Thursday, 27 January 2011

Transcription: Ideas for the Project

As I said on the previous post, for some time I have been looking for some body of works which would be interesting to transcript into a sophisticated project. Also knowing what are in CG and Animation I want to proceed (Character Artist and Animator), i will focus the rest of the projects on these areas. So the best choice for me would be to create an animated short, based around 1 or 2 characters, with slight exploration of the environments.

I decided to research some stories, firstly I acquired a Central and Eastern European folk tales book, with this choice I tried to find something dark and moody, some simple tale which will have a meaning in the end despite how dark it may appear at first.

The book Czech Folk Tales by Dr. Josef Baudis had extraordinary tales such the Twelve Months, however due to time, it wont be possible to create the animation as it would imply to create around 15 characters, a sensible decision after all.
Another folk tale to transcript would be Knight Bambus, a simple tale about fantasy and money, where a lesson is learned in the end.
From reading folk tales I have moved into searching for worldwide myths, being interested in Mythology and Legends.
By reading the Encyclopedia of World Mythology by Arthur Cotherell, I found really great myths which would be great transcript to an animation.
The Snow Maiden, a central and eastern european myth, which tells the impossible love story between the princess of winter and a human ending in a tragic yet beautiful way.

Moving to other lands and cultures I came across another myth, this time a Native American myth about storytelling and respect. The title is the Storytelling Stone, and tells the story of an orphan who was asked by his aunt to go hunting. So he set off early next morning and shot three birds. At midday the arrows he was carrying got their feathers loose so he sat down upon- a flat topped stone to mend it. Suddenly he hears " Shall I tell you a story?" , the boy not knowing where it came from started to get afraid. The question was asked again "Shall I tell you a story?", he then realized that the voice was coming from the stone where he was sat, so he replied "what are stories?".
The stone explained that "Stories are what happened in a long-ago time. My stories are like stars that never fade". Then, the stone started to tell one story after another until sundown. when the stone said to the boy that they would rest for now and to comeback the day after with all the camp so the stone will tell more stories, he also suggest the boy to tell the people to bring each a gift.
That evening the boy told the whole camp and the morning after the people followed him into the forest. each person brought a present for the stone, so the stone commenced its storytelling session, so the stone told stories, share knowledge and wisdom. When it finished by sundown, the stone said to the people:
"My stories are all told. Keep them and tell them to your children and your children's children, and so on down the ages. And when you ask someone for a story always offer a gift". And so it is according to this myth all the stories we know come from the stone and from the stones came all the wisdom we have.
The meaning of this myth lays on the respect for anything the world has to offer, in native American tribes stones are known to be the bones of the planet, therefore need to be respected. I found that this idea could work, as it mentions basically the importance of everything in the world as well respect of one another and the importance of storytelling, a vehicle to share wisdom.

From this I moved into far darker realms, last Christmas I have received Necronomicon the Best Weird Tales by HP Lovecraft, and I have been drawn to it since. Firstly I recommend it to any horror aficionado as HP Lovecraft is a genius in his own way, many stories would rather create brilliant yet horrific environments. However as I'm leaning towards a more character based animation, I found two particular stories which are simple yet beautifully told. First, and I have to say my main idea for this project is The Music of Eric Zahn, while reading this story I could imagine the environment in which is set and the 2 characters which feature the animation a young man and a crazy violinist. It deals mainly with the supernatural like many HP Lovecraft stories, but I found the most appealing in an artistic way. This story would give me a possibility to create 2 distinct characters and also animated them accordingly.

The second story is The Statement of Randolph Carter, this story one of the first I read in the book, it is just stroke me dead the first time I read, the ambiguity and the non explicitly description of the places, the story is told by the narrator which tells what happened to his friend, however by the end purposely they are omissions of the place where the narrators friend ventured alone leaving HP Lovecraft to deliver a killing blow with the last sentence in the story. I do believe at that time I could feel shivers all around my body. Once again, a simple story with not many characters implied where my focus would lay on filmic staging, character design and animation.

List of the Ideas for Transcription Project: 

  • Knight Bambus ( Czech Folk Tale) 
  • Snow maiden ( Slavic Myth) 
  • The Storytelling Stone (Native American Myth) 
  • The Music of Eric Zahn ( HP Lovecraft ) 
  • The Statement of Randolph Carter (HP Lovecraft) 

As you may see I have tried to step out in different directions with my ideas, not sticking with only one genre, however I'm more inclined to the HP Lovecraft Stories are the most inspiring ones, especially The Music of Eric Zahn, giving the possibility to create a good animation.

I guess now it is just a matter of choice, to find the one which inspires me the most or would create a good animation.  On the following posts, my choice will be made and research will take place. 

So keep tuned!! 


tutorphil said...

Hey Rubes - I think the 'Music of Eric Zahn' has a wonderful theatricality about - which could mean you could move way from realism and go for something more overtly stylised and theatrical - which, I think is absolutely key is you want to deliver a 10 week animation project - cut down the environments by going for high-stylisation, allow the 'universe of animation' to take hold of the logic, so that things and props appear as and when they're needed; use of black, bold use of 2d - and, of course, an emphasis on character animation... The more theatrical the better - check out the Paul julian animations on the group blog, if you haven't done so already for some hints and tips in terms of approach;

also, check out the work of the violinist Paganini - he was thought to be possessed by the devil, he could play so furiously...

tutorphil said...

... try and think of yourself as a small scale, touring theatre company, who needs to come up with really innovative and economic ways of getting a story told with a minimum of set - consider expressionist use of lighting, use of silhouette, dynamic use of transitions and narrative concision. Design to your time budget - but make the design exhilarating in its inventiveness...

Ruben Martins said...

Hi phil,

That is the aesthetic way I really want to go for with this animation, dark, moody, minimalist and stylised. For inspiration, I have also remembered of the play ' Woman in Black' I went to see last year and the cut out, silhouette animations shown to us last year.
Also the animation 'The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello' holds some of the style I'm looking for.

Ruben Martins said...

Meanwhile, I have checked Paganini's music, and I love them, I think I found one almost exact for the animation. however, I also have another 2 contenders :)< Ill post them later on the blog.