Willard becomes a Real Boy

April 1, 2008

As promised, I have finally completed a paper cutout stop motion animation for my Willard character.  It was a collaborative project between myself and good friend/filmmaker Ryan Murphy, without whom this idea may have never even come into fruition.  It also features my own original music, some of which can be found on my myspace music page

Basic plot summary: a mysterious hand cuts open Willard’s head, chaos ensues as dragons, strange blue balls, devil heads, and obscure shapes spill out uncontrollably, while the clouds behind flicker into different colours against the pink sky.  suddenly Jason pops out, but not a moment passes before himself, Willard, and all inhabitants of this strange world are flooded by massive blue waves, transporting Jason into a dark and lonely undersea abyss. 

Jason successfully avoids a number of odd creatures (including a strange lampfish, long-faced goldfish, and a curiously androgynous ocean floor dweller known simply as Edgar), but meets a bitter end when.. well, you’ll have to find out.

 I want to quickly include that while this was originally inspired by the Hey! Arnold short animation mentioned in a previous post, the youtube community has compared it stylistically to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film and Terry Gilliam‘s animated Monty Python stuff.  Both of which are incredibly awesome.

So go watch it!


The Curious Life…

January 7, 2008

So earlier last year I began work on this character called Willard Nobody. At that time, I was thinking a lot about the antihero. I didn’t really like this romanticized image of the protagonist we see all too often in movies and books and things. Its much more interesting to look at a character and not know what he’s all about.  Why can’t the good guy be ugly, have bad breath or, you know, be a little evil?  I tried to think of physical features that we Americans love to debase and tear apart – a double chin, unsightly cysts, missing teeth, a patchy mustache and sideburns, bad haircut, thick glasses. He would be the subject of ridicule, and bottle up every last bit of abuse with a tightly sealed smile. When it came to his personality, he was everything we value as “good” and “admirable”, but nobody cared or even noticed simply because he didn’t look the part. I also decided I wanted the story to have an element of fantasy, so I gave Willard a sassy pet fairy named Lloyd.

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Many sketches later, trying to conceive of new characters while also getting a better grasp of what my two central characters would look like, I created Jason. Jason was one of those characters based on some stereotype of a kid that everyone knows – kind of lanky, exaggerated bird-like nose, an overbite, and seemingly unable to breath without his mouth open. He was supposed to be in his 20’s, but he was one of those people that just sort of got frozen in time between adolescence and adulthood. He seems nervous and awkward all the time, panicked even when there is no reason to be. Immediately I took a liking to his character, and suddenly all these ideas came to be in terms of his relationship with Willard.

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The ideas in terms of story are still developing, but the following seems to be staying pretty consistent:

1. Willard will lose someone he loves

2. Most of the story will center on the “relationship” between Jason and Willard

My first idea was to make Willard Nobody into a comic book. This continues to be my number one priority in terms of fully realizing my “vision” or whatever the hell you want to call it. I also thought it would be interesting to create some claymated “teasers” as well, something kind of reminiscent of the early claymated Hey! Arnold shorts. The more I consider these ideas the more excited I get about putting them into motion. This is going to be a good year.

So thats my brief explanation of that particular project, for anyone who was curious. I’ll continue to keep you guys posted.