Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published December 13th 2015.
So now that the opera project is over I have time to start focusing on my idea for the final film. During the first year I had a few ideas, but late this summer a new idea came up. Usually I find coming up with stories quite challenging so I surprised myself with this idea that I immediately liked and wanted to make.
So the general story is as follows.
A group of Arctic foxes lives up in the north. As the spring is approaching the snow melts away and the foxes starts changing into their summer coats. As this is happening they discover that the old leader of the group is starting to get slightly transparent on his paws. They inspects it, but can’t figure out what it is or why it’s happening. They decide to just go with it, hoping it won’t spread.
But as time goes by and the season change into summer it does spread over the whole body of the old fox and he is staring to go fully transparent. And the other foxes starts having problems hearing or smelling him. Because of this he is starting to become more and more isolated, he can’t hunt, he can’t interact, he can’t play and he is, not intentionally, left out by the others. The rest of the group is sad and tries to involve him, but the circumstances doesn’t allow so. And as the winter comes back he has disappeared completely.
The group decide to search for him and they eventually find him in the snow, visible again, but dead. The group gathers around him to look at him and then one of the foxes starts to recall memories of the dead fox from when he was alive and share them. The others starts doing the same and in their memories he is not transparent, he is completely visible because they remember the times from when they could still see him. They remember him as the one who taught them to hunt, to gather food, that played with them and took care of the group. And by sharing their memories they create a strong memory together that they use to go on without him.
This is based of a personal experience as my grand father died this summer after years of suffering from Parkinson’s decease. The idea came from the funeral as we had a picture there of my grandfather from before he became ill and someone said; that’s how I remember him. And from then, every memory someone shared was from before he started to change, no one focused on the last difficult years. This captured two things I wanted to make a story around, losing someone and how we remember. I wanted to make a story suitable for children so going transparent became a symbol of someone changing into something you can’t recognise and becoming visible through memories a symbol of remembrance.
I told this story for the first time in our first class with Claire at the start of the year and was told to stick to it because this could be a strong emotional story. And since then all feedback has been very positive. I’ve also told it to some of my family members who instantly liked the story and wanted me to make it into an animation. After the second class with Claire I had even more of the story sorted out and when I told it to the script writers they where impressed with it. So now I have to chose one script writer to help me sort out the last few bits as well as come up with the general look of the movie which would be the focus through the Christmas holidays.
So the characters are going to be a pack of Arctic foxes. I ended up with this animal because I was recommended to choose a Nordic animal since I’m from Norway and work on it from there. Arctic foxes was the best alternative as they don’t have any special patterns and don’t have a body shape that is challenging to draw. They are kind of a mix between cat and dog.
Their environment is also working in my advantage as they live in the Arctic circle so there are no to complicated backgrounds to be drawn. And I could include the northern light as an effect. Which I would love to try and include in the memory sequence.