Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer Project 2012: Sketchy Beginnings...

After a fairly generous month-long hiatus, I think its about time I got stuck in on the summer project. The project has been tumbling around my mind since the semester ended, and yet I've still not stumbled upon a complete idea that I want to work with, although I have got tons of little idea snippets. So I guess thats as good a place to start as any! I'll begin this post by breaking down my thought process when listening to my allocated soundscape.

Step One: Listen! 
Well, the track has been rattling around my iPod for a while now, and I've found that the time period of the track is the most immediately noticeable aspect, with all of my ideas stemming from my perceived ideas of the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Step Two: Analyse!
I've broken down the soundscape further in an attempt to derive a specific tone. Initial impressions include:

  • Fast-Paced
  • Chaotic
  • Quirky
  • Playful
  • Mischievous
  • Upbeat
The setting has been pretty constant in all of my ideas, centered predominantly around 1940's/50's America, although the presentation varies. Potential settings include:
  • A Bustling Cityscape, New York, Chicago, etc
  • A Seedy, Gritty Downtown Jazz Club
  • A Slightly More Tropical Americana, Louisiana, New Orleans etc
  • A Rooftop Skyline, Much Like The Opening of Vertigo
Although I'm not limited to one location, especially if I decide to create a short animation. I can easily pass from Jazz Club to Rooftop, for example. The only problem with this is that it will create more work for me. 

Step Three: Think!
With these impressions in mind, I've generated a number of rough ideas. Although they'll need a considerable amount of fleshing out before they can become anything more than a basis for a mediocre skit. 

Number One: Jazz-Inspired Car Chase
The very first idea that cropped up in my mind (during the briefing, in fact) was that of a fast-paced, comedic car chase. The soundscape lends itself well to a short animation where the actions on screen are synchronized in time with the various impromptu beats of the music. I can just picture a car in pursuit of another, with heavier beats being visualised in relation to the car slamming into trash cans and other vehicles, and smaller, more rapid beats being interpreted as small debris ricocheting off of the windscreen.

Number Two: Rooftop Pursuit
Another fast-pace chase sequence, but this time playing out as an on-foot pursuit across the rooftops of a crooked city. I pictured this to be much like the opening sequence in Vertigo, where a singular character is being pursued by a number of others on a single, flat plane (a 2.5D world in which the elements are three dimensional, but the camera is fixed along a single axis, simply panning to track the action). Once again, this would be comedic, as the music lends itself to this approach, and the actions on-screen would be in response to the beat of the music, as before. I imagine the character hopping from rooftop to rooftop, as more and more police officers (or whoever turns out to be the antagonist) pile into the scene, staging futile attempts to slow down and stop the character (think of the Agents from The Matrix). It ultimately turns out that the character's 'crime' is fairly comedic in itself, something incredibly minuscule that would never merit the chaotic methods the antagonist employed to stop them (something along the lines of, he stole one of the officer's hats, or something stupid like that).

Number Three: Gangster Pranksters
This idea is structured more around a story idea than the previous two, which are more just eye-catching sequences with no real plot. The story goes that in the seedy underbelly of *insert gritty city here*, organised crime is at its highest. Murder, theft and racketeering are the norm, every day of the year. Well, every day except one. April 1st. On April Fools Day, crime families from all over put down their tommy guns and pick up a water balloon, settling their differences in a strictly childish fashion. Cars are riddled with custard pies, mob bosses have their spaghetti swapped out for fuse wire and snitches will literally sleep with the fishes, waking up in a bed full of whatever the local fishmonger decided to throw out that day. Its pretty much what would happen if Fat Sam and Don Corleone swapped places for a day. This concept would work well as an animation, but I'm finding myself more drawn to presenting each 'prank' as an individual still rendered image, ultimately resulting in a gallery of gangster pranksters. Although there is no reason why I can't create a montage of clips, with each 'prank' being displayed as a short, ten second segment of something bigger. I could put the same amount of care and attention into each clip as I would with each rendered still, with the addition of some basic character animation (Ha! Look at me, making it sound as if this is going to be a breeze!).

As always, feedback is greatly appreciated, and I'll be updating my blog as and when stuff happens, be it new ideas, concept artwork or anything else project related. 

Thanks for reading!

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