Project: Pinch Point [May2017]
Entrance & Exit [working title]
This is a new  initiative to create a collaborative animation project, but with far more student control than with previous projects.
The first two acts of a story have been written (by me), and a few senior students have started to create some assets to begin the process of bringing this to life.
Any student on the BSc Computer Animation or BA Animation can take part. I welcome interest from other courses/schools if they think they can contribute. I am especially interested to hear from story writers, and voice actors, composers/musicians and so on.
Any student can pitch further ideas, and if they wish write the next part/parts of the story. This has already started to happen [May 2017].
When a student pitches an idea or story, key staff and students will decide if this is the direction that the story will follow. At this point, if there is a split decision and some students want to take the story a different direction, a new strand will start and they will manage production of this element of the story. In the same way there is nothing to stop a group taking the original story and going off to make this in a different way (2d animation/performance etc. so long as they stick to the same principals set out here).
Each student owns what they create and can use this to promote themselves at any time, but must sign over permission for the university to continue to use what they have created. Any contributor may not monetise any assets, story or other derivatives related to this project, without formal written consent. Everyone involved should understand that at any time in the future, their assets may get replaced for alternative ones as students and staff continue to work on the project.
I hope that by giving to the students a great deal more of the control and responsibility that this will foster a greater buy-in to the project. If small assets are needed to populate the story, or incidental animation is needed then entry level students still have a chance to create work for the project. As they progress they will be able to take on more important assets and so on.
In the short term the hope is to bring to life the first two scenes. These require a lot of work, and therefore will need a lot of students to get involved. If these ever get finished then we will move onwards. If enough buy in new assets for new scenes can start to be created as animators continue to create the first scenes.
Note. Most of this has been written on my mobile, so there are probably some typos, and auto-correct issues that I've not picked up - invariably this is normally in the middle of the night, or early hours so hopefully you will forgive me - If you spot something you can email me?
There is an optional pre-scene, before the adult and child is on the train, which started of as a painting idea that I didn’t get around to doing:
A mother with buggy. In the foreground, a boy screams, side on [lost track where I found this image]
In the distance two cars in a traffic jam; the one behind has people gesticulating and shooting. The one in front is frightened.
The mother is oblivious. Her boy has stopped and shouts at the world, while it continues in chaos, she walks on pushing the buggy away from us, on her phone. Huge carrier bags hang down from the buggy. This is modern life and we all want to scream. The boy is us.
We pan in, to the entrance of the train station, in my head this is Peterfield, but it could be anywhere really. The view cuts to the interior, as the adult and child move onto the platform - we hear a train approaching.
I also did a little more visual research and found some pictures of the old slam door train. This inspired me to not that there is no really good reason why it couldn't be set in one of those compartment tours other than the dialogue here might not work so well.] I will find this and put on the google drive.
Later on, as the police try to get a better picture of who was on the carriage there will be obvious confusion. Some of the passengers will think Sam was a girl, others will think Sam as obviously a boy. [Maybe- visually this might work, but dialogue might sound to gendered]. This, and the old lady will just add to the police confusion.
[notes, etc. I've noticed there is a connection between this story idea and the Master and servant project I did years ago. I wonder if the two might come together. Why did I come back to trains..]
This is undecided:
The mother, (or is she), acts as you'd expect at the start, she goes to the police, there are public appeals, there's press and questions about her fitness to be a patent etc.
She hires a private detective, which gives us more freedom with the sub plots, and this detective is perhaps the one who starts to uncover the truth about her. I like the idea that she's not actually the mother. That in fact she's the abductor in an earlier life, has brought up the child as her own. Today, she is Scottish, I think she is Katie, so Inverness. By making her history that remote, we do open up more scope for the environment. It's broader, more varied.
The story so far...
This is raw, and changing, as I go on, but the essence stays [this is the first time of putting all my notes in one place] Notes are currently in this colour.
For ease of writing I will describe the child as a girl. I've named he /r Sam, as this could be either gender and there is nothing obvious in the text to give away the gender..
The train is one of those old slam door types from the eighties, it's rather warn out, that blue cover, faded through all the sitting, except the occasional one that's had to be replaced and looks out of place with its bright, saturated colours.
We start off out side of the train. The window has rain beads on it, but its no longer raining. The sun is out. There may be a rainbow. We push in through the window.
A 'mother' and child sit next to each other. The mother leans in and whispers pointing (in that subtle way people do when they don't want to be rude) to a man standing.
The child says, “ that's easy“.
He's a business man. She looks again. And contemplates. She whispers, “but he's not doing so well recently, look at his coat, it's a bit warn out, and his shoes have seen better days“. The man hears, looks a little grumpy, and the turns away.
Not wanting to embarrass anyone, the mother directs to another passenger.
The girls contemplates for a moment, pushing [mushing?] her lips together, and then to the side a little. Eventually Sam says
“ he's in love with that woman (points with just hand - arm is close to chest), but he doesn't know how to tell her. He's shy [less adult- phrase but same sentiment: and afraid he has nothing to offer her], but he's wrong. He's nice looking and he's got kind eyes“.
The young man hears this and blushes. The young woman likewise, but makes eye contact with him. He shrugs, and she smiles. He flushes again.
Our focus moves back to Sam. She points to an old woman who is opposite them. It's the mothers turn. With a similar mouth movement to the child, she contemplates for a moment.
“She was a spy. You can tell because she is pretending to be asleep but is actually watching everyone [just maybe her eyes are slightly open] and listening. You see that little gold bird. Nobody wears those [broaches] anymore unless they are microphones“ the little girls giggles, but for a moment the mother and Sam can't take their eyes of the old woman.
There's a slight pause. The old woman doesn't move or react.
A young woman, standing nearby, chips in. “So what about me?“
The girl, delighted that her game has got an audience, smiles. But concentrates for a moment. She looks up and down at this woman, what she's wearing, how she's standing etc.
She's thinks. Knowing that she can't be rude, eventually she says
“I think you are an artist. You choose to wear a coat that's a little too big and a little warn out, while wearing a beautiful dress underneath and lovely shoes. You could have been a model but you're to smart for that, and you watch people. I think you must be a good artist.“
The young woman smiles, but doesn't confirm or deny what the girl has said.
This interaction is interrupted by an announcement over the speakers, that the train will be pulling into the station soon, some other blurb about changing here for bla bla , the girl stops listening, as her mum says “this is our stop“. Our attention has drifted and the announcement is less distinct mimicking Sam's observation.
The girl looks back at the old woman. She really is the only person not starting to shuffle and pick things up.
[The train passes through a short tunnel - its gets dark for a moment and the lights flicker slightly, and the points clatter,wheels squeal/shriek]
She tugs at her mum's sleeve.
“Maybe she's not sleeping. Maybe she's dead“.
The mum looks over. Not sure either way tries desperately to think of a distraction in case Sam is right.
At this moment the train starts to slow rapidly. It must be a trainee driver as it's not a smooth stop. All the standing passengers struggle to keep their feet.
She gestures to Sam to look at the young man and woman. They have moved closer together and are deep in conversation. The woman pushes a bit of hair back behind her ear and smiles.
Sam smiles back to the mum.
“ come on you, pick up all your stuff, we've got to go as well. Mandy will be waiting for us “.
Pretty much everyone stands ready to get off. The young man, despite what it says on the notice, has opened the door ready to leave as the train pulls to a stop.
The mum noticed the old woman still hasn't moved and decides she will mention it to the guard if she can, when she gets off.
She looks down to check Sam has everything and the child smiles back at her, a little excited, and a little shy all of a sudden.
Mum says, “it's OK Sam. Mandy is an old friend, she will love you.“
The train has stopped and passengers start to jostle to get off.
Character interaction and emotion.
Train station. Somewhere slightly remote in some way.. maybe out skirts or city, slightly rural.. Its stormy sky but bright sun on station. (Was however thinking about Havant station, platform 2 exit looking towards footbridge.)
Woman getting off of train with child..mother stands at train door, using the height (from the train) to look along platform. The child jumps down onto the platform and mother follows.
Child is about 6 yr old or so - this is not especially important and I can be guided on this. Is probably a girl (Note-to self Swiss Katalina). Has that over confident look. The come on mummy get on with it attitude.
'She' however - Still grabs mums hand as she gets on the platform.
They walk along the platform: Away from footbridge and the exit.. But where the seats and waiting room are.
Mum. She spots her friend who has been waiting for ages on the platform. Mandy is sitting on bench and is looking at all the passengers. She spots her friend a few seconds later . The passenger drops the hand of her child and starts to run towards her friend, who has also abandoned all restraint and starts to also run.
Other passengers scatter out of their paths. Some are annoyed but most melt when they see the joy and emotion on the friends faces.
They come together; spin on the spot with the combined inertia and embrace. One has a hand bag which swings wildly. The friend has a back pack but this has a bit of weight as well.
Another camera this time close in captures the moment.
The camera spins with them for a bit. We see the joy and friendly kiss of women. Camera still tracks, but starts to slow before them. [its important that the audience are slightly disorientated]. In the distance we hear a child cry out 'mummy' [possibly - this could mean that the adult was Sam's mum or might mean something else]. Camera shifts from close lens to wider shot. The focus changes ..
The camera finds the unfolding drama as we see the child being carried off: roughly, by a dark coated character. It is never clear what gender this person is.
The child. She is looking back over the shoulder and bats against her assailant.
Cuts back to mother. Close up on face as realisation of what is occurring starts to take over.
The assailant has reached the exit. Its an old style, thigh high turn stile but with ticket slot. They shift the weight of the child in order to get ticket in the slot while pushing against the stile.
Mother starts to shout and run;
her friend Mandy, forgotten and we see over 'mums' shoulder as we follow her, as her child leaves the station in the arms of an unknown person and is gone.
Mandy. A suggestion of a smile on her lips is caught just before she regains control and starts to shout in distress with her friend. Starts to run to catch up.
The sun has been over taken by the storm clouds again. There is no rainbow.
Character notes: The child, gender should be undecided. Its not important. The look and feel of the character is more important- We can call them Sam as this will make it easier to talk about, and sometimes in conservation it will be a girl and sometimes a boy.
This confusion I hope will become part of scene three, and continue throughout, exploring notions of identity in modern society but in non explicit notions within the narrative.
This photo is inspiration for the child 'look' (as it stands)
The adult in not necessarily the mother. Its presumed by the audience but should never actually be confirmed, or at least not until it becomes necessary in the narrative as this develops.
A business man- see text for more visual cues.
Another two character'
The young man and woman. Woman has hair long enough to be tucked behind her ear. He's 'nice looking' and blushes a lot.
The old Woman, basic rigging etc. as no movement from her, at this time - its possible she will come back later.
A young woman - check text for more description- she must be able to talk and smile.
We have not yet met Mandy, as she is in Scene two.
Mandy is of a similar age to the 'mother', she is mobile and has a back pack. This character must be able to talk and pull facial expressions.
Some average built, dark coated character - Could be any gender, and race, its not clear - we don't see this from our stance - There is a hat, and scarf, and long coat. Its been raining so this is not especially out of place.
The following is a much rougher, loose outline of the overall story ark, and ideas relating to this. As such this will be adjusted, changed and updated as we move forward.
Pinch Point [or IN and OUT:]
The first abduction [above] of the child is the springboard for the overall story. Like us the detectives gradually uncover pieces of the overall story, but each separate part is a mini narrative in its own right. We follow the detective but also some of the perps and some of the victims.
Each act of the story is animated in a different style (or could be) and has its own sub story- like Entrance and Exit, we get a glimpse into the life of each of the players. The same main detective character and forensic character appear in most of the bridging narratives. Like them, the audience starts to get it. This could be like Animatrix except it results in one story when all strung together.
In Entrance and Exit, the initial consequence of the abduction causes a temporary but never the less serious disruption to train services into London. The station gets closed and the train is held for forensics. This line feeds both Waterloo and Victoria so effectively blocking off the South coast trains into London for the afternoon but with knock on effect for days due to displacement of rolling stock.
There could be, revealed at some point, another incident on the same day affecting the trains...
There is no demand from the perp\s. The child has simply disappeared. CCTV was not working on the station (thunderstorm caused an overload in the camera system, maybe) and the passenger/ forensics leads to either no suspects or hundreds.. (depending on your perspective).
Days later, new evidence comes to light. A passenger elsewhere on the train had been creating a time lapse video as the train went on its journey. Due to the delay of the train this captured a series of shots in the station during the abduction and afterwards. It took the photographer days to put this together once he had returned from his holiday and this explains the delay in this evidence being discovered - this might reveal something about the perp -maybe they have a distinctive tattoo on the back of their neck and this in turn becomes clear is a military tattoo. [No longer sure I like this, it's a bit 'Bosch' or even 'Girl with the dragon tattoo'].
A second abduction (or incident) follows the day after and initially isn't linked. (This is possibly going to change.. It could be some other kind of crime or incident.. It might happen on the same day..). Either way whatever happens causes even more chaos to travel into and out of London. I am thinking this could be: A massive pile up - caused it would appear to start with, by a petrol tankers tyre blowing out, the heart attack of the driver being brought on by this and the subsequent fire ball that engulfs the road and the bridge going over the scene (which could be road or rail) - m25 and m40 (or m1 at Witch Hill Wood which also has railway line near by- could be made up, not important) both affected in both directions. The pile up is massive, due to the unexpected and rapid nature of the disaster. Its been raining again. Eventually it will get revealed that this event is manufactured - very cleverly uncovered by the police at the scene - explosive used to detonate the tyre and the tox screen run on the driver both take time to find and the two events (this & the abduction) are not connected by the relative authorities. This time they are helped out by a police forensic scientist at the scene having a former military background in explosives. She becomes a key member of our detective team due and is also the person that identifies the tattoo [if the tattoo is included].
NEED crash reference:
NEED Sabotage reference - as act of war or for ecological (economical) reasons
A tube train disaster - maybe this time its a flood and not a fire.. OR maybe
Another train runs into the back of a different one - station also has underground - all affected.
An outbreak of deadly disease within London - Ebola? ITs topical.. (At time of writing)
A plane crash over London finally hits the financial district.- maybe that would be a bit obvious and a bit ‘24’, or even 9/11- but this of course could be the reason? Would get more press, cause more confusion, cause more inconvenience.
The overall story is about the disruption and not each individual act. Each target was random. The perps had been told where and when, and to pick a vulnerable and attractive child or totally ordinary truck driver... in order to get the most publicity. This is a raid on the Financial Center. This is about banking in London. Its money and power. Its about destabilising the country.
Our hero detective gets a break in the case and becomes the lead. This is after one of the forensic techs opens the ticket machine on the first abduction and finds the perps fingerprints. Could be our same one from before, now on the case, has this idea - after seeing the timelapse footage.
Bit about the lead detective. As per normal he/she needs to be ‘flawed’ in some way. I thought it could make an interesting character to have them be male and gay and as a result drinker/risk taker with buried past of long term abuse in childhood [Currenlty I'm rather unsure about this - not having any personal experience to call upon this might be hard to write - not sound authentic].. Not sure if any of this would come out in any of the animations but would be back story as to why he acts the way he does - especially around children.. - OR he/she could have Parkinsons or some other long term health issue with medication that affects mood and concentration - maybe just Arthritis - as this might give animators more interest and be easier to write.
I started to put this website together and talked with Rich Milbourne about the story, and ideas. At that moment I had lost this document section.
We talked about the train, the gum on the seat. He said about avoiding such a seat, thinking the gum was wet, so a seat could be untouched in scene one.
The detective is going to be hard to pin down. Someone suggested it was too obvious; maybe.
So this has apparently been playing on my mind. I think there's scope here.
31St May 2017
I started to think about how the woman might have been able to bring up the child, without raising suspicion. Clearly, this needs to be at least slightly plausible. I thought that perhaps, she moved into a relatively remote area, such as North England/Cumbria, or rural Scotland - That in doing so, she tells the school a tail of how the parents had been killed, and Sam's sister as well - This could be via a well known (fictional) disaster/attack. This way there would be less probing, both of the mother, but more importantly the child.
I've realised there may be another issue here: How will I tell collaborators of updates and adjustments?
Pinch point: John Cole's story
The truck driver.
John Cole, is rather typical truck driver. A bit over weight, slightly awkward in company, and just a little bit strong opinionated. (He might be from an ethnic minority? This could be interesting?)
We meet John in the pub, it’s late and dark outside. He's enjoying a good pint, not his first, and another packet of Smiths crisps.
He's in the corner watching the TV, there's a quiz show (?) Or news report on. It's a Sony Trinitron, 18", good picture. Something causes him to speak up, comment on what's on the screen, to nobody in particular. He gets no response, but is used to this.
Scene two. We see John leave the pub, staggers a little, makes way back to the truck stop. climbs up into his truck, without changing clothes, gets up into the bunk, falls rapidly into sleep. (Outside we see the outline of someone in a car, suggestion here is that they are watching John.) There are no other cars, it's a truck stop after all. Perhaps it's a Volvo 740/760 or , PEUGEOT 504, as this has a distinctive shape etc. Maybe it has a roof rack? Maybe there are bikes on the roof.
Scene three. Day breaks (perhaps it's 4 am and his Casio watch wakes him), and John has a schedule to keep. He uses the facilities to wash quickly and then goes back to his truck. Checks where he's going and his route ) maybe, although he's already on his way, somewhere a long way from London to require the night stop) He's done this trip before ( it comes out later, that like so many truckers, he knows his favourite route).
It's important that he looks unfit. We see him rubbing his chest, and wincing slightly, the suggestion of heart murmur. He's not bothered shaving, be can do that later. Maybe.
He doesn't bother checking his truck. He's supposed to, but then, he did that before he started this journey. We can see, as he pulls away, that's some of the side panel has been opened, not resecured and the panel flaps slightly.
The same Volvo pulls out of the stop, following John towards London (could be that we see the sign post). Perhaps this driver checks his map for us. This map has a area circled in red. It's a place where the road travels under a rail track.
This story could be intercut with the enter exit section. The suggestion being that Sam and that scenario is taking place on the same train that's traveling towards London, that's in Johns story? This might make it more watchable, even if it's an old trick. It's not the same train.
So what are the implications here for the audience. We have an unfit truck, and driver. It's traveling to London. It's being shadowed. Maybe that map was significant.
I’ve been thinking about this since I wrote it and considering that he could be driving a fuel tanker - A large one has four chambers - Capacity chambers (95%) 13 000 - 7000 - 4200 - 12 000 http://grupadbk.com/autoryzacje/lag/cysterny-paliwowe/
That's a lot of fuel to blow up! However this would need some re-writing of the story - why would he be sleeping, etc.. maybe we make the sequences longer- starts off the evening before in the pub, but sleeps in a b + b, lift to the depot and picks up his truck - drives off. This is where the Volvo picks up on the truck - follows and then causes the accident at the right point and time under the bridge. This would have the right effect, but would take out at least one of the conspirators. Thinking further I wonder if I could also have a Gas Holder as well involved. I looked on Google maps. There is a site where the m4 and m25 come together, near to Heathrow airport. Was this the case in 1985? Might there have been a gas holder near here at the time.. This could be a different event: I noticed that the Oval cricket ground is near to a gas holder, that this is near a train line, and near to what is currently mi6 (not in 85 though) but close to the river thames etc..
I see this storyline being the turning point. It’s a central large event that affects a lot of people - perhaps this is when the security services start to notice that maybe there is a connection. Perhaps there is a leak in a newspaper -frustration creeping in that the agenda hasn’t been considered in the press, or the events linked.. So there is a nudge.