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Monday, 26 September 2011

Character Design: Initial Thoughts for SteamPunk Secret Agents

After some initial research, I think that my two genres fit together quiet nicely, which I am happy about. Here are my initial thoughts I had to help with creating a backstory for my three characters (Hero, Sidekick and Villain):

- As Steampunk is a Victorian science fiction, maybe the story should be set in a Victorian era. Meaning that the characters will be design to look Victorian in terms of the clothes they wear. Also there will be steam powered gadgets, as any agent should have gadgets.
- As a secret agent or a spy they always have a villain that is their personal nemesis. I think that this would work nicely, as my secret agent would be the hero and the nemesis would be the villain. Maybe the story could be about the hero trying to stop the villain but never actually catching him, as he seems to get away at the last minute.

- For the villain I like the idea of the design of the character to have lots of steam powered body parts. The personality would be the opposite to the hero’s and he would look the opposite in term of the way he looks.

- The secret agent would have a sidekick like all agents have, that does all the paperwork and Intel.

 Initial Story Idea

A really rough Idea I had was that an agent form the Victorian ear with his steam power gadgets would somehow end up in the current year (which would be the 80s’) alone with his trusty sidekick. Thy end up working for the spy agencies in that year. But somehow their nemesis form the original era ends up there to. Meaning there battle continues but just in another era.

Character Design: First Character Design Lesson

In our first character design lesson, we asked to complete a task in which we were given two random words and asked to create characters out if these words. I received Ghostly Pirate. At the beginning I found this quiet had to portray as I couldn’t find the best way to show that this pirate was a ghost. As you can see in my first two attempts. But after taking on the advice that Justin gave me, I think that my third attempt looks most ghostly out of the three sketches.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Narrative: Ed Wood (1994) Review

Fig 1. Ed Wood (1994) Film Poster

Tim Burton pays tribute to the one of a kind creative spirit of Edward D. Wood Jnr. In a biopic about the man that is arguably the world's worst filmmaker and the director behind the cult classics “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and “Glen or Glenda”. Ed Wood, a charming amateur with Orson Welles aspirations and a shortage of talent, truly gain his success and his films gained their infamy and cult status in the early 1980s after his death in 1978.

Fig. 2 Ed Wood (1994) Film Still

The film is shot entirely in black and white, showing the bizarre career of Ed Wood as a writer, actor, director and producer. Ed Wood himself as a director had a vision, of his greatness as a filmmaker, an equal to his inspiration Orson Welles and to aspire to have the same approval with his first film, Glen or Glenda, as Orson received for Citizen Kane. Sadly, though what Ed Wood had in enthusiasm and convincing nature, he lacked talent when it comes to producing films.
Fig. 3 Ed Wood (1994) Film Still

The script is excellent and this is a very interesting tale full of incredible characters with a story that strikes a good balance between drama and comedy. The way that Burton decided to shoot the film in black and white makes a remarkable impact, it would be hard to imagine this film working so well in colour.  “The direction is superb and Tim Burton brings his usual distinctive stamp to this film giving everything a slightly caricatured, realer than real feel.” (Hill, unknown) When you look through the works of Tim Burton, this would be the film that you would say is his most normal film. With a subject like this, Burton couldn’t really go too far out there, like most of his other films. The thing Ed Wood had some of the oddest characters from any Burton film, which shows that sometimes real life can be much more entertaining than fiction.

List of Illustrations
Figure 1. Burtun, Tim (1994) Ed Wood Film Poster. (Accessed on 24/09/2011)
Figure 2. Burtun, Tim (1994) Ed Wood Film Still. (Accessed on 24/09/2011)
Figure 2. Burtun, Tim (1994) Ed Wood Film Still.  (Accessed on 24/09/2011)

McCarthy, Todd (1994) Ed Wood Film Review. (Accessed on 24/09/2011)
Hill, Simon (unknown) Ed Wood Film Review. (Accessed on 24/09/2011)

Character Design: Steampunk Research

Steampunk = a “retro futuristic” genre of fiction or fantasy featuring
 wildly imagined inventions and anachronistic.

At first I didn’t really have an understanding of what Steampunk was or how I was going to use this as a genre for my characters. But after researching and looking at different references of Steampunk, I am rather excited about joining it together with my other genre secret agent, and start brain storming on ideas of a backstory.

Here is a basic outline of the research that I found out :

- Steampunk is the sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy that came into prominence during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
- Steampunk involves the setting where steam power is still widely used (usually Victorian era Britain) and incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.
- Here Victorian is not meant to indicate a specific culture but rather a reference to a time period and a visual understanding of the 19th century.
- Historically, this period saw the development of many key aspects of the modern world and Steampunk uses this existing technology and structure to image an even more advanced 19th century.

Steampunk References
Steamboy (2005)

Wild Wild West (1999)

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
Directed by Anthony Lucas

20,000 Leagues under the sea (1950)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Charater Design - Steampunk Secret Agrents

Character Design is the second of three projects that we will be doing this semester. Within this project we are asked to create a ‘Character Design & Animation Bible’ for three main characters – The Hero, The Villain, and The Sidekick for an eighties Saturday cartoon series.

With 80s cartoons typically comprising of multiple genres or a ‘mash up’ of styles and ideas. So we were given the chance to pick from a pack of cards at random, which stands for a random set of genres. The genres that I received were 'Steampunk' and 'Secret Agent'. So I will be producing characters for a 80’s style cartoon with the  theme  Steampunk Secret Agents. My initial thoughts are that  these two genres will make a great mash up. As I think that there is alot I could do with both these genres and if I can find the right story behind the chracters, this will help me alot. So I think that alot more research into both may help me find a connection between them and find a synopsis for my characters.  

Poster for 1954 film "20,000 Leagues under the Sea", which is considered to 
be a Steampunk progenitor because of Captain Nemo’s submarine
which is a Steampunk icon.

Secreat Agent 
James Bond