Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mollie and Babbit

After going through many ideas as shown in the previous post, there was one concept that kept jumping to the front of my mind. I have three younger cousins (all siblings) that I am very close to. Watching them grow up has been so fantastic. Seeing what personalities they have, how they talk, how they act, etc. It's all fascinating, and I love them all to bits.

The final film idea I have chosen is based around the middle child, Mollie, and her toy; "Babbit". Mollie has always been a little different to her two siblings. Not in a bad way, not at all! She's much more introvert and quiet (well, sort of) and she has always been in her own little world. You never quite know what she's thinking and you never know what she's going to make of a situation. And Babbit has always been one step beside her! Babbit started life when Mollie was born, and has stayed as Mollie's security blanket since then. Mollie holds Babbit in a certain way too, left hand holds Babbit's head with one floppy ear covering the hand as Mollie sucks her thumb. There are a few sketches of Mollie like this in the sketches provided.

I felt that Mollie as a character would be really interesting and fun to portray, as I've always loved watching her play and speak and live. And Babbit, of course, is the centre of Mollie's world, so using these two as the two characters, gave me a good strating point to develop a story around.

I then produced a brainstorm of "Mollie" to put together all the traits I could think of for Mollie in sketch and word form.

 The idea of Mollie losing Babbit and not being able to find him arose quickly. In reality, Mollie is always losing Babbit. Not intentionally, obviously, it's more a case of forgetting where she has put Babbit. Babbit has been found in all manner of places. The most distressing times have been when out of the house; ie: in a supermarket, or on holiday.
   So I wrote down lots of the scenarios (provided by Mollie's mother, my aunt) to try and piece a few together to try and make a story. One of the most interesting scenarios that my aunt put forward was about if Mollie couldn't find Babbit at all. Ie; not having Babbit at bed-time. My aunt said that Mollie literally would not sleep and she would stay up as long as possible trying to find Babbit; and that if she still couldn't find him, Mollie would then go to sleep in her mum and dad's bed as she would not sleep in her bed alone without Babbit. I loved this little sceario, and I really want to try and put this as a little scene in my film.
  So story-wise, I would establish Mollie and Babbit at the start of the film as the best of friends. Babbit growing up with her, being there for important events in her life (first pair of shoes, first dentist appointment, etc) and possibly showing how Mollie would forget where she puts Babbit for a moment, but then finding him again. Then the story would follow another normal day for Mollie and Babbit; but this time, Mollie would leave and the audience would see where Babbit has fallen from view. As it nears bed-time, Mollie would suddenly realise she needs Babbit and would start to panic as she searched the house looking for him. After getting the help of her family, bed-time would be implemented by her parents and Mollie would start to become very distressed and emotional, resisting sleep. She would be trying to keep awake, looking for Babbit, eventually dozing off on the living-room sofa, and be put to bed in her parents' bed.
  After this, I still hadn't quite sorted out the story's conclusion. I had ideas for a dream sequence, where Mollie would dream about Babbit in a fantasy scenario. Ultimately waking up at sunrise and wandering around the house again...
  I hadn't identified a moral, or a character arc (among other things), so I still need to think of these in order to pursue any further with this story. But these are the "bare bones" of my story so far.
  I want to focus on good character perfromance animation. Something that would make the audience laugh or chuckle, but also make them empathize and really feel for the character.The nostalgic associations of childhood in one losing a treasured toy can probably associate with most people. There's always one toy that is special.

On the 26th September, we had our first presentations of the term. I presented my film ideas and designs and got feedback from the tutors. These are some of the points they presented:
- The story is not developed enough, so the plot at the moment has a "So what?" feel to it. I knew this point would come up, as the story is no where near developed at all. I need to think of story elements that will make the audience connect and care about the character.
- The character of Mollie is taken from real-life TOO much, it needs toning down a bit reality-wise. I understood the feedback for this, I WAS becoming too obsessed with animating Mollie as Mollie. I need to have a bit of creative freedom in order to really have fun with this film and not get weighed down with making her character as true to life as I was first envisioning.
- You need to think of the film as a whole. Backgrounds included. The whole thing needs to make sense, story-wise and visually. This was stated after I had said my plans on having a Shirley Hughes inspired background. I need to have them tie in with the animated images. I will need to try and put a "final frame" together (regardless of story at this point" for ideas on how I want to portray the backgrounds and the characters together.
- There is no story at the moment, the character needs a change, or a challenge that (she) must overcome, and there needs to be a moral. I will research more short films/animations etc on their morals and how the story arcs work. I will develop more ideas and gather more inspiration to work from.

Overall, I was expecting most of the feedback, as I knew my story was nowhere near complete/worked out. It's time to sit down and really think this over!  Time for a cup of tea...


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