Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Initial Ideas

Picking a starting point for this project has been a definite struggle and I have gone through many initial ideas, but for whatever reason nothing really struck a chord with me until just recently. Below is my initial thought process to what is hopefully my final topic to adapt.

My initial idea came from the play The House Of Bernarda Alba by Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca. The narrative follows a strictly traditional Spanish family in the early 1900's. Bernerda, a domineering, reclusive widow, and her five daughters go into eight years morning for the death of her husband/their father. The lack of social interaction between the family and the outside world is the cause for the complications that arise throughout the play. The eldest is allowed to become engaged to a man, whose morals are unknowingly lacking, due to financial gain. Jealously, envy and deceit arises and rivalry breaks out between the sisters resulting in affairs and vindictive lies. This ultimately results in the suicide of the youngest daughter. My initial idea was to create the house they live in and use various props from the narrative and place them throughout the house, which would unravel some of the underlying truths of the script. The camera would travel through the house, with possible voice overs from the script and the last room would reveal the hanging body of the youngest daughter. I think atmospherically it could of been a great piece, but as far as environment designs go it's more about the people that are living there, than the place they live in - hence hard to reflect the subtly of the characters personalities.

Peter Pan
J.M.Barrie's Peter Pan intrigued me, the idea of taking a child's dream and making it sinister. Taking an 'uncanny' take upon the play, so instead of the children's magical journey to 'Never Never Land' twisting it to the idea of abduction to a strange new land. Below is a list of environments I could of worked upon:
- House - Victorian, haunted house
- Pirate Ship - gothic
- Skull Cave
- Mermaid Cove - mermaids are mythically dark creatures so the sinister spin goes hand in hand
- Lost Boys Tree House

I read through the poetry book Away With Words, which is made up of poems by teenagers from a range of schools, in hopes that I would find a descriptive poem that I could produce environmental imagery. However, nothing really stood out, despite there being many great poems. If I choose to do an animation in the future it will be worth coming back to these.

Adapting Photographs
The idea of expanding photographs past the action captured or building a story behind the freeze frame – then freezing as the original photograph was an example of another idea I had. For example Russell I Sorgi (pictured to the right below)
Fairy Tales
I looked at both Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm Brothers for inspiration. Again taking a concept and darkening it to the point of sinister (- my apparent new favourite word!!). Below is a list of the fairy tales that were prominent in my thought process:
Hans Christian Andersen
- The Nightingale
- The Red Shoe
- The Old House
- The Last Pearl
- Under the Willow-Tree
Grimm Brothers
- Sleeping Beauty
- Rapunzel
- Cinderella
- The Twelve Dancing Princesses
- Little Snow White
- The Hut in the Forest
The two that stood out idea wise was Andersen's The Nightingale and the Grimm's The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The first tale made me think of creating a mechanical emperor's palace - representative of the mechanical nightingale the emperor had made for him - hence transforming his palace accordingly. The second had me imagining a room filled of the princesses beds laid out in a possibly a lunatic asylum regimented layout, using Suspira as a major style influence.

Charles Dickens' Novels came to mind when trying to think of innovative and evocative environments, in particular these two books;
- The Old Curiosity Shop
- Great Expectations
Hopefully my final idea and the concept I wish to continue with is from Great Expectations. The story is told through the protagonist Pip and is set in 19th century England, Kent to be precise. I’m focusing on the character Miss Havisham, in particular her environment – the mansion in which she lives. Jilted by the groom before she reached the alter, she remained in her wedding dress ever since and everything within her house remains exactly the way as it was the day she was to be married - waiting for her groom to return. Her wedding cake remains standing in the room decorated for the wedding breakfast, cobwebs decorate the room like veils or curtains. The two or three rooms up for designing and reinventing would be the main staircase hall, the bedroom and the dining room. Although the environments have been created a number of times, I feel like it could be something that I would, firstly, really enjoy designing, but also something I could reinvent with my own twist. Below is a recent depiction of Miss Havisham in the 2012 version of Great Expectations.


  1. Hey Frizzia,

    Okay - some stuff from today's Great Expectations brain-storm chat thing...

    Check out Harry Clark - intricate, attenuated, decorative, gothic...


    also - in terms of style more generally, image search 'Victorian Lace' and also 'Whitby Jet' (which was jewellery very popular in Victorian times and shares that same intricacy of lace, but a very dramatic black).


    Another style to think about might come from looking at cameo jewellery; for example:


    Maybe it's just me, but there could be something very 'occlusion pass' about your dust-covered, cobweb-laced banqueting room - anyway, as I said earlier, I think you should embrace the 'not like the real world' factor and go for something truly original and big on atmosphere and hush and silence and sadness...

  2. Thanks Phil, I'm really liking the cameo jewellery as a style!! :) I'm going to do lots of experimentation!