Monday, February 28, 2011

Kudos And Congrats!

Writer's Thoughts,
 I would like to give a kudos and congratulations to the creators and animators of the Disney animation "Toy Story 3" for their Oscar win. As one who loves animation, it's always a joyful moment when those in the field receive such a high honor. The work on the film was nothing short of amazing! I also would like to recognize the other nominees. Dreamworks, "How To Train Your Dragon," and another creative film "The Illusionist." There are so many great animators out there that I admire.  I'm also excited about some new animated films coming out soon that I can't wait to see. Thanks for inspiring me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Characters: Meet Emily Monroe

She appears quiet and somewhat sullen, but deep inside Emily Monroe burns a passion for her dream as vibrant as her flaming red hair. Her life, curiously juxtaposed between her unreal reality and everything she desires.

A landing forced by unusual circumstances, Emily finds herself grounded in the most unlikely place for a would-be dancer-a stuffy office that has given her a terrible cough. But she is determined not to be out-tapped by the finger pounding typewriters and there brain numbing rhythms.

Strangely, a glance outside her office window reveals a giant billboard of her secret heart-throb, Ace Rogers. The host of "Dance Your Own Dance." The distance of the billboard, somewhat poetic, for sure. She can almost see the sparkle in his eyes...

The story is set in the city I always love. New York City. The word is "street car" rather than trolley.  I got it, now. Thanks.

You could say that Emily, a name that stuck with me like glue for her, is the classic archetypal daydreamer. The hopeless romantic. The determined performer. I can relate to her on many of these fronts. Of course, as the writer, I know her motivations. She is the embodiment of the emotional experience of many artists. Intense. Quirky. Dare I say, temperamental? But please, not 'flighty.'

Animating Emily is a study in emoting. The look in her eyes. The challenge of animating her expressions to convey what she's thinking, feeling. Also, I enjoy animating characters that are not a "mini-me." Emily's dilemma is "Is there ever a good time to chase a dream?" She must deal with fears on many sides. But are dreams pursued out of convenience? Rarely. Perhaps, mostly out of necessity. Like Emily, I've learned, the fish-out-of-water experience makes a dream...oxygen.

Meet more of the characters along the way....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life Animated

Writer's Thoughts,
I took some time off today to regroup my thoughts. I usually do this after projects that have required a lot of energy. A little heads up. I do keep the projects in rotation. This actually helps me to gain focus on the projects that I'm not focused on, at the time. I know, it sounds strange. What's on the menu? "Life Animated." The first from this work is "My Island Story," which I will present in a couple of weeks. I must make a retraction. Reality can be 'fun' to animate. Because in essence, every story real or imagined starts with a vision.

Some stories require a lot of imagery, and it doesn't always depend on whether it's long or short.

Please enjoy this animated still from "My Island Story." And oh, if you do, and need to ease your conscience,...You might want to pile on the veggies.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Writer's Thoughts,
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day, and to express my appreciation for all of you. Your support means so much and has not gone unnoticed. When I say, "You Spin This Swirl," I really mean that. Hey! It's Valentine's, so I can be 'extra mushy.' Group hug!

I hope everyone enjoyed the sneek peeks into "To Dance On Air." What happens next? One of the lead characters, Emily Monroe, does get into the big show, but is it ever that easy? The beauty of animation is being able to be as wildly imaginative as one desires. The story is a mash of fantasy and 'history.' It's my 'fantistory.' Reality?...Well, that's not too fun for me to animate.

Coming up soon will be Life Animated, which is a series of animated works that are not part of a larger project. Spring is around the corner, and I look forward to sharing with you some of the directions and developments. Once again, have an awesome Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"To Dance On Air" Scene Two

Writer's Thoughts
I am pleased to introduce the next scene of the RetroVision story "To Dance On Air." This scene picks up the story from the first video as the main characters begin to step out toward their dreams.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's In A Name?

Writer's Thoughts,
One of the challenges in character creation is naming them. No, it's not one of those things to stay up all night over, but it can have it's moments. Here's why. There's a ton of names to choose from. Situation. Which ones to choose?

Akin to naming a child, you want the name to fit the character. It's an 'art-of-the-mind thing.' I'll clarify, not "out of my mind thing." As the writer, the personality of the character is already established. So begins the hunt to get the name that matches. What approach to take? Do you go with a name that has a hidden, deeper, or poetic meaning? Passion Heart. Sonny Day. Hope Fields. How about a "looks like?" Muscles. Sharky. Spike. Foxy.

Then there's the character's role option. Cabbie. Cook. Doc. And, the wordplay choice. Such as, a character who dreamed of being an actress, but never took the stage. Ida Benn Goode.  There's heroic names. Hector. Michael. Smart names. Gregory. Frederick. Honest names. Frank. Candice.

What is my ultimate name search method? Well, it has to 'feel right.' I've been known to take the songwriter's approach. The sound has to flow like a ringtone. When you hear the name, you know it's them. How do you know? You can't change it for anything. It gets stuck in your head. I've changed adored names before, only to mysteriously go back to the original. Then down the script, I'm wondering why I have two different names for the same character.

I take my chosen names through a series of questions. Is it the name of any relatives? Close friends? Friends? My close friends, friends? Famous people living or dead? Once I've made it that far, I feel fairly comfortable making a selection. This is the realm of fiction. It can have it's strange complications, at times.

As you can see, there is some thought that goes into naming characters. What's in a name? A statement. A first impression. Yes, names are often forgot in the initial conversation, but once they're taken in, they're hard to forget. Scarlet O'Hara. Flash Gordon. Clark Kent. 

New animated video coming up shortly. You spin this swirl!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Daze

Writer's Thoughts
It happens every year and it still catches me by surprise. The annual 'big one.' The monster snow storm that leaves one in a blanket of confusion, both literally and figuratively. When I heard the storm was coming, I prepared for a snow daze. That's when I can't work because I'm mesmerized by the falling snow...Wow. Falling snow...Falling...Snow.

I finally managed to get back on track toward the end of the week...Recap last week. I thought about the term 'film noir,' and felt I needed to clarify. "To Dance On Air" has a look and feel of noir, but does not follow in the genre. One reason, I'm a bit free-flowing when it comes to genre. Although, perhaps, it is somewhat poetic. I also gave thought to "retro." "RetroVision" is my way of having fun with the decades. But this is 'art swirl'd.'So it's retro with a twist. And, musically speaking, it's a collide-o-scope of past and present. I do think there are many films, music, fashions worth revisting.

How deep is "To Dance On Air?" Deep is not a subject I dive into intentionally. My heart has to be in it. Animation has come a long way. It's not just for kids anymore. Still, I like to keep it level. I once did a serious-themed animated story and my friends wanted to know if I was alright. Gotta love em. Those sweet fixers. I, like many other writers do write from experiences. The song that opens to "RetroVision" in the first video, I did compose after a very sad break-up. A little behind the scenes.

I've got a new video clip coming up next week. Meanwhile, please enjoy this animated still from "To Dance On Air." Thanks for dropping by. You snapped me out of my snow daze.