Last night we had our production/project review meeting (as it says in the title:). To say this was an important step in the project is a total understatement. It was time to take stock, for the young people to present their ideas, and to start whittling down and thinking about what ideas and themes we can actually take forward. It was an amazing night, the young people presented their ideas, including sound ideas and images that had been uploaded to their Pinterest accounts. Pizza was obviously included (thanks to Kate!). Some photos from the proceedings below:
So next steps? We need to decide on what narratives we are going to go forward with. Want to see the options using the 5 step approach that Sean taught? See below for talent, creativity, and sheer genius. Too much for one blog probably…
- The WINGS: Story Breakdown
- Ava stands in a quiet forest observing the nature and looking out for birds that fly by and sit on trees.
- Ava looks through books in a library in search for something specific. She finds a book on animal/human hybrids and scans through it before leaving. Back home, she goes through an old shoebox in her room which contains feathers and pictures she has taken of her back covered in marks and feathers. She compares her images to the one in the book.
- Struggling to deal with her condition, Ava tries to ignore it, continuing to cut out the feathers that grow from her. She walks through streets trying to fit in, however she feels as if everyone is staring at her and judging her.
- Nightmare animation sequence – people judging, reacting to seeing her back. Feathers grow everywhere and consume her.
- In need of escape, Ava goes back to the forest. She finds peace and solitude from everything and everyone. She continues to watch the birds in the sky before taking off her coat revealing small feathered wings coming out of her shoulder blades, Birds start to circle around her. Ava embraces this, smiles and begins to levitate off the ground.
Style/Vision: The forest stuff should feel relaxing, whilst the busy environment should be made to feel chaotic. Camera work will help enforce this. Use of warm but limited palette for library scene/ nightmare scene – emulating the atmosphere of dishevelled, dusty, aged and antiqued. During nightmare sequence, colour palette turns progressively cooler as the birds become more aggressive.
Animation plans: Nightmare sequence where illustrations of birds from sketchbook / antique ornithology book begin to creep up protagonists arms and become progressively more aggressive. Close up of feather pushing through “flesh”. Support for wing prop build. Stop-mo could support wing movement.
Sound plans: Playing with environmental sounds: Juxtaposing peaceful nature sounds in the forest with busy chaotic noises in the town. Used to show where Ava feels most comfortable.
2. HUMINAL Story Breakdown:
- A girl is obsessed with animals. This is told through the posters and décor in her room, her clothing and cat ear headband she wears constantly.
- She (somehow?) ends up drinking a potion that changes her, that mixes in with her DNA (ends up being compatible with the potion – shown through animation). She wakes up and notices her body and senses gradually change. She is becoming a Humanal – cat type.
- The girl tries to go to school and act as nothing has changed. She looks up at the reception TV to notice a news report on “Humanals”. The headteacher of the school is interviewed. She speaks about how Humanals are outcasts and should be banished from society. The girl then notices other people in the school look part animal too. One of them gets bullied by a bunch of horrible students. The head teacher passes and just laughs.
- After school, the bullies notice the girl has cat ears underneath her hat. They chase her around the school until they can no longer find her. The girl waits until everyone has left the school before leaving herself. As she gets to the gates she hears screams coming from one of the classrooms with smoke escaping from the window. The girl runs up to find the head teacher trapped in the room. She and a bunch of other “Humanals” who arrived at the scene use their individual human like powers to save the head teacher.
- New news report talking about how Humanals saved the day and how there is a place for them after all. The head teacher reiterates this. Next day in school everybody has animal like the costume and other attire to show that “Humanals” are cool and accepted. The girl meets up with her friends who wear cat headbands to match her cat ears.
Animation: 1) Transition from human to Huminal (stop motion elements, enhanced in post) 2) Showing hidden powers of Huminals (improved vision and hearing) 3) Infomercial showing Huminal cellular “mutation” (news report scene)
Sound: School ambience; crowds, school bells etc. Animal noises, Sounds of potion travelling down and through the body.
3. MECHANICAL HEART Story Breakdown:
- A doctor’s wife lies on a makeshift operating table. She looks extremely unwell and close to dying. The doctor seems to be carrying out some weird procedure on her, which reveals parts of her that look inhuman. The wife then seems to look more peaceful. The Doctor takes a deep breath before cuddling her.
- Next day the Doctor carried out some final tests on his wife. A couple of hours later she leaves the theatre space and comes through to the living room, looking lifelike and well. The doctor smiles. He enjoys her company again.
- As much as the Doctor enjoys having his wife around again, he begins to see she is not the same person. She is emotionless and doesn’t have the same personality as she used to. Lifeless.
- The doctor is yet again left feeling sad and empty, feeling guilty for experimenting with his wife. He contemplates letting her go. He eventually asks her to go down the stairs to the operating theatre to carry out a simple “fix” on her.
- The wife lies on the operating theatre. The doctor hovers over her, struggling to go through with the task. As he is about to do it the wife tells her she loves him, however, the Doctor knows that the words aren’t enough. He kisses her on the forehead and switches of the support attached to her head (?). He leans over clenches her tight and says he loves her too.
4. THE BIONIC BUS DRIVER Story Breakdown:
- A story set in Edinburgh. A man (20-29yrs) is dreaming about being a bus driver (dream sequence). Jump cut to the sudden shock of the accident sequence. Man loses his legs.
- He can’t get any job but holds still has a dream of being a bus driver. He’s mocked for even attending an interview for this but a chance encounter with an old school friend changes his luck.
- The friend is a successful surgeon and with the help of “infomercial” style video clips convinces the man to undergo transformative surgery to create mechanical legs
- The man undergoes surgery that we see through an animation sequence showing cellular division, the mechanical meeting biological etc.
- The man realises that his new legs are far superior to “human” legs and actually make him the most incredible driver ever.
Animation: Infomercial-style animation showing how “bionic” limb will improve lifestyle and increase productivity (cut-out and hand-drawn). Surgery sequence can be shown through a time-lapse montage of biological elements (petri dish under a microscope) and similar cut-out elements as per infomercial. Dream sequence of being a bus driver
Sound: At beginning no music, focus on dialogue. All sounds should be bespoke. Organic fused with mechanical sounds. At the point where the character becomes successful introduce “cheesy” music (the 80’s).
5. ORGANIC INTELLIGENCE Story Breakdown:
- An advert reveals how this global technology company have created a super computer that functions and was grown biologically as opposed to mechanically, and how it will change the face of the earth.
- We see the computer for itself, skin and veins grow from it, looking like something from an old 50’s B movie. We see it operate in action. Suddenly the lab is breached and a bunch of activists burst in, faces covered with balaclavas. They enter the room and see the machine for itself.
- They have a debate about the ethics behind it and if they should shut it down.
- Activists try to interact but fail and realise it is just a machine
- They leave but we realise that the computer registers fear.
Style/Vision: Propaganda type film. Selling us something that looks to be world changing but in reality is bleaker than that. Dystopian feel to it. Could be played with contrasting colours or composition.
Animation: Slick infomercial style sequence selling the super computer (refs. Apple product launches). The sequence will focus on how biological elements mutate into electronic elements but retain their “organic” look and feel (cut out?). Support for prop building: Creation of Biological Computer prop through the use of silicone so it retains a clinical and other-worldly feel whilst also appearing flesh-like. Familiar yet alien. Veins seen pulsing below silicone flesh (use of LED threads). Possible enhancements through animation.“Fear” text appearing on screen in final scene
Sound: The computer shouldn’t make electronic noises, it’s noises should sound organic, human-like. It’s operating sound could be bones cracking or breathing. Retro 80’s soundtrack with a modern twist, if possible. Grunge, metallic sounds vs organic: Bones etc.
6. STRIPPED ANDROID Story Breakdown
1 – A group of robots, who look identical to humans, are carrying out the tasks they have been designed to do. This takes place in a very clinical white lab. Scientists stand behind the scenes analysing and taking note.
2 – The robots are made to watch a series of clips to analyse. As the images become graphic one robot starts to become distressed to the point where they can no longer look at the imagery. Perhaps they have done sort of fit or attempt to walk out the room?
3 – The scientists are confused by the reaction of the robot as are the other robots that observe, emotionless. However, things continue as normal and another task has been issued.
4 – The robot presents its research to the scientists who are shocked and annoyed by the result. Intimidated by the robot’s ability to emote and outsmart, they tie down the robot and lock it in a prison-like room.
5 – The robot is quizzed about his research and how he feels. He gives a heartfelt monologue about him being able to feel etc. The scientists react by hitting the switch and killing the robot. The lifeless body remains seated on the chair. The only sign of movement comes from a single tear that slowly runs down the robot’s face.
Style/Vision: The camera movement will be slow and mostly locked off to create a mundane and unsettling atmosphere. It must look very clinical also, with a plain setting.
Animation: Use animation to show how the robot physically digests all the information given. Perhaps animate the character’s body slightly to make it look slightly different from a human body. Also need to animate a tear that drips down the face at the end.
Sound: Synth music to give it a classic sci-fi sound but used in a way where it creates emotion too.
So I think it is all just amazing but what do the young people and others think?
“The project is fantastic! – The project is about biomedical and technology to improve the health of people. Before I join this project I was previously involved with Pulse which was a great success. In this project, I learned more about the defibrillators and mechanics for the body. I also get to development my creative idea: humanal a breed of half human and half animal. They are all unique and have animal powers. I have developed my skills for making animation, sound design, story writing, working with fancy cameras and directing. During the project, I team up with amazing professionals and people who have a passion for the project. We worked together as a team to experiment and create something amazing from a stimulus. It is heart-warming to see young people, youth workers, artists and scientist working together.” (Annie, In-Valid You/th young person).
“What an absolutely fantastic meeting last night. I was really overwhelmed by the quality of the stories, and even more importantly, the way the young people presented them, owned them and believed in them. They were all so unique, demonstrating that they had all been inspired in different ways. What a journey” (Ali, Youth Development Group Worker).
Ali’s right. But it wouldn’t be happening without everyone being committed and spending their Thursday evenings thinking all things, animal, mechanical and human. And in 2017 it is about making the film. Can’t wait!!!