01 Story concept and rough outline
I’ve started my next project. It’s going to be a Motion Comic/Ghettomation. The last project I did I wanted to keep it all secret until I was ready to publish it. Problem with that is, I can’t really write about it or the process since I can’t reveal the details I’m working on. It’s not as interesting to read. I’ve decided this time to write about everything. This means spoiling the story. It also means I can write about everything I’m thinking about. How I’m going approaching the story, the problems I’m coming across and how I’m trying to solve them. So in this post, I’m going to write about the basic set up of the world I’m going to be writing about as well as how I came up with it.
Sometimes on the way home from work (which is often a bit over an hour), I challenge myself to come up with story ideas or, at the very least, story concepts. Mostly for fun. On one of these occasions I decided to come up with an “antithesis character”. I was thinking about Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian and Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné. How Elric is the antithesis of Conan. Where Conan is a dark skinned barbarian, Elric is an albino aristocrat. Where Conan is a powerful warrior, Elric is a weak but powerful sorcerer. Both these characters are entertaining to read and both are great characters. I was thinking, that for fun, I’d do the same thing with a contemporary modern character that everyone knows. I was wondering if it would be possible to get just as interesting a character. The “no brainer” character I chose to make an antithesis character from was, Harry Potter.
First both Harry Potter’s story and my story would take place in the modern world. If Harry was a scrawny white skinned boy, my character, who I later named Rob Howard, would be very fit and dark skinned. If Harry went to school, Rob would not. If Harry was a wizard, Rob would be a warrior. So here’s where things started getting interesting for me, if Harry was destined to fight and defeat the big bad evil guy, Rob would be prophesied to BECOME the big bad evil guy.
So this is how I put it all together:
Rob Howard was born into a family of vile villains who’s only goal in life was to take over and conquer the world. According to prophesy (I haven’t work out details of it just yet), Rob is destined to fulfill this goal. He is prophesied to become the Dark Lord that will enslave the world and rule it with an iron fist. Unlike his family, Rob was born decent, honest, and moral. Everything he believes in, is the opposite of what his family believes. He wants no part of his supposed destiny. To this end, he ran away from home while still in high school. Not only to get away from his evil family but also, to try to get away from the constant assassination attempts by The Sorcerers. The Sorcerers are a group of self appointed protectors of the earth who seek out apparent evil and thwart it. Upon hearing about the prophesy, they decided to use their magick to stop it before it had a chance to come true, by killing Rob. Rob attempted to explain to the Sorcerers that he had no desire to conquer anything or rule over anyone, but they wouldn’t listen. Going into hiding was his only chance of ever finding any kind of peace at all.
Sometime during his self imposed exile, he came across a weapon (I haven’t figure out the details of how yet). In one occasion, when the Sorcerers discovered his whereabouts, he discovered the weapon had the ability to nullify their magick. It also increased his strength, agility, and stamina. Not too soon after that, Rob also met his first ally. A mysterious wise, one eyed man who taught Rob virtue, wisdom, how to survive on his own, as well as, how to best hide and defend himself from his family and the Sorcerers. He also gave Rob a very intelligent Raven to keep him company. A Raven that soon became Rob’s best friend.
It was this mysterious man who discovered that the weapon Rob had found had an apparent sinister side. It seems the weapon’s power came at a price. Whenever it was used, it tried to take control of the wielder. It tried to possess the wielder, control him and enslave him to it’s will. Upon hearing this, Rob decided to rid himself of the weapon, only to discover, to his dismay, that it always found a way back to him. So Rob decided to no longer use it, only the Sorcerers would still find him once in a while and the their attacks had become more fierce and powerful. These attack would often force Rob to use the weapon if he wanted to have any chance of surviving.
Now the questions are: Will Rob succumb to the weapon? Is succumbing to the weapon how he becomes the Dark Lord? Will the constant attack by the Sorcerers CAUSE the creation of the Dark Lord they so desperately want to prevent? I don’t know the answers. It sounds like fun to me, to try to answer them though.
So that’s the set up for my next project. Next time, I’ll tell you the story I’m going to animate based on this set up. Below is a very rough sketch I did of Rob, some Raven exploration sketches and an attempt at the cursed weapon.
(A week later.)
Last time I wrote about the basic setting my next project is going to take place in. This time, I’ll tell you the story I’m going to animate. If you don’t want to have it spoiled then don’t read on. Thing is, from now on when I write about the project and my progress, I’ll assume you know the story.
My goal with this story was to write the shortest story I could think of. Nothing epic at all. Very simple. Something I know I can finish and at the same time have fun doing. It was very hard to come up with something that met all those requirements. Especially the “fun for me to do” part. Guess I’m very picky.
So here’s the rough idea of the story I have in mind:
After not eating for a day and a half, Rob Howard has finally managed to scrounge up enough money to buy a hot dog. Not just any Hot Dog but a Super Deluxe All Beef Ultra Dog with everything on it. He and his Raven (which I haven’t yet named) are planning to share this hard earned feast. He takes the Hot Dog to the nearest bench to sit down and eat it. He’s been dreaming about eating this Hot Dog all day, and finally his dream is a reality. He’s starving.
As he’s about to take a bite a shadow comes across him. He stops and looks up to see three Sorcerers looming above him. He rolls his eyes and sighs. The Sorcerer inform Rob they’re there to kill him. That the prophesy will not be fulfilled. Rob is waaay to hungry to care. He just wants to eat his Hot Dog, so he asks the Sorcerers if they would just give him the courtesy of a few minutes so he could eat his Hot Dog in peace. They could try to kill him all they want after that. The Sorcerer refuse and look as if they are about to attack. Rob then pleads with them. He asks if there is anything he can do just to get a minute. The Sorcerers stop, look at each other, and maybe even converse. They tell Rob that if he hands over his anti Sorcery Weapon, they will give him a minute. Rob gladly accepts the terms telling them that he hates the thing and had no intention of using it anyway. But he also tells them that the weapon has an annoying habit of coming back to him somehow. He hands over his weapon that, currently, looks like small Medical Reflex Hammer. The Sorcerers take it, laugh at it and throw it away into the bushes.
Happily Rob grabs his Hot Dog for his first bite only to be stopped by an attack by the Sorcerers. The bastards went back on the deal. Uneaten Hot Dog and plate still in hand, Rob tries to run for safety. He’s blocked and attacked by a Flying Ape. He gets hurt but he’s still okay. He tries to escape through other directions only to come faced to face with something similar. Flying Apes, Giant Serpents, Stone Elemental, all prevent him from leaving and hurt him as he manages to dodge and evade them while always keeping his precious Hot Dog safe. Meanwhile the Raven fights to protect Rob, attacking the creatures and the Sorcerers. At one point, the Raven gets hit hard and gets thrown into the bushes.
Rob realizes there is no escape for him, so he decides to do what he should have done from the start, eat his Hot Dog in the middle of all the chaos. But even this is difficult as he’s attacked left and right, almost dropping the Hot Dog and losing the Hot Dog quite a few times. Finally there is a small lull in the fighting. Rob has managed to lose the Hot Dog (still on the plate), only a few feet out of reach. He crawls to it and reaches out to it. Time to finally eat, only to have the Hot Dog SMASHED by the boot of the lead Sorcerer.
The Hot Dog is no more. The only thing Rob wanted. The only symbol of peace Rob had, was destroyed. The Raven flies out of the bushes, something gleaming in it’s talons. Rob looks at the ruins of the his Hot Dog and asks the Sorcerers why they didn’t just let him eat in peace for only a few minutes. Only a few minutes, that’s all he had asked for. Now they had crossed the line.
Rob gets on one knee, his shirt in taters, his pants burned and full of holes, his face scratched, his hair a mess. Sweat glistening off his battered bloody body. He reaches out his hand and the Raven drops the little hammer into his outstretched palm. Rob looks fiercely at the Sorcerers with a savagery that they’ve never seen in anyone’s eyes before. The Hammer magically grows enormous. Almost bigger than Rob and yet he hold it as if it’s as lite as feather. The Sorcerers gulp. Beads of worried sweat on their foreheads.
Rob attacks. The Flying Ape, The Giant Serpent, and the Stone Elemental go to protect their masters, only to get dispatched with ease by the enormous swingings of the hammer. The Sorcerers throw out all the magick they can in order to get away from the berserker coming at them. Nothing stops him. Bam! goes one. Downed by the massive hit of the hammer to the chest. The demon that gave the Sorcerer his magick is knocked out of it’s body leaving him powerless. A second or two later, the same happens to another. He’s out for the count.
Finally the leader tries a last effort. It fails. The hammer knocks the demon out the Sorcerer’s body and the guy is now defenseless. Rob walks over and picks up the quivering man. He looks him straight in the eyes, “You owe me a Hot Dog”.
A trembling Hot Dog vendor standing in the midst of the chaos and rubble of the battle is asked politely for a Super Deluxe All Beef Ultra Dog by the now powerless leader of the trio of Sorcerers. The Raven lands on Rob’s shoulder. He looks at his bird friend, “Make that two.”
At this point the story is still malleable, but this is pretty much what it will be like.
What appeals to me about the story so far is the potential for really dramatic serious moments juxtaposed with lite comedic moments. After all, it’s about a Hot Dog.
What do you think?
The drawing above is another version of Rob I sketched out. I like the drawing but I’m not sure the design of the face is where I want to take the character.