Wednesday, June 11, 2014

6/11/2014 So it begins

Hi. Not sure if this is intended for anyone but future me to read, but this is a production diary. ...

Before talking about the actual production, I should note the context it's starting in - as in my personal world!
So I'm unemployed and living in Asheville, surviving on savings. Emily and I had our son Arthur exactly four months ago today, and I'm only now thinking about anything other than him.

Having Arthur put an end to the original career plan, which was to do freelance in NYC a quarter of the year which would be enough to make it in Asheville. Now as a dad that's out. So I've spent quite a long time trying to see what other options are possible other than the late shift at Arby's.

Emily and I have settled on me being the full time parent since she has a steady career at the moment. That will definitely be my primary "career" until Arthur starts school. Not much work will lend itself to that schedule, so it has to be something I do by myself on my own schedule.

And so, after a million other plans, I'm going to do a narrative animation. We'll see if, when, and where it makes any money, although I'm hopeful considering the lack of other opportunities. I think it will find an audience somehow. If nothing else I think it will lead to other work down the line...

I guess this (6/11/14) is as good a date as any to set as the start date, although the ideas and preparations have been kicking around for a few weeks...

This is going to be a Christmas special. I think it will be called "No Christmas for Ned". Or maybe it's an anti-Christmas special. Not really anti- Christmas but anti- "Christmas special". Or maybe just a spoof. But heartfelt and really dealing honestly with alienation and being "different".
The plan is to do it pretty much solo, although probably getting some voice artists and other sound folks later on.
It will be a musical with songs I write. ...

The audience is basically kids and families that don't celebrate Christmas (as well as people who sympathize with them) and how they feel during the season. It centers on Ned, who is implied to be from an atheist family. But the special should be as universal as possible and NOT political or preachy. (!) ...

Right now the whole thing is just a bunch of sketched out concepts in a mental shoe box. Here's what exists so far! ...

The "script":

 2 min - song "every year"
 3.5 min - kids tease ned
 2 min - song "poor ned"
 3.5 min - ned asks parents
 1 min - song "the question!(ask us later)"
 3.5 min - asks mall santa why he ignores him
 2 min - song "you must be bad"
 1 min - walking home
 1 min - song "every year" slower, sadder
 3.5 min - meets other kids
 2 min - song "the season for the reason" ...

VERY goofy movement
reason for not celebrating xmas is never explicitly explained
ned is emo/goth?
ned is charlie brown-like but not too depressing.
whole story is on a single "set" that corkscrews up a mountain. starts low ends high.
 there is a constant snowball fight throughout - snowballs hitting things in the background and also narrowly missing Ned constantly.
whole show one camera shot?
set is cheesy cliche xmas stuff like little victorian house decorations and snow globes.
very shallow depth of field like a toy world.
early scene of kids in classroom trading absurd amount of gifts while ned gets none. they get passed right in front of his face. one of the kids hands out ferrets from his family breeding farm. They all have ridiculous bows on their heads.
teacher is spazzed about xmas and wears all xmas clothes, hats, etc...
teacher sings a pity song to ned in class while kids mock him behind her back...
teacher asks all other students to give ned one of their gifts and they all give him their ferrets. From then on he's followed by a herd of ferrets...
vehicles get ambushed with snowball barrages
end scene starts ominously with other outcasts in silhouettes
ferret sings or talks at the end with no warning
voices will be actual kids like Peanuts
kids are about 8

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