where she has trapped herself with her own thoughts and fears. I thought a series of trials would be interesting to see her tackle them in different ways until she at last realises the answer lies in eliminating the negative aspects of her personality, rather than killing the demons her mind has conjured around her. Not a lot of development on this one, but might be interesting at some point to do a crazy Alice in Wonderland/Labyrinth style tale.
  • "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow" or "The Girl Who Won't Grow Up". This is my favourite story so far as it's personal and has an emotional character arc. It's about a little girl, Amber, who grows up in and around this majestic oak tree, it's got a tree house, a swing and her friends would go there to play. We see snapshots of her life as she grows up, but she remains as childish as when she was young. It's gonna be all about growing up, letting go and moving on, but in an emotional and maybe touching/heartwarming way if done right.

I also had an idea about a lone traveling nomad but I think that's a film for another time. The rest of this production blog will cover my development on my final idea, "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow".

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