Tuesday, 6 January 2015

From Script To Screen: Initial Ideas

    For the first Storytelling and Commission project I was given a character, a prop and a location that I had to build a one-minute animation around. My three selections (picked randomly from a box) were:
  • A marionette
  • A helium balloon
  • A plane
    My initial thoughts are that the marionette could chase the balloon, and during the brief I thought about how I could make it deeper. It might be fun to see the marionette running about the cabin or the cargo hold chasing after this balloon that for some reason it wants so desperately and there might be good potential for ocmedy. Thinking more deeply, several metaphors came to mind regarding the available material:
  • Marionettes are distinguished from dolls or ventriloquist's puppets via the strings that extend from key points of their body to a control board that, when tilted, can create the illusion of life by moving the marionette's body parts. The idea of strings on the puppet could be a metaphor for something controlling it or holding it back, restricting it's freedom.
  • Conversely, the helium balloon's ability to float effortlessly though the air can be a connotation for freedom or liberty, being able to travel free of the restrictions of gravity that otherwise pulls everything else down.
  • The location being an aircraft is another connotation of freedom, it can also connotate adventure or far-off lands.
   Discussing the connotations that could exist in marionette strings with Tumo Mere I was reminded of the upcoming Marvel film Age of Ultron. The trailer's primary theme from Ultron's monologues to the song used are all about the connotations with puppetstrings and liberation - Ultron himself ends the trailer with the line "there are no strings on me" and there is a strong vibe of an evil Pinnochio in the atmosphere of the trailer. Instead of wanting to become a real boy and wanting to give his father the son he wanted, Ultron wants to take over the world and eradicate humanity all to prove he is better than his creator (Henry "Hank" Pym In the comics, but rumour has it that Age of Ultron will have Tony Stark as his creator).
    Thus far I have been imagining that the story could have a deeper meaning to it. Another idea I had considered perhaps for the end - perhaps where the marionette finally grabs the balloon - is there could be a fade-cut to a figure who resembles the marionette looking out of an airplane window to see a distant cityscape, dreaming of a future that awaits him/her, a sense of closure with the sequence metaphoric of some feeling of breaking free from something or something about the past.
  • The marionette could be a childhood toy, but representative of some deep-seated feeling of repression and/or being held back, the entire sequence being an allegory of their struggle for freedom.
  • It's only a one-minute clip so I know I can't go into too much detail, but working on audio clips and recording for the soundscape project, even in 30 seconds there's chance for a story.
  • Another thought is the marionette sits In the same place the person at the end will be. So it grabs the balloon then sits/slumps in the airplane seat that turns out to be occupied by the character the marionette represents.
  • For this story to play out well there might need to be a number of visual metaphors - a picture of the source of the control here, a photograph of the character with the marionette there. Brief moments that establish context and add depth but don't eat into the time I have available.
    This is for the most part, not a happy or cheery story so perhaps I should consider more upbeat and lighthearted storylines so that I am not stuck on one idea.


  1. Good to see you getting stuck straight in Mark! :)
    Using the strings as a symbol of oppression and the balloon as symbol of freedom, sounds like a good starting point to me...

  2. indeed - the marionette as a symbol of restriction; a marionette who dreams of flight - sounds interesting!