This is the video of Dwayne and we’ve been asked to create a short animation from his dialogue, specifically from the twenty-second mark to the fifty second mark, excluding Christmas.
I wrote out a transcript from the video to get a greater sense of the meaning attendant to the words. Dwayne’s repetition of the phrase ‘having (someone) over (to visit)’ was very strong, which gave me the idea of trying to visually represent a form of overcoming, travelling over an obstacle.
A narrative thread emerged for me beginning in a hostel then moving to his home with his family then returning to a memory of isolation in the hostel then returning home but this time just with his daughter which to Dwayne ‘means everything’.
As the bulk of the action in my film occurs in an imagined dreamscape that represents the protagonists inner world I am interested in exploring experimental and unusual transitions. I would like to utilise the backgrounds to create a sense of organic flow from one scene to the next in the hope of evoking an amorphous space. A space that is responding to the narrative.
As part of my research I have been looking at the Catch Me If You Can opening credits and its use of strong graphic shapes that can represent a door one moment then a chair leg the next through the creative use of scale. The characters move in, through and across these shapes. The shapes themselves become wipes, like the airplane flyover transitioning to a freeway.
Another aspect of the work that requires research is the balance between abstract and figurative, the level of accessibility in the film as it must represent the protagonists individual world while remaining relatable to the viewer. One of the films I’ve watched in relation to this aspect is A is for Autism by Tim Webb. This film does a powerful job of visually representing the participants world while also maintaining a narrative thread for the viewer to follow. As a person on the autistic spectrum myself it also serves me personally as a confidence boost to trust my own visual language and how I see the world as represented through my film.
Another film I’ve used for research is A Different Perspective
by Chris O’Hara for its inventive use of scale and movement of the characters through the foreground, middle ground and back ground planes. It plays with the conceit that though the layout may conventionally represent a three dimensional world, it is still also a flat drawing and the characters can interact with it on both levels. I’d like to try investigate using these techniques for my film especially in the wooden floor sequence with the transition from the foot stomp echoing down to the Melancholic Wife.
For visual reference from existing film my first port of call is Persepolis, it being an adaptation from a comic and using a black and white aesthetic that mirrors my own source material. I’m interested particularly in the use of texture for atmosphere and backgrounds. The action of my own story not being situated in a particular location, I want to find a visually appropriate way to represent the space my character is inhabiting. I also want to explore composition in terms of the balance between black and white to support the depiction of the characters struggle.
The full comic I’m adapting for my short film as originally presented.
My intention is to follow the black and white aesthetic of the comic in the production of the film and as I progress in the adaptation process I would like to explore using colour in a controlled way and it’s potential to support the narrative. With regard to the character design, I am going to use the storyboard process to find out what will be required of the character in terms of movement. This will help me to understand what adaptation to make to the hair, clothes and body design.
The source material for my film comes from a comic that I co-created with my partner, artist Sadhbh Lawlor. It’s from a series called The Melancholic Wife and her Perpetrating Husband, Sadhbh wrote the stories for the series and I illustrated them. Briefly, the artistic aim of the series is to explore narratives in a short story form and examine the use/misuse of simplistic labels to try describe the complexity of a whole person. There was a conscious decision made to not show either of the main characters faces in the comic so that the reader was encountering them through the words of the narrative, the label that is their names and the actions of the characters in response to situations.
The Melancholic Wife has been the focus of four episodes of the series.
This is her first appearance in episode one.
An appearance in episode six, a Perpetrating Husband story.