Thursday, March 3, 2011

Layered backgrounds

Whoah man - this guy has got it down. He creates depth in a very shallow space using paper.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Simple simple simple

Personifying simple objects works here (i think) by using simple backgrounds/props with clearly communicated situations. The short focus and brights colors makes it seem totally self-contained (not overly simple/unfinished).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Episode: Literature Outlined

Angela Anaconda, Oliver Herring

LUCY OSCAR: full felt
SOCK MONKEY: sock monkey
MAIN CHARACTER: photo paper puppet
They look through the window and ponder the kid. “This is a classic example of blankety blank blank.” [recognize the problem, computer prints out a stats card for the kid stating age name + problem, acknowledge that they have a new adventure] After they ruminate about the problem and what to do, Lucy says ‘I think I have an idea” knowing smile. They leave, we see them pass the window outside in their cool little vehicle, and then the camera sinks/zooms to the cover of the book she left behind “Don Quixote”

Transition to theme song with flipping pages of book – go through a square that applies to every episode.

KNIGHTS: cut out paper/engraving/things? DONQUIXOTE (large and small) /SANCHO PANZA: full felt? OGRE: hand puppet?

After theme song, we see a forest and their vehicle lands in some tree branches in the top of the screen (we don’t see the top very well) and then it just drops them out of the bottom. Unphased, they stand up and brush themselves off, only to bowled over again by an ogre or whatevs. While they’re standing up again, a group of three knights does the same thing. The knights apologize profusely and ask where the ogre went (they all are jangly and a little ridiculous talk very together and don’t give lucy and oscar much chance to respond between them). They’re very chivalrous but dumb – oscar’s hurt but they’re fussing over Lucy, swearing vengeance on the ogre. Brush them off, Oscar says okay so WHAT are we looking for? Lucy says A Knight! Oscars protests but Lucy’s already headed off towards a loud sound and Oscar is left alone in the clearing looking confused. He looks to the sock monkey for support and sees his retreating form next to Lucy. We hear yelling (aaaa!) and they enter a field to see a horse grazing next to a windmill. They’re confused, they look around, then notice that Don Quixote is hung off screen from the windmill yelling ayuda ayuda. He rotates into view and they help him down. They ask him his name, he answers with his huge official title with various deeds “defeater__, vanquisher of__, considerer of doing x” Then he says that they shouldn’t be wandering alone because there are giants/ogres about! Then he ‘sees’ one and tries to ride off but can’t mount the horse. He needs help, a hand reaches down and helps him, they high five/thumbsup, he’s gone. Sancho Panza comes up, he says have you seen this guy, he’s missing his [insert integral part of the horse paraphernalia]. We hear a crash. Oscar goes off on Don Quixote saying why were looking for him, what screwup. Sancho Panza defends him, saying he’s down to earth, [insert more compliments], the other knights are wack. Oscar remains unconvinied, Lucy steps in like naw man hold on.

TRANSITION to historical explanation:

-insert Jonathan’s sketchbook pages- flat flat imagery. Figure out Lucy’s speech behind it – research Cervantes process
Lucy's speech characters - flat profile paper/silhouettes characters

Sancho Panza is like yup, Oscar says something pithy applying the lesson: personalize, draw from your own life, easy to draw from your own experience, think of your character as a person – make it 3D. Okay so you just need to look at yourself – Oscar has a thought bubble with a mirror and lucy says what a great idea! And grabs the mirror out of his thought bubble. They thank him and ask him for ideas for more storytellers. He says I have JUST the guy, and they go to a pier at the end of the field and round some trees to reveal the steampowered paddleboat. They get on the small version, then it cuts to the inbetween set walking along the top of the steamboat amidst crowds etc. We hear some powerful oration and our heads turn. We head towards some tighter concentration of people and the talking gets louder. Then we cut to seeing the crowd from the front and we can see just his hands gesturing, and then we see us push through the crowds in front (CROWDS: paper cutouts in back, simple felt literary characters in front (harry potter with lightbulb?) He finishes his story, switch shots from Mark twain view to our view, and the crowd reveals him (still on hands and then pan up to face.) Mark Twain is relaxing, Lucy and Oscar approach him. Mark Twain recognizes them as Imaginauts “Oh! Hello! How are things? How can I help you?” They say well! We have this kid with this problem. Can you tell us how to write stories stories? And he cuts them off, answering, "Say no more! Just a little castor oil and a good whupping will get him right as rain!" (LOL dark humor?) Mark Twain tells them to look for the everyday ridiculous and talks to the Imaginauts about satire. MT uses passerby on the boat to illustrate how to tell stories, using their actions and narrating over them. His last piece of advice should be comical, irrelevant, and maybe irreverent. The Imaginauts ask him if there might be anything else they need to do, and MT responds: "Oh well I happen to have an appointment in the Sci Fi City, if you'd like to accompany me, I can reveal to you the secret of the sages on the way. Would you like to join me on my aerial transportation basket? [hot air balloon]" We end up with an object (magnifying glass? Ear trumpet? Telescope?) While Mark Twain is talking, he’s not just addressing us, he’s addressing his friends around him (crowds around, anansi sitting across from him/near him).

We can inflate the balloon in real time, and have deus ex machina hands from above tie it off. MT says, "Thanks Hans!" The three enter the hot air balloon.

There should be a transition scene from the Sci Fi City where the three of them are talking on the hot air balloon.

CROWD FOREGROUND/CROWD BACKGROUND: brer rabbit, chicken little, aesop fable characters, etc. Paper cutouts, connected (foreground) paper cutouts/silhouetted. Maybe individual papers of huck finn and jim wandering through
MARK TWAIN: full felt
ANANSI: felt balls and pipe cleaners

Explore ideas of science fiction: take something new/around them, expand it to its logical conclusion combined with human nature. H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Poe, ? - WHAT IF?
-look inside
-look outside
-synthesize something new

Kirsten: Research Mark Twain’s anecdotes? How to write stories.
Jonathan: Research cervantes’ process for lucy’s speech.
Allie: ?

Mark Twain says okay guys - I have an appointment to make with an old friend. Would you like to come along for the ride? (OF COURSE!) There is a balloon pad on the end of the paddle boat which they climb into and sail off into the blue . Rise through the clouds, pop out the top, 'we're so high!' 'nay it's chill'. no one sees anything, rocket cars drive by. Zoom way out/cut way out and see them directly below the enormous city. Then cut to them already docked and exiting the balloon. Mark Twain spies/is spied by/ Isaac Asimov accompanied by robot and investigator. Isaac hails him "oh i am so glad you are here!" the robot and investigator start asking questions and they all bustle off with some short goodbye like 'you guys are fine here, right?' oh wait! you will need this: mark twain grabs the magnifying glass from the detective and gives it to them. The imaginauts are left alone in this new city.

INVESTIGATOR+ROBOT INVESTIGATOR: rectangles - fold-out arms - paper - cereal boxes?
BUS DRIVER: silhouette paper
BACKGROUND CROWD: modified riverboat crowd
FRONT CROWD/CROWD: individual paper puppets (sketchy alley dude/talking fish/leaking robot/slimy dude)

A sci fi bus comes, and the driver stops to ask if they're getting on. Not sure what to do in this strange, new city, they hop on! Oscar and Lucy sit next to a robot guy who's leaking oil, so they freak out and move seats, only to realize they're sitting next to a gross slimey guy. LOL. Very uncomfortable, the Imaginauts look out the bus window to concentrate on something a little more pleasant.

This is a great transition to the sci fi city in the sky! We see images blur by at bus speed that introduces us to the various goings on of the city. Possibilities: sketch alley dude selling lungs to a talking fish! etc etc The Imaginauts are lost in excitement seeing all these new things, and end up at the end of the line, which is a junkyard.

The Imaginauts get off the bus, totally lost and confused. Lucy is kind of upset and unhappy, thinking that the sci fi city in the sky is rather unsophisticated and too ridiculous. She thinks that this world is rather cramped, a shout-out to an Isaac Asimov novel about agoraphobia. "This place is so ungrounded in reality!" They take out their handheld tech to find their location (like a mini Computer) but it's broken. They look around the junkyard trying to find parts that would fix it, and at the junkyard they find this mechanic fixer upper of broken things, like that guy in astroboy!

MECHANIC: full felt/other massive

The mechanic explains to the Imaginauts that sci fi literature is like a crystal ball to see into the future.
Lucy: But we can never predict the future
Mechanic: But we gotta start somewhere!
Mechanic explains how technology today is just an idea/dream from the past. Cellphone?

Imaginauts pick up important object: an old school lightbulb. Getitgetit LOL.
They explain how being able to capture light into a bulb was once only a dream for the people of the past. Lesson, lesson, lesson. Imaginauts realize they need to get back to the problem character of the episode!
Oscar: Hey I think we need to get back now. Thanks!
Mechanic: Oh, do you want to take my shortcut?
Some crazy jetpack, sex, violence, crazy.

Back to the tower!
They get literally kicked out of the junkyard - they fall off screen, we cut to the tower and hear faint screaming getting louder, tower looks up, leans out, sticks its tongue out just in time to catch them and slurp them back in. shebam. They check in on the kid on the computer - kid's still struggling, got crazy scribbling and paper all over everything - quick cuts to *DUNN* piece of paper *DUNN* scribbles *DUNN* kid slumped over at the desk, pencil poised. We see them in a poster in reality-suits, cut to ear close up, sound effects tell us they've dropped down and they're climbing his shoulder, they enter the shot with the ear, an arm shoots out with each object, as they are announced, zoom out to see oscar and the sock monkey holding them, lucy saves him from falling off. they say a ceremonial rhyme to sum up each object as they throw the things in - pause and replay the important scene for each object as it goes in. follow the last object down into the blackness, blackness resolves itself into shapes of frantic busy people, someone catches the objects, puts them in a container, shoves it into a processing unit, spark spark zap quick zoom out to kid's wide-open eyes (quick fluid simple), eyes look down, he starts writing furiously. In the background the imaginauts go back into the picture frame and high five. Credits roll and we see them hanging the kid's ID on a wall full of them.

KID: cut paper pictures (2D? 3D? Oliver herring?)
KID EAR CLOSE-UP: paper mache

Some ideas:
-The Imaginauts encounter a stop sign for a crosswalk. Pause for 20 sec waiting for it to changes. They walk.
-scorpion and frog in background on river boat
-don't forget: mention the kid at some point again.
-sock monkey has to do the rhyme one time
-important quotes are emphasized and appear on scrolls and then are collected by a little quote creature.