If it's crap ... We'll tell you
In my last blog I said I'd divulge my tale to you, the reader (again, how many out there that cares to read this), but I've been having the damnedest time figuring out where to start and what to write about. I wanted the last blog to introduce the idea of what I had in my head, where I wanted it to go, where I wanted to take it, what I ultimately had to work with, and what I ultimately accomplished. I am dead serious when I say I really wanted to take this idea and turn it into a movie. Not a short or short-film that condenses everything into a couple of minutes but a really, really big movie with even bigger ideas and even greater ambitions. It was first and foremost for Spill, that was clear, but it was for me, as well.
I was hoping that when I made my submission for Spill.Con, it would get the interest of others. With enough interest, people, and luck, hopefully, it'd get the attention that it would take to help it get off the ground. However, none of those things happened as either the quality presented was too shitty, it wasn't interesting enough, all of the above or something else entire. Either way: it failed at what I hoped it would do. I wanted this to be something that the community would have an interest, and eventual involvement (those who would be interested, anyway), in because what's the point in making something, especially a movie, that no one gives a shit about? Especially when the idea become so vast that no one person can do it alone.
Thus, the main reasoning behind the creation of these blog entries: maybe if I release more stuff about this movie idea, as I've already made artwork and have plenty things to share, maybe it would inspire and interest others into helping its creation along.
So, with that said, in this particular entry, I want to elaborate, expand, and explore (and other words that begin with "e") the ideas I had of this fictional world. What follows below are sketches, concept pictures, notes, and accompanying thoughts regaling why they are what they are. With any luck, these ideas and concepts are interesting and entertaining enough that it gets others interested, and entertained enough, to help seek these ideas to fruition.
So lets take a peek into this world; a world of another reality, complete with its own history and future. Inhabited by denizens with stories rivaling the very planet they live on in intrigue and mystique. This is my quintessential "world of tomorrow"...
At this point, I've become sick and tired of a grungy and dingy future filled with clunky designs covered in lots of dirt and grit. I wanted to get away from that and wanted something a little more pristine. It needed to reflect this society and what it meant, both in terms of technology and its underlying theme in a very simple, sleek, slightly familiar (but at the same time, completely alien) manner; promising but cold.
So I opted for large, windowless, needle-like spires that looked completely solid, seemingly erupting from the Earth. Holograms of adverts and other things hang in the sky along with other useless ambient lights; suspended in a perpetual "light-haze" that envelopes the ground level. This ethereal light also wraps itself around and reflects off of these spires, due to the material of their construction, giving them their distinctive glow.
The two sloppily-put-together pictures posted so far were made to remind me of the ideas I had for the background and of the overall story. Rather than simply writing it all down, having it drawn out not only reminded me of what I wanted to show and what mood it was supposed to evoke, but help branch out and explore new ideas. Not the most organized way of doing things but it did help creatively.
Of those ideas that spawned, one was this globe-sprawling capital city, though large it may be, people were not forced into living there. People still had a choice in whether they wished to move to a hub of this mega-city. Granted, it was harder to live on the outside of the city as all resources were diverted to sustain the people in the city as well as the city itself. It wasn't impossible, but it is exceedingly difficult as this fissure down society's landscape created an immense gap between those that swore their allegiance away for daily comforts, and those that refused the former option for personal freedom. Outside in the "Skirts", as it became to be known, crime is abundant and very little law enforcement (other than what locals have corralled together in certain areas) exists. Most law enforcement were absorbed into these hubs, of what created the mega-city, to protect and enforce the laws within them (as well as the people) from outside threats. Namely, certain civilians from the Skirts whom, in their desperation and stubbornness, have formed an underground movement/group that have resorted to violence to get their message across. Be it raids on government-owned resource facilities, attacks on outposts and shipping routes, etc; many within the megalopolis see this as acts of terrorists.
To protect those from this danger, a unique task force was created. One consisting of battle robots and, with the aid of eugenics, enhanced humans who create an intimidating and imposing force whom command fear and respect. The following are some old scribblings I made up for them (now added with flat colors):
Obviously, I'm influenced by the art of Star Wars, so there were some Stormtrooper aspects here, but of all the things that affected the overall look and designs the most were the police guards in THX-1138 and the original Cobra Commander from the GI JOE cartoons. I've never been much a fan of the show but I've always loved the original C.C.'s look. No convoluted padding and outer armor; just very simple looking clothing and a blank, reflective face shield. Other big influences came from Daft Punk (more so the costumes than the music), TRON, and, of course, Nazis.
Much like the Stormtroopers from Star Wars, I wanted varied designs and looks for different types. Each faction had to look different than the next yet still look familiar to each other. Designs for those few factions that immediately came to mind were bikers and pilots.
As far as both went, I wanted them simple (with semi-functional looking helmets) and in classic-looking gear. With that in mind, I scribbled something, for both, that looked more in line to their actual, real-life counterparts: actual motorcycle helmets for the bikers, actual (albeit, old classic looking) pilot/police helmets for the pilots and, in the earlier stages, for all the policemen. They just had more tiddly-bits tacked onto them.
When sketching up the outfit for the bikers, I turned to the costume worn by Steve Mcqueen in La Mans; nothing looked more stylish and classic than that, I felt. I even pinched the two front racing stripes for my own use. But above all things, what biker is any good without his bike?
I originally thought of them as cross between the light-cylce from TRON and the speeder-bikes from Return of the Jedi, but besides that, I had no idea how it was going to look. I knew that I wanted to have one really big wheel and one really small wheel (partially inspired from an abandoned Russian weapon called the Tsar Tank and drag racing vehicles) and that the operator had to merge with the vehicle; it actually had to hook up with the driver to work. But after some quick doodles, I realized what I wanted lent itself to either looking too familiar to other things or just plain goofy. Placing over the driver over the wheel didn't work, and having him lay down like in a bobsled didn't work, and eventually, after much staring into space, I started drawing a pizza cutter by reflex. Mix in some jet-ski curves (it has to look semi-functional) and you've got it's final design and something I'm exceptionally pleased with.
It looks like it can't turn worth a damn, but most of these things are kept on the freeways and roads that link all the parts of the mega-city together; escorting and protecting cargo trucks to and from each hub. An especially important task in recent times, as more attacks have occurred on the roads.
See? See how easy it is to make up a plot device for designing something before knowing it's function? As for the battle robots, they were a lot easier to put together. They had a purpose and they had a certain design criteria to meet.
Originally created as weapons of war, the battle robots were meant to wreak great havoc and take control of a situation with terrible swiftness. When proven worthy of their construction, they were quickly made mandatory everywhere for the protection of political heads and other important people (and, eventually, the general public). However, shortly after their implementation and a boom in technology that leaps years beyond what the world was expecting, paranoia spurs many amongst the masses to react violently against the technology and the people that accepted them into their lives. This causes a great rift between people; those that embraced the change and those who did not.
Mounting rebellious attacks across the globe against those who lead before and the machines that followed cause the afraid to flock to the big cities; leaving what they had behind for the safety and comfort that the metropolises seemed to provide. Forces begin to pull back and gravitate towards these hubs to protect those inside as construction of, what was to eventually become, the mega-city was in its early stages. As this took place and time moved on, the parts of the world that weren't part of these hubs fell to the wayside as resources were taken to support the ever growing populace within the cities. These increasingly dangerous areas would later make up, as mentioned before, the Skirts.
In what seemed to happen in a relatively short period of time, spindly towers rose from beyond the horizon, appearing to have grown itself on top of the world that was once before. What once stood as its protectors, receded back from public view and became symbols of authority. Though rarely often used, these machines have imbedded themselves into the consciousness of the masses, within the confines of the megalopolis, as the face of its omnipotent ruler's laws and power. However, in recent times, as the attacks against the city, and power in charge, increases; so have the activity of the robots.
The first image is, not only, a still from my teaser but the final design for the robot. Little changed from the initial sketch, perhaps some more minor details and refining, but as the time withered away, I didn't have the time to come up with anything better, or rather, significant; so the sketch pretty much just made it into the show without much change.
The second image, however, is a still from an omitted shot from my teaser that I just couldn't get to work (the robots all had an animated walk cycle and I couldn't get it them all to move at the same time in the same direction) but originally had it set to show. This was to lead to several other similar shots that were to showcase how faceless, emotionless, and just terrifying these things and people could be. Looking back on it now, I guess it really wouldn't have done much if I had left it in. I wasn't sure of having the cop hold a gun then (felt that he should be holding something) and I'm still unsure of it now. Oh, well.
As of the image on the right, like the policemen mentioned before, I wanted the same idea for the robots: many designs for different kinds, each of specific function. And, as I'm sure you've realized by now (the cheesy names probably gave it away), all these images so far follow a specific visual motif. They are all modeled after the ruler of this land, the immaculate leader, and omnipotent power that presides over all of the megalopolis. This leader is none other than our beloved Co-Host 3000.
I love the iconography of the Co-Host's look (especially the faceplate). The shape, the lines, and the simplicity of it all; I didn't want to mess with it. The only things I wanted to add was a recessed mouth and more raised edges, but overall, kept it the same and very much to the original look.
In fact, I liked it so much, and being that he rules this mega-city, his design became a motif for everything else. The buildings look the way they look because Co-Host has a lot of curves to him and little straight lines. The police costumes are all obviously based of his patterns. He just permeates every look within the city in almost every way.
But how does the Co-Host fit into all of this? Equally important is how does the Spill Crew fit into all of this? What does this sci-fi world have to do anything with a movie review site with cartoon characters?
Well, not really much anything, to be honest. It was just made as a surrounding to make the story more interesting and have the characters come out much more. But what is this story exactly? How in the hell does this fit all together with everyone involved? Who is involved and why?