Saturday, June 7, 2008

Horton Hears A Who: Meet Jojo

Precedents: Horton Hears a Who

Watch the trailer of Horton Hears a Who

The mayor's son Jojo even though a sub character in this story plays a very important role and one that takes a journey similar to my character. He is the son of the Mayor and therefore his father has high hopes for him to carry on the family tradition. Jojo is a weird boy who never says a word throughout the whole movie. Every time his father tries to talk to him about become the future mayor of Whoville, he tries but doesn't say anything as he doesn't want to shatter the high hopes and dreams his father has for him. In the begining of the story we see Jojo go to his secret happy place. We don't know what he does there or what this place is until the very end of the movie when the Who's are trying to make noise so that the rest of the jungle knows they exist. All of Whoville is making the loudest noise they possibly can to transmit the sound over the spec but it isn't enough. Jojo realizing the seriousness of the situation runs off to his happy place where he uncovers his secret sound machine that creates a noise so loud that the rest of the jungle can hear and finally believes that the whos exist. Jojo ends up saving the day and his father is proud of him. He finally speaks and he is no longer the wierd one anymore. His creative sound machine saved their lives.

The Mayor of whoville was never ashamed of Jojo. Being the only son, he wanted him to carry down the family name and tradition of being mayor. Seeing that his son never spoke to him started to worry him. He could never figure out what was on his mind. At the end when Jojo saves the Whos he starts to understand.

What works really well about Jojo's journey is that throughout the movie, he lives in the background, no one would expect that this weird, outcasted boy who never speaks would end up saving the village. The unexpected ending and solution to the dillema makes this story rewarding to watch.

For my story, I have to figure out how to give it a twist. How would I give this character a journey that is not typical and creative.

Precedents: Musicotherapie

Not only excellent animation but a perfect example of incorporating sound and music to the animation. Here the animation relies heavily on the sounds made therefore affects their movements and how they come about each movement. Here the sound clearly moves the story.

Precedents: Funkphonic - Rick Tank - 3D Animation

This is a thesis project by Rick Tank, an animation student in UK. The set design and character is extremely simplistic but as a concept of combining music and animation it works pretty well. I looked at it because it has similar elements that I will be incorporating in my animation, i.e. working with light and sound to move the story forward.

Thesis Statement

Traditions confine us to certain  expectations of acceptable professions that society expects us citizen to follow, however sometimes it becomes necessary for us to break these traditions.

My explanation of this statement:
As we grow up, we learn from our parents, teachers, elders about how to be successful in life. Along with these teachings, we are taught about what professions contribute towards being a successful person. These assumptions of "what career makes one successful" comes from tradition and also the wanting of our parents for us to be successful and happy in life. However as the times change and culture changes, it becomes important to re-evaluate this assumption of "what makes one successful". With changing times come new problems, ones that have never emerged before? When traditional solutions don't work, it is upto us to be creative about the way in which we think to solve these problems. Thus it then has to be acceptable to break traditional expectations. The youth of today are starting to solves world issues creatively through new media, gaming, art, music etc... As these efforts are providing solutions, society should embrace these new professions. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Some assumptions that I have right now are:

- Asian children still struggle with acceptance of non-traditional professions as far as society and tehir parents are concerned.

- The American Asian population of kids have an easier time with the whole acceptance issue

- Education has helped but culture and tradition are still influencing the thinking of the parents


I have started my character modeling class for the summer at NYU and am super excited. We have already started modeling characters and will be learning how to rig this week. 

So I will start storyboarding this week and testing out my story next week. My cousin has two children ages 5 and 3 whom she reads stories to every night. She has offered to read the story to them to see if they understand and observe how they react. So the prototype for them will be in the form of a story book. If I am able to, I will also try and ask her to try the story on her friends kids so that i can get a wide range of responses.

 I will also start pitching the story to young teens and get their feedback. I hope to get in touch with SAYA this week. 

My story as it stands right now

This is the story I have right now. I started thinking about it last semester and am still working on it. 

In a flourishing rain forest was the village of the little people that with the color of their emotions. And in this village was the respected doctor Pit Pat who was known for summoning the rains with his famous rain dance. 

One day when Pit Pat was performing his rain dance, his little son Bong interrupted his fathers rain dance by playing his coconuts. Instantly all the little people started to go nuts, putting their hands over their ears, and vibrating in fear. 

You see the sound of drumming was forbidden in this village because only the God of drums was allowed to make the sound of the drums. 

Embarrassed and scared for his son Pit Pat takes Bong's coconuts away from him and sends him away. Immediately the little boys light starts to die out and his father can see he's sad. He feels bad for his son because he knows that he wants to play the drums but he can't because it is the forbidden sound. 

So Pit Pat decides that he will teach Bong to be a famous rain doctor like him. Later on that day Pit Pat takes a little rain wand and gives it to his son. Bong lights up thinking that the wand was a stick to beat his coconuts and starts drumming away. Pit and then hands it back to him. But Bong is persistent to use the wand to play his coconuts. Now angry Pit pat pat snatches the wand out of the little boys hands and sends him to his room. This time Pit Pat notices that his son is extremely depressed and because his can see that his light has now died out completely. 

However now there is a dilemma that Pit Pat needs to face, his one of the other little people came running into his tent telling him to summon the rain because a part of the village has caught fire. He does his little dance but nothing happens. Bong noticing all the commotion that is going on realizes what is happening and runs to help his father. He starts playing his coconuts while his father dances. Pit Pat urges his son to stop playing around in this urgent situation but Bong urges him to let him play while he dances because he can help bring the rain. 

Together they dance and play the coconuts and the rain falls. The fire gets put out and the villagers realize that the drumming of the coconuts helped save their lives. Pit Pat was proud of his son, he told him he could play his coconuts for as long as he wanted. In honor of Bong, the villagers placed his very first coconuts next to the drums of the drum God so no one would ever questions him drumming the coconuts again.

I'm sure this story will change as I do my research and gain inspiration from other stories and seeing what elements of those work and don't work. I had pitched this story in a class last semester and really good responses especially because it deals so much with the elements of light and sound. As these are elements that kids will definitely respond to (i.e. having a catchy soundtrack when the drums are being sounded and the finale scene with the father and on dancing and drumming away) I intend to incorporate them in the story no matter how it changes.

Another idea I have been playing around with is since these little people are from a different world, It would be interesting to give them an environment where they can walk upside down even. I am still figuring this part however.

As far as giving them a light from within, a warm glow from the heart, I will have to research lighting methods to give that effect.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Initial thoughts on concept and process

In every culture there are several schools of thought as far as the recognition or respect of professions that one chooses. These decisions of what career is considered valid that are made by society in turn reflects not only the way in which individuals see themselves but also the way in which parents accept what they choose to pursue as a career.

For my thesis, I will comment on this issue involving the reactions of society and parents towards the career choices of the child through a 3D animation short. The tone of the piece will be humorous. The intention is to get the viewer attached to the emotional journey that the main character takes in order to get his father and his village to accept him for who he really is and what he wants to do in life. 

Over the summer, I will test out my story with various audiences, create my models and sets, and perform test animations to se how best I can bring out my characters personalities through their movements.

A bog part of my research will also involve talking to youth at SAYA. SAYA is a non-profit organisation that hlds activities to help Indian children of various ages rise as far as employment, deal with issues of racism and deal with the pressures of the Indian society. As they deal with a majority of my target audience, I will speak to these youth and find out if my assumptions are true. I will also test my characters here and make changes accordingly as far as look and feel.