Monday, 13 October 2014

Character Profiling

After a few days of carefully planning out my character, I have finally come to a point where I am happy with the way his profile currently sits. I have broken the profile down into his early life, his personality and traits, and his physical description.

Early Life
John was born unplanned into a working class family who gained a secret wealth over the years through thieving items from the factories they were employed in. His parents would sell on most of the goods for a profit but the ones they could not pass on would end up stored away for future use. 

When he was of age, John begun working in a major production factory cleaning machines in poor conditions with bad treatment. This is where he first witnessed the power business owners had over the lower classes who they employed. This caused a stir in John's determination and sparked a desire to grow to be respected and wealthy and to be seen as a figure of power. He soon stumbled upon his parent’s scheme where he saw the potential to grow something small into something greater. Years later, his father fell ill with influenza which was contracted by his mother shortly after. He segregated himself from his family as to stay away from the disease as the likelihood of death became apparent. John waited for his parents to pass and soon after gained access to their secret fortune and begun to set himself on a new path towards success. 

Over the coming months, he attempted to kick-start small business ventures to work towards his goal of becoming a respected businessman but unfortunately each resulted in failure due to his incapability and uncoordinated methods, being shunned by the upper classes who simply saw him as filth who was below them. The events which occurred motivated John to continue to find new ways to reach his goal. In the end, the idea of success came down to a key decision in John's mind as he realised that legitimately earning money and respect were a way off due to his heritage and existing reputation. It became clear that both of his objectives were not achievable together and that one would have to be sacrificed for another. John had to decide whether he wanted to be well respected or to be wealthy. He came to the conclusion that with wealth came power, and with power respect could be bought, therefore making his decision.. Realising that he was alone and that nobody cared to help him achieve his personal goals honestly, he became content with devoting his life towards selfish gain with little worry about morality.

John begun to study the methods of many salesmen in an attempt to learn the ways of triumphant business but quickly found out that deception and trickery was the secret behind success. He picked up the tricks of the trade and planned his own business concept before putting it in action. Beginning with the renovation of a carriage he had stolen, John invested his parents’ money on creating a show and developing the separate persona of Dr Alabaster Alberstine to aid in the success of his new found business. He spent a lot of time creating his own items combining wild ideas the inspiration of the new age technologies to create the left over items from his parents stash to create unique and striking products. With another theft of horses, and the employment of two cheap desperate homeless men, John set off for new lands to begin his new life as the mysterious and intriguing Dr Alabaster Alberstine.

Alberstine is a scheming salesman who is deceiving and dishonest. He is entirely self-centered and has no regard for others unless they are giving him what he wants. Alberstine is an extremely charismatic showman who is charming, suave and smooth talking and can captivate the attention of audiences within a matter of moments. He is remorseless and has a complete lack of morals. He is also slightly sadistic as he enjoys seeing both his assistants’ misfortunes. Deep down Alberstine is still uncoordinated, unlucky, and ill tempered.

Physical Description
Alberstine bears a mysterious but elegant appearance. He is a tall, lean man who sports a thin moustache and dresses in unique finery. He has hazel eyes, a pointed face, defined cheek bones, and an eerie but charming smile. He has long bony fingers, long thin legs, and has a good posture. Alberstine wears a top hat with a band of purple fabric wrapped around the crown, with a crow’s feather tucked inside. Under his hat, Alberstine has black hair which is combed over to the right and wears a black tailcoat lined with dark maroon fabric over a silvery vest and white shirt. Around his neck he wears a patterned maroon ascot and he keeps his pocket watch chain on show. His trousers are tight and fitted and he displays slightly off colour white spat boots on his feet. He handles an elegant dark cane headed with a crafted silver crow which he uses as a tool during his performances. He has been known to be one of the most flamboyant salesmen due to his decorative carriage and impressive style.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Final Idea Re-Evaluation

After discussion surrounding my idea, it became apparent that the world I was creating was going to be too complex for a short animation. It was going to be too difficult to give my audiences an understanding of my world and the reasons why its history is the way it. This revelation saw me re-exploring my already existing research and ideas in search for a more refined and condensed concept. The new idea that was born from this process still lies within the original boundaries of advertising and propaganda, and will still exist at some time between 1850-1950.

My new idea proposes the creation of a 1-2 minute animated short about a travelling caravan salesman who, with the help of his two assistants, advertises his latest most ridiculous products in true salesman fashion. The animation would focus on the idea of false advertising and would present a contrast between the propaganda sold by the salesman and the reality of the effect the product has. This would mean the full production pipeline for three characters, an environment and multiple props. Additionally, I will be drawing on specific elements from certain art movements to make my designs unique and appealing.

I have additionally constructed a brief character profile around the salesman character who will be the centre focus of my animation. This will be expanded upon in another post where I will unearth his background, personality traits and appearance.

- Name: John Edwards
- Alias: Dr. Alabaster Alberstine
- Gender: Male
- Age: Mid 30's
- Ethnicity: White English
- Archetype: Villain (Thief)
- Occupation: Travelling Salesman
Objectives: To be wealthy and be seen as an upper-class citizen and a successful businessman, wants to be     respected
- Fears: Failure, The truth of being revealed as fraudulent, being a nobody again

I created the character on paper with a few other existing examples in mind. I knew my character was going to charming and mysterious, but there was also going to be something rather eerie and disgusting about him. The Duke from Moulin Rouge has this uncomfortable aura, and Michael Sheen has something charming but eerie about some of his character portrayals. Other influences include Mr Nick from The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Dr. Facilier from The Princess Frog, Nigel West Dickens from Red Dead Redemption. From here it is my intention to develop a fully realised profile for the salesman character so that I can begin exploring less generic ideas when it comes to writing my script. I will be using language from old posters, video ads as reference and will also be looking into the way carnies introduce shows and bring in a crowd.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Advert Design & Style Influence

With some initial ideas regarding stylistic influence and design, I have collected a variety of examples which I found useful and appealing to draw ideas from. To begin with I found a series of posters and ads which were published throughout the 1800's. Their black and white line drawings  with filigree decoration were all so appealing, but the text and language were the main catch. The complete nonsense they sell is so comical and entertaining its hard to believe people would take the ads for truth. The 1900's introduced the first coloured ads to mix and the styles used within them had a great impact on their appeal. They also tended to cut down on the extravagant drivel and use more direct slogans and phrases, using the brightly coloured metaphorical images to sell the product instead. 

I have also collected a series of political propaganda and campaign posters as reference. This will be useful in the coming days seeing as the world I am trying to create will be working as a symbol of political power and control. 

Another aspect which I needed to understand in my research process was architecture. Architectural style is going to play a big part in conveying the Utopian themes I will be introducing into the appearance of my world. Before implementing this into my animation, I have read into various architectural styles that are known to have been used to represent Utopian ideas and reflect power from different ages, and pulled out the defining characteristics for each.

Georgian (1720-1820)

Georgian architecture was associated with 18th century, but was at it's peak in the period between 1730-1800. It was most commonly used in England during the reign of George III and was heavily influenced by classical architecture. This style of housing was considered the rich mans architecture as wealthy people invested their money into their homes, and with accumulating in the hands of less and less people, it was only the majorly wealthy families who could afford these types of houses. Its defining characteristics are;
  • Strictly symmetrical arrangements
  • Centered, paneled front door capped with elaborate entablature and supported by pillars
  • Cornice embellished with decorative mouldings
  • Rectangular multi-pane windows
  • Chimney on either end of the building

Neoclassical (1640-1850)

Neoclassical architecture once again describes buildings which were inspired by classical architecture. Neoclassicism was a movement which dominated Europe in the 19th century and expressed the Age of Enlightenment influncing music, theater, literature and visual art. The architecture was used on a grand scale for important structures such as governmental or public buildings which involved a lot of both interior and exterior decoration. Its defining characteristics are;
  • Built in symmetrical shape
  • Tall columns that rise the full height of the building
  • Triangular pediments
  • Domed roofs
  • Supported or decorated with pillars

Fascist (1930-1950)

Fascist architecture is most common is countries like Germany and Italy, were famous historical figures such as Hitler and Mussolini favoured the ideas behind its creation. Fascist architecture was developed with ideas of conveying intimidation, power and control all in one structure. It helped to advance the power of the state by creating an orderly standard for the rest of their country and most importantly it was used to overwhelm its citizens by showing the wealth and control of the elites of the country. Its defining characteristics are;
  • Large symmetrical and simplistic shape
  • Lacks ornateness
  • Lacks complexity
  • Sharp edging and defined shape
  • Made to be durable

Art Deco (1920-1940)

Art Deco is a style which was born from the boom of the roaring 1920's and bust of the depression ridden 1930's. Art Deco wasn't only an architectural style, but other elements such as fashion, film, products and transport all had their fair share of Art Deco design. Art Deco was influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Art Noveau and wasn't always for the elite, however, powerful or influential people usually resided within buildings with greater decoration and style. Its defining characteristics are;
  • Geometric forms and Angular outlines 
  • Stepped tiers and flat roofs
  • Elements come in threes
  • Elegant eyebrows and banding
  • Tapered edging
  • Sculpted decorations and geometric designs 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Refined Ideas Mind Map

My initial idea has progressed a lot since my original posting of my concept. I have a clearer understanding of the world I am trying to create, and the way in which I want to present it. My world is going to revolve around the creation of a seperate city which is to be inhabited by the higher class citizens of the world. The city is going to be a self-sustaining utopia and is partially going to be influenced by certain ideals real world countries possessed and is going to be a symbol of power and progression. I will be drawing on the influences of powerful, clean and elegant design in architecture and advertising from specific time periods to help produce this feel within my world. A brief summary of my ideas can read below.

The only element which is a little hazy at the moment is the purpose. I know the video is going to be character driven, and the language and graphical communication used within will have to be on point to produce the intended affect, however the product/person/position the video is advertising will need to make sense within my world and will need to have a strong message. This will be resolved shortly after discussion around the suitability of certain ideas, finding the one which provides my project with a wider option for creative thought and a greater driving force.