For my final major project, I've thought about several ideas I can go with. I'm mainly thinking about themes and techniques I can focus on; I would like to work on a story that involves anxiety and intimacy, and to be able to work with surreal visuals and possibly mix different techniques. So here are the different ideas:
I have been thinking about revisiting my BA film concept (Conyxol) with a different approach. Rather than the pharmaceutical informercial parody, I think this idea could be interesting as a more abstract visual animation that focuses more on bodies morphing and merging with each other.
This version will be focused on relationships and extreme physical and emotional intimacy. With strong occult and ritualistic overtones, the animation’s story will be a psychedelic interdimensional romance, in which two beings attempt to get on the same plane of existence. They participate in a ritual in they both inhabit the same body for some time, experiencing the world differently than usual while they reform as compatible physical forms. After a while, their bodies separate, relatively painfully, and find themselves looking at each other and having nothing to say. They spend the rest of the film physically attempting to re-merge, brutally destroying each other’s bodies in the process until there is nothing left of either of them.
I want the film to have a mixture of animation techniques that correspond to different themes. I would specifically like to contrast cleaner, 2D digital styles with more physical, textural ones such as charcoal or oil on glass, or even possibly stop motion. My idea is to have the clearer style be a more sober, “objective” tone for what is happening in the real world, and the sketchier, abstract ones to represent subjective and hallucinatory experiences of the characters. I also have an idea to somehow merge the two for the final portion of the film, for example as a heavily digitised stop-motion sequence, symbolizing an uncomfortable merger of a conscious and subconscious reality.
I'm not completely sure if it's worth going back to this idea yet though, since I may want to try working on something completely new. But perhaps in the future I would like to revisit it again and make a more experimental piece that merges different visual styles.
My other idea is to make a film about the internal manifesting into the physical world through metamorphosis, looking at themes of privacy and exposure. The narrative would begin with a creature walking around and struggling to interact with others like it as its body uncontrollably mutates, causing it to run home, where the morphing body spreads around the space like mould. It becomes mostly immobile other than occasional growths and drips from its body mass, and its eyes blinking. Through windows in the room, other creatures see the morphing body and enter its space, looking around as if it’s a museum. The protagonist enjoys their attention. They start touching and eating parts of its body until one of them climbs inside, returning the body mass’ form to semi-anthropomorphic. As a physically fluctuating, mouldy giant the new entity comes alive and leaves the space, unafraid to be in the outside world (which despite the body horror and cannibalism is a relatively happy ending).
This would take place in a minimalist setting with more emphasis on bodies and their interaction, with subtle hints to their environment and location, such as simple outlines, lighting and colour. I would ideally want to use a mixed technique where the metamorphosis happens as stop-motion and the creatures and setting are be done digitally in 2D, so that the world seems clearer and the mutations seem more alien and unnatural. I am also considering having a voice-over narrating this as a completely normal nature/wildlife documentary.
Some challenges that might arise here are that my current technical skills might not be up to the task of animating a bunch of sludge and goop. I really want to work with morphing and body horror and that kind of thing but I'm a bit unsure if I will be able to get this idea to look the way I'm imagining it. Eitherway this would require a lot of testing to find the right style and technique.
My final idea is to explore themes of anxiety through a parody adventure narrative with an underwhelming finale. The protagonist of the story comes across a peach which sits on the ground directly in front of him. The story is about him wanting the peach but subconsciously making it really difficult for himself to get it. His anxieties manifest as physical obstacles, as the landscape keeps shifting making the path to the peach more difficult, and the protagonist has to overcome this to get what he wants (i.e. climb a mountain, outsmart a cult that worships the peach, flight monsters, resist other peaches, jump dimensions). By the time the main character finally reaches the peach he has aged 60 years and carry multiple physical and psychological scars. When he finally takes a bite, it is just a normal average peach. All the obstacles disappear and the protagonist reverts to his original age, and just sits there on the ground looking at the peach. No time has passed and all these obstacles were an unnecessary struggle; the protagonist is left dissatisfied with all the effort and the mediocre payoff.
I would want to animate different tasks in different styles that match their variations in tone, with one main technique as a spine which I would revert to in between the tasks. I would also like to focus on the transitions in style, and will attempt to make them gradual rather than just cut them together. With this film I want to represent a simple task that is made unnecessarily difficult by internal setbacks and how overcomplicating a situation can make the final solution seem dissatisfying or disproportionate to the effort required for it.
This idea came from thinking about blowing simple things out of proportion, for example making a simple phone call can feel like some insurmountable task and its completion can just end up feeling very empty. I like characters that delude themselves and are later disillusioned from their expectations. This story would be more narrative and character-driven than the other two, so I guess I just need to decide what direction I want to go in.