Thursday, 24 September 2009

Character Design: First Post

So now that I know what the all business is with all three major projects it’s time to actually get down to the nitty gritty and be all creative-like again. There’s no essay with either project this time, only the post-modernism one which is a last-minute jobby anyway, so it’s a good chance to go totally crazy with ideas and such. The second project is Character Design and we have to design characters, three of them to be exact. A Hero, Villain and Sidekick. We were also given a word around which to base our characters. Firstly, the word I have to work with is ‘Mechanical’ so that worked out fairly nicely. My one problem that I have with it is that I spent the summer coming to terms with how science fiction really isn’t my bag. Looking back I find it odd that I spent so much time trying to do sci-fi because in truth outside of a few examples I’m really not that interested in the genre. So my intention is to try and steer clear of my character designs being overtly sci-fi but the idea of a machine mixed with something more contemporary and down to earth is quite appealing.

Even though it’s something I want to avoid, here are some classic mechanical characters.

Now imagine a bin, the most disgusting bin you’ve ever seen. Just imagine it full of used toilet roll, used heroin needles, used condoms, Transformers DVD’s, puke, the Transformers movie script. Basically the vilest, most repulsive stuff you can think of. This is where these examples are going for this particular project.

Like so many others, usually the best way for me to start out is to take influence on what I have already seen and enjoyed. I haven’t been playing too many games these past few months because that’s not what the summer is for damnit, so I don’t think any particular games may immediately affect my thought process. I have been watching a lot of dark films though, mostly quite weak and nothing really involving stuff that is ‘mechanical’ in a literal sense other than perhaps Flesh For Frankenstein which was a sleazy hoot but a lot have stuck in my mind, Salo, Naked, Vengeance is Mine etc. While some artists I’ve taken a liking to recently are Tamara De Lempicka and Piranesi.

Recently I watched the newish film ‘The Informers’ which is an adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. For the record I don’t rate it that highly but it’s fairly interesting because it captures a certain culture and era quite well. I haven’t read the original book but it captures the coldness and lack of morality in other Easton Ellis books that I have read like Less Than Zero and American Psycho. For reference it’s an ensemble type film with a bunch of characters and stories that loosely tie together. It’s set to the backdrop of sleazy 1980’s Los Angeles. Not LA gangs and such but the upper class, rich, morally bankrupt, broken, desensitised youth of the 80’s. In essence a lot of sexy, beautiful and stylish people having unprotected sex with each other, sunbathing, doing lots of drugs and generally just not giving a shit. The type of people that Bret Easton Ellis always writes about y’know. It felt similar to ‘Magnolia’ but with a far more sterile and cold art direction and feel but it’s quite stylish because of the crazy Wham style haircuts and suave fashion. Obviously it has nothing to do with sci-fi (though I heard the book features Vampires, what the hell???) but the word ‘Mechanical’ to me doesn’t necessarily just mean robots and machines. For example it can also be associated with: emotionless, blank, automated, unconscious and unthinking which could accurately describe the people in this film.

Obviously the 80’s Los Angeles idea is quite a far out one at the moment, there’s no real substance to it at the moment but it’s one I like quite a bit. There’s a lot to think about with this project though, just who would this idea appeal to and what medium would such a thing apply to? I’d rather not care about all that stuff and just do something crazy and far-out but I do have to pay attention to all that stuff so…darn.

Anyway here’s the trailer to show what I’m trying to get at. The film adaptation of Less than Zero also captures the same look quite well so I’ll post a trailer for that as well.

That’s all I have for now. I’m going to sunbathe and do some coke.


tutorphil said...

Nicole Kidman... hahaha! I laughed out loud - and hey, what's all this about your postmodernism essay being 'a last minute jobby' - if you don't do brilliantly, I will kill you - indeed, if your class doesn't do brilliantly, I will kill you all!