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Tubbed!

******* SECTION 4 *******

Characters:

  • Mo: Anthropomorphic feline wearing business suit, tie, and fedora. Name will not be stated; the name is for my own connection to the character. Mo works in an office in The City of Rectangles. About 30 in human years. He is accustomed to routine but generally tired. 
  • Tub: A living clawfoot Victorian bathtub that possesses the personality and mannerisms of a playful dog. Has a little more understanding of things than people may assume average dogs to have (like Snoopy). Friendly, but at times annoying (to Mo). 
  • All other characters will be background, and either be anthropomorphic domestic animals (dogs, cats, gerbils) or other living tubs

Settings:

  • The City of Rectangles: Where Mo lives and works. Sits next to The Ocean (like Boston or Manhattan) Lots of tightly packed, uniform-looking buildings. Everything is exaggerated to be very boxy and ordinary. Interiors of buildings (like Mo's office) are also boxy.
  • Tub's home: An abandoned Victorian house, just outside The City boundaries. Oddly by itself, fantastical. Gray and a little spooky, but interesting and whimsical. 
  • The Ocean of Absurdity: Borders The City. Lots of bizarre, silly aquatic creatures (that truly exist IRL, just exaggerated). Giant clams, rambunctious octopi, flying fish. 
  • The island: Don't want to give this away just yet ;)

(Very Rough) Layout:

Intro: Mo working at his desk in a cubicle in The City of Rectangles. He blows his nose in a rectangular tissue from a rectangular tissue box. Pan out to entire city to show breadth of the "boxiness." 

Inciting incident: Tub, at first seems inanimate in his home, but then breaks free of his piping and runs out.  

[TUBBED! TITLE CARD]

Complication 1: Mo leaves work and Tub stalks behind him down the city street. He does not notice until he he stops at the bus stop and sees Tub beside him. He's startled and utterly perplexed. 

Complication 2: Mo realizes he's missed the bus today and goes to walk home. Tub follows him along the way coaxing him to pay attention to him. Mo can't grasp what Tub wants and passes him off as an annoyance. Tub goes in and out of city buildings, offering him different things he's filled himself with at each place (eg. pastries from the bakery, books from the library, yarn from the craft store). Mo rejects each one and contnues walking, pretending to ignore. 

Complication 3: Tub stops following Mo, or at least Mo doesn't see him anymore. He seems releaved but is also still confused. He stops by a bar for an after-work cocktail. He orders a drink and tries to relax, but keeps imagining that he sees Tub in various places in the bar (eg. playing the jazz piano). Each time it's an illusion. Unable to shake off his bewilderment and intrigue,  he goes back out of the bar to look for Tub. 

Crisis: Mo sees Tub back at the bus stop they first met at. Tub is motionless, seemingly dejected, and some pidgeons have settled onto him. Mo approaches Tub, and Tub leaps back to life (scaring the pidgeons) and once again coaxing Mo. This time Mo nods an "ok" and steps into Tub and sits down. Immediately, Tub takes off running. 

Climax: Tub is racing through The City! Mo grips Tub's walls for dear life and tries not to lose his fedora. He's scared but also amused -- like on a roller coaster. Mo sees that Tub is heading for The Ocean, which frightens him more, but there is nothing he can do. Sure enough, Tub runs down a pier, takes a plunge, and begins to swim out to sea with boat-like speed. 

Resolution: [don't want to give away yet]

[END CARD]

Current challenges:

  • Sound. Will there be any spoken dialogue at all? If not, what's the sound that holds it all together? Music? Just minimalist sound effects?
  • Do other characters see Tub? This is a city - others would be around to see the dash through the city. 

Devices:

  • Repetition of three's
  • Juxtaposition of [order / chaos] represented by [city / nature] and [straight lines / curves]
  • Humans personified by animals, and animals personified by inanimate objects 

******* SECTION 3 *******

ANIMATION SCRIPT TREATMENT PREVIEW

Primary Theme:

Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about” - Oscar Wilde

The nonsensical will be the heart of this animation. The film will center around the use of absurdist humor to escape the mundane. I find joy in the unexpected amusement (think: flash mobs, found art, news bloopers) and am inspired by its ability to break a rut, shake up a day, and change a bad attitude. 

Secondary Theme:

A secondary theme will be reconnecting with nature – both as environment and human nature. Connecting with the primary theme, humor and absurdism will be the means of achieving that reconnection. To me, nature (human and environmental) is chaotic. Social construction and industrialization aims to tame that disorder – establishing lists of rules, building boxy identical houses in rows, clocking in and out of work.

Settings:

The City of Rectangles: The 9 to 5 big business world is a very rectangular place. Computer monitors and sheets of paper within cubicles – cubicles within skyscrapers with rectangular windows. Laptops, smartphones, elevators, briefcases. The aesthetic of modern architecture. Man-made and orderly.

The Ocean of Absurdity: The ocean is a very chaotic place. Waves crashing, sporadic sea life of different sizes, shapes, colors, species. How does one find order in the ocean? An aesthetic that may influence postmodernism. Untamed nature. 

Tone: Light and frivolous, with a scent of darkness.

Sound: Little or no spoken words. Cute animal and pet sounds – dog happy-panting and howling, pigeons cooing, cats purring. Simple melodies to tie it together. 

Aesthetics:Very dependent on shapes (and possibly color?) for juxtaposition: Circles, curves and curls = nature and fun; Straight lines and rectangles = business and routine

References:

******* SECTION 2 *******

Theme 1: Ridiculousness (as a means of liberation)

Theme 2: Nature vs. nurture (true self vs. social construction) 

Theme 3: The feeling of something following you 

RESEARCH

Improv everywhere: http://improveverywhere.com/

The shared experience of absurdity TED talk: 
http://www.ted.com/talks/charlie_todd_the_shared_experience_of_absurdity.html

Bathtubs as symbol of:

  • Childhood and play -- bath toys, Mr. Bubbles
  • Ritual and cleansing -- baptism
  • Relaxation and meditation
  • Sexuality -- American Beauty, Cialis commericals
  • Horror -- Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Power and luxury -- Scarface, Slumdog Millionare

Notable bathtubs in history

This bathtub is at the Circle Museum in middle-of-nowhere Austerlitz, NY 

Visual inspiration Pinterest board

Research questions:

  • Do you have any fun or silly rituals that help you get out of a bad mood? Examples: singing in the shower, personal dance party, watching a funny movie (which ones?), making sock puppets
  • What's the funniest thing you can imagine a bathtub being filled with? 
  • What does a bathtub symbolize to you primarily? (ideas: relaxation, luxury, childhood, sexiness, vulnerability?)

My wishlist: 

  • Animals as humans and objects as animals 
  • Professional animals in business suits (cats and/or dogs)
  • Stalking and pursuit
  • Captions and/or speech bubbles
  • Lots of pigeons
  • Little to no speech - music + sound effects
  • The ocean

******* SECTION 1 *******

Lately most of my personal and artistic obsessions have centered around the ridiculous and the absurd. Silliness! Nonsense! But not necessarily the type associated with children. More like when something is humorously peculiar in an otherwise normal setting. Or when an upbeat song is played over a dramatic scene. Or when the stoic news reporter cracks up. It's sort of like finding amusement in the unexpected; levity in an otherwise dull or dark place. 

Very recently an absurd vision popped into my head (with little warning) -- a scene of a Victorian clawfoot bathtub breaking free and running off. Does it chase someone? Does it just play around? Is it the focal point of a story, or just one small piece of a larger one? Does it have good intentions or bad? I have no idea yet, but it's something I've latched my mind onto for better or worse. 

BRAINSTORMIN':

Themes:

  • Silliness to overcome the mediocre
  • Silliness as a means of self-discovery
  • Silliness's relationship with darkness

Subjects and aesthetics:

  • Abandoned houses 
  • Animating the inanimate -- objects as animals and pets
  • Cooing pigeons 
  • "The Forest" -- tall, thin trees -- bare or autumn leaves
  • "The City" as boxes within boxes (windows, buildings, cubicles, briefcases, monitors) 
  • Old portraits
  • Amusement rides at country fairs 
  • Piles of old newspapers 
  • Black and white stripes
  • Text, captions, speech bubbles -- seen not heard -- floating up and around
  • Following, stalking, chasing
  • Laughing really hard at some minor silly thing after a terrible day
  • Growing attachment to a non-living object -- like with a stuffed animal

Resources/inspiration: 

Quote collection: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/list/16905700

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