Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

[Narrative] 05: War of the Worlds (2005): The Hero's Journey

Fig. 1: 'War of the Worlds' (2005) Poster Art [Cropped]

1.    The Ordinary World
Ray Ferrier, divorced father of two children, Rachel and Robbie. Dock worker. Lives alone in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ex wife drops off their children, on her way to Boston with her boyfriend.

2.    Call to Adventure
The freak storm - lightning strikes the same place multiple times in quick succession. Investigation of the hole caused, rise of the first alien Tripod from within, leading to death of many people via the Tripod’s heat ray – they are turned into dust. Ray escapes, returns home – orders children to pack supplies, telling them they have to go.

3.    Refusal of the Call
All cars have stopped working, Ray finds one that works thanks to a replacement part, he steals it and escapes to Mary Anne’s empty house to hide with his kids, takes shelter in the basement.

4.    Crossing the Threshold
Damage to Mary’s house via Boeing 747 plane crash, Ray and children forced out of hiding. Discovery that Tripods are rising from beneath the ground in major cities worldwide - via news footage. Aliens entered Tripods via the lightning.

5.    Tests
Car taken by a mob that posed a threat to Ray’s children, especially 10-year-old Rachel.

Failed escape attempt by Ferry, which is sunk by Tripods, Ray and children manage to survive.

Robbie wants to leave the group and fight the aliens with the army, the Tripods have some kid of force field, preventing human weapons fire from touching them – Ray’s struggle to let him go; in their final tense moments Ray literally grabs his leg as Robbie clambers up a hill towards the army, finally gives in and lets him go, in order to protect Rachel.

Ray and Rachel offered shelter by Harlan Ogilvy who looses his mind after watching a Tripod harvest human blood; forcing Ray to have to kill him to stop his crazed shouting which would have led to them being discovered by the aliens. Ogilvy counts as both an Ally but in his madness, unintentionally becomes an Enemy.

A Tripod catches Rachel, after finding a belt of grenades Ray allows himself to be abducted with his daughter, they are then dropped in a pod shaped cage hanging on the Tripod’s body. Ray is nearly sucked inside the Tripod to be harvested but is saved by the other prisoners who pull him back, this ordeal pulls the pin of one of the grenades inside the tripod, setting them all off within its body, which releases the cages and destroys the tripod. This is also The Ordeal, Death and Rebirth.

Robbie, Rachel, sane Harlan, Mary Ann, the Military, bacteria.

The Martians, the Martian/Alien Tripods, crazy Harlan.

6.    Approach
While taking refuge with Ogilvy, ray is forced to destroy a Tripod probe with an axe. After Ogilvy is murdered, Rachel is caught sleeping by a second probe causing her to run outside – these events lead to Rachel’s capture, and as a result to Ray’s Ordeal.

7.    The Ordeal, Death and Rebirth
Ray is nearly harvested, but escapes from the Tripod cage via grenade explosion. [See Tests, paragraph 5]

8.    The Reward
Arrival of Ray and Rachel in Boston; the dying Martian red weed is seen to be eaten by crows – indicating the aliens failure to terraform Earth. A Tripod’s force field/shield has gone down, indicated by birds being able to make contact with it – allowing the military’s weapons to make impact and destroy it. Another Tripod approaches, but is seen to collapse on its own, smashing into a building in the process. Via narration the aliens are revealed to have not been immune to Earth’s bacteria, bringing about their death and thus the survival of humanity.

9.    Return with the Elixir
Ray and Rachel reach the home of Mary Ann’s parents in Boston, and are re-united with Mary Ann and Robbie – the elixir is the safety of Ray and Rachel, as well as the discovery of Mary Ann and Robbie’s survival. In broader terms the Elixir is the survival of humanity.

10. The Resurrection 
The audience is led to believe that when Robbie leaves to help the military, he is going to die. His unlikely survival and presence at his grandparents’ home may be considered a form of resurrection.

Illustrations List
Fig 1. 'War of the Worlds' Poster Art (2005) [Poster - Cropped] At: http://spielbergfanclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/War-of-the-worlds-British-quad-movie-poster.jpg (Accessed on 28.09.14)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

[Narrative] 04: Caveboy and the Discovery of Fire - More Detailed Idea

Group 5: In the kitchen + Every cloud has a silver lining

"Every cloud has a silver lining" Every bad situation has some good aspect to it. (phrases.org, 2014)

Act I
The story takes place long ago, in the Stone Age, before the discovery of fire. Tonight the air rings with the crashes of lightning and the inevitable rumble of thunder. Sheltered inside a cave lit only by the glowing abdomens of many fireflies, lays a young boy, crying while rocking back and forth in fear of nature’s fury.

Lightning storm [Source]

This boy is all alone, with no family to comfort him, for he is an orphan; a fact indicated by primitive paintings on the damp cave walls. His only company is a small doll made of sticks and animal fur, with a stuffing of leaves, which he clutches tightly in his arms.

Cartoon cave boy [Source]

Soon - as if hearing the boy’s fearful whimpers - a majestic firefly, much larger than its companions, approaches the boy and nudges him to open his tightly closed eyes. This firefly holds a majesty outmatching any insect, its body a royal blue and an abdomen glowing a glistening golden.

Firefly [Source]

Act II
Shocked at the sudden contact by another creature, the boy instantly tries to hit out to protect himself, suspecting it may be a wild animal come to eat him. Luckily this seemingly intelligent firefly manages to move out of range of the shot, allowing the boy to properly look at its large size and almost magical appearance. The firefly’s beauty inspires awe in the young boy.

The firefly proceeds to move towards the cave entrance, in a manner suggesting it is expecting the boy to follow, of which he does.  Hesitantly standing at the threshold between the cave and the outside world, the boy looks out across the African savannah and spots a dead log in front of him, not two metres away. Suddenly this log is struck by lightning, setting it on fire. At which point the camera focuses on one of the boy's wide eyes, within which the reflection of the fiery log can be seen.

Savannah [Source] 

Act III 
10 years later…
We next see him as a young man inside his now somewhat ‘kitted out’ cave, lit not by fireflies but by torches of fire. He stands in a Stone Age style kitchen, reminiscent of The Flintstones, cooking meat on a spit above a log fire. On the walls are basic colourful cave paintings remembering the blue and golden firefly, which suggest that by reincarnation it had a connection to the spirits of his parents watching over him.

The Flintstones' Wilma in the kitchen. [Source]

Possible kitchen furnishings include:
Rock countertops; a table of stone in the shape of Stonehenge, with animal skin stretched over to act as the table top - or a table made of animal bones; basic utensils made entirely of flint (no steel/iron); animal skin sacks to hold any raw meat or vegetation; some form of primitive animal skin drinking flask; stone cups and plates.

What does this have to do with “Every cloud has a silver lining”?
The bad situation here is the storms and the boy's fear of them but the good aspect is it produced fire, and allowed him to discover fire resulting in him becoming more advanced.

Friday, 26 September 2014

[Narrative] 03: In the kitchen + Every cloud has a silver lining; Another Idea

"Every cloud has a silver lining" Every bad situation has some good aspect to it. (phrases.org, 2014)

3. The Veggie Vampire
A lonely old lady vampire with a love of cooking / baking who's chosen to live the simple life, trying to live like a human --at least, as much as a vampire can, of course-- she doesn't eat meat and in order to make up for her need for blood she's grown a little addiction to popping red iron tablets* to replace her lack of blood drinking. She has long since lost her will to leave her home and fly around in her bat form. 

Drawing of a smiling old lady
One sunny morning, after applying her Factor- (Factor-infinity) suncream in her basement bedroom, she can be found baking cute bat cookies in the kitchen. Just as she is pulling the finished cookies out of the oven - while wearing her novelty oven gloves - a young crow** hits the kitchen window directly in front of the oven, making her throw the tray of cookies in the air, in surprise - some of which remain stuck to the ceiling.

Concerned for the poor bird's health, to keep herself cool beneath the sun's unrelenting glare she turns on the powerful garden sprinklers and heads outside to retrieve the bird, all the while being sprayed with sprinkler water.

She then lovingly nurses the poor bird back to health as if it is the first bit of company she's had in 100 years, all the while feeding it bat cookies which the crow seems to love.

When the day comes to set the crow free, the crow does not leave and just sits on the threshold of the open kitchen window, moving its head as if urging her to come with it. 
A young crow

After hesitation, she convinces herself to do it and proceeds to transform into a bat and appearing to have the time of her life, flies above the clouds with the crow - if time allows the vampire could meet the young crow's family in the sky, however this is not an important part of the story.

What does this have to do with "Every cloud has a silver lining"?
The cloud here is the damage to the young crow and the seeming waste of the cookies, as well as the mess the flying cookies make. The silver lining however comes in the form of the crow's love of those very cookies, which appear to help it get better, and the old vampire being inspired to leave her home and fly again.

*Human blood holds a large amount of iron, which binds to a protein called transferrin. The normal transferrin / blood iron level is between 20 > 50% [source], so both the iron tablets real life crimson colour as well as blood's iron content support the idea that a vampire could use them as a blood substitute.

**Crows are a very intelligent black feathered species of bird, with which negative superstitions have been long since attached - namely they are considered evil or have a connection to death. The fictional vampire is also considered evil, wears black and is associated with death; so the crow makes the perfect bird species to take part in this story.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

[Narrative] 02 - Screw Loose Productions: Name+Logo Development - My Ideas

When we (Group 5) first began coming up with ideas for our group name, we each put forward multiple ideas and voted on our favourite. My suggestions were Story Forge Studios, Visionary Films and AniGem - eventually we decided on one of Adam's ideas, Screw Loose Productions.

We produced multiple drawings as ideas for what this logo could look like, of which my additions can be seen below...

Screw Loose Productions - logo thumbnails
Thumbnail 7 received the most positive feedback and is my preferred example.

Possible Logo Pre-Vis
Things to note when viewing this video:
In order to save time, at this point the screw seen in this pre-vis lacks a thread as well as the head indentation. The font seen in the footage is a placeholder only, nor are the colours seen representative of those that may be seen if this were developed. As the screw falls it is supposed to remain in the centre of the frame.

Based on thumbnail #7, this logo would be shown at the beginning of our films, much like that of Bad Robot and Pixar's jumping lamp. While this received positive feedback from one of our team members, Adam, this does not necessarily represent our final design choice, of which one is yet to be made. Adam has also suggested instead running this in reverse, an idea I quite like.

There has been further logo progress by other team members, which will be uploaded on the appropriate blogs...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

[Narrative] 01: In the kitchen + Every cloud has a silver lining; Initial Ideas

My Group Group 5 - Adam Stone, Danny Rollings, Sukhi Ghai
"Every cloud has a silver lining" Every bad situation has some good aspect to it. (phrases.org, 2014)

1. Steam (/Cloud) Baby
Cute clouds

Steam from kettle takes the form of a cute “baby-cloud” which excitedly zooms around the kitchen, squeezing through utensils like a floating racecar. There is a kitchen window, dramatically this window is opened by a shadowy figure and the cloud begins being sucked towards the outside – like into the vacuum of space.

The baby cloud fears for its life, thinking if it goes outside it’ll vanish into nothingness. Just as the cloud is about to be sucked out of the window, golden (or white/silver) rays of light shoot out from between the clouds in the sky as the “parent” clouds beckon the baby cloud up to them – picture alien abduction / jesus ascending to heaven in a beam of light.

So the cloud is a literal cloud, the silver lining is the gold light, the events also relate to the meaning of the phrase ‘in every cloud is a silver lining’

“Every bad situation (being sucked out the window – apparently to its doom) has some good aspect to it (meets its cloud family)”

2. Caveboy and the Discovery of Fire
A cartoon cave boy
The kitchen aspect comes later in the story, remember what Alan said about a laboratory doesn’t have to be an actual laboratory but can even be a planet that science experiments are done on for example.

It’s a stormy night in the Stone Age, before the discovery of fire. Thunder claps and lighting strikes off camera. 

The animation starts in a cave lit by fireflies, in which a young --simply modelled-- cave boy lays scared and crying in the furthest corner, rocking back and forth; this boy is all alone – an orphan. 

He clutches tightly in his arms a simple doll (voodoo doll-like) made of sticks and animal fur, held together by grass and stuffed with leaves. 

Along comes a beautiful big firefly, which draws him outside, a dead log is right in front of the cave entrance which is struck by lighting, setting it on fire. Cut to the boy’s wide eyes, in them you can see the reflection of the burning log.

10 years later 
you see him in his now ‘kitted out cave’, lit with fire torches, happily cooking meat on a spit above a log fire in a Stone Age style kitchen (think Flintstones) with maybe counters and a table made of animal bones in the centre, and possibly like stone pots and simple flint utensils on the side to emphasise the kitchen element.

The bad situation here is the storms and the boy's fear of them but the good aspect is it produced fire, and allowed him to discover fire resulting in him becoming more advanced.