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.
The story so far...
These first two scenes are now pretty finished, but the rest is slightly less refined or decided upon. The order of scene may change but the content unless otherwise stated, should stay the same. [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.
In order to remove the confusion, I have hidden now unsolved plot elements and new written pieces until these go toward production.
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.