Saturday, 31 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Heidi Clairemont (31/1/2015)

And continuing from the past few weeks, I offer your dear viewers yet another expanded profile. This time, for one of the programme´s key supporting players: Dan´s superior and head of ´The Bureau´, Heidi Clairemont.

Age: 40
Gender: Female.
Species: Fox, Orange.
Description: The woman in charge of the Bureau and former field agent/companion of Dan (More on that as the series progresses). Despite her matter of fact exterior and usual intolerance of Dan´s slick routine as ´unprofessional´and ´reckless´, she still harbours feelings for Dan with whom she had had many fond, even very personal, memories.When he begins to remember, she is forced into an uncomfortable position, and has to revisit ´the day when it all changed´. But is she strong enough to let the wounds of the past heal?

Conception:While seemingly just another take on the ´M´style secret agent boss, gradually, Heidi becomes more and more the emotional core of the show, and her relationship with Dan ends up having a huge influence on how the rest of the series plays out. As I´ve mentioned before, despite all the action and monsters, Very Strange Things is, at its core, a show about relationships, with the related choices and consequence, both of which she and Dan have to face up to. Despite her age, she still has a very youthful quality, both personality wise as well as mentally, and there exist people out there, well into senior years, who have never fully faced up to past fears and doubts, which in turn gives the parents watching the show with their children something to chew on a little closer to them.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Risa Velton (24/1/2015)

And continuing from last time, we take a look at another expanded profile. This time, for the show´s second main character and Dan´s primary companion, Risa Velton.

Age: 22
Gender: Female.
Species: Fox, Yellow.
Description: Assistant to ´Very Strange Things´´ protagonist, Risa is herself a former member of Britain’s secret services for several years, the more regular ilk to be precise, and distinguished herself there. She´s no rookie or damsel, and is very spirited and feisty, willing to get to the bottom of the newest case even if she may not as first be on strong terms with Dan. Of course, this drive is partly brought on by a less than tender past with her own family that gradually comes to light as she must also aid Dan in his own internal struggle as the First Series progresses. What happens after the revelation truly tests their bond as she must adapt to what he truly is, and how she can cope with that.

Conception: Naturally, I wanted to make a duo to lead the show, otherwise it would be both awkward and cumbersome to have Dan constantly meet and interact with a new ´partner´ every episode. However, I was also weary and wary of a lot of the ´girl helper´tropes out there, and strove to have Risa not be a cardboard cutout, and to have some of her own legs and depth to stand on and make her a worthwhile presence. Plus, I didn´t want to cut female viewers out (daughters, sisters, mothers) and give them a strong female character to get behind, and the younger could look up to

Saturday, 17 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Expanded Character Profile: Dan Clancy (17/1/2015)

So, when progress on the recording and submissions is a tad on the slow side for my manic tastes, I decided to expand on an earlier element discussed in past posts. I decided to do some expanded character bios and conception for the core cast of the series, and who better to open with then, well, the main man, Dan Clancy.

Age: 30
Gender: Male.
Species: Fox, Green.
Description: ´Very Strange Things´´ protagonist, Dan is a self-styled, energetic and spirited man of action, fancying himself the ‘coolest guy in the room’ type. Sporting a wide brim hat and a flowing leather coat, he is clearly a hero cut from mold of Eastwood, but with a bit more in way of spark to be expected from a cartoon action star. Underneath his cockiness, though, lies a strong and deep concern for those around him, and an intense desire to see right be done, whatever it takes. And in his line of work, combating the incredible and the impossible, that´s not always the easiest of tasks.

He has served the ´Bureau´ for a good decade, an enigmatic division of the British government that is charged with investigating phenomena. Unlike however, your standard paranormal organization however, it is very much a one man show, and Dan sees no issue with that, despite having partners forced onto him from other branches of the Secret Service. However, all this hides a dark and disturbing secret that even Dan himself is not aware of, and one that will permanently change the dynamic between him, Risa and Heidi as it forces him to re-evaluate who he is and what he stands for, and comes to terms with a tragic event that made him the man he is now.

Conception: Naturally, what´s a good mystery show, especially aimed at children, without a charismatic lead? In this case, I wanted a strong and fun figure for the children to enjoy and get behind, assured that no matter how bad things are, Dan will ultimately triumph. However, I also wanted to give him more depth and a little more of an edge than your typical animated hero, and with a backstory whose full ramifications are the foundation of the show. I really wanted to give him a humanity and vulnerability you often don´t see from your typical catch phrase spouting main character in this type of series, and thus make him stick more with the audience as they grow.

In him, to loosely paraphrase Doc Savage creator Lester Dent, I combined the looks of a classic Western/pulp hero, the passionate drive of heroes like The Doctor, and the goodness of classic children´s icons like Willy Fog or Scrooge McDuck, who though they may not show it at first, ultimately will do the right thing in the end, and see to it that those around them get the best outcome possible.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Audio Update & Submission history (10/1/2015)

First off, not much new on the audio front. Keith is nearly finished with the radio-centric version, and we are waiting to hear back from a few people to determine when we can get to rehearsing.

And now, onto today´s little write up: submission history. This is easily one of the simplest yet also most frustrating aspects of being a first time writer. Sure, there´s the thrill of submitting your pilot to a big professional production company or competition, as many a success story has touted, and being accepted with open arms. Naturally, the reality is less glamorous: rejections, polite no thank yous, and then just straight up never hearing another word again. Ever. At All.

It´s easy to paint these individuals as the villains, but really, can you blame them for being so stringent? They get hundreds if not thousands of submissions every day, so that´s a lot of work for the poor old secretaries and clerks to have to sift through to find anything from a newcomer, if they even allow it in the first place. And well, let´s be frank: not everyone is destined to be the next Miyazaki or Lasseter, now are they?

So, how have my own efforts gone? So far, I´ve submitted the pilot, as I´ve briefly mentioned before, in an earlier form (The Black Bells) to the BBC Writersroom when they had a work opportunity for Children´s Television. The current version (The Town of Miracles) has been submitted to the Red Planet Prize, Stage 32 Happy Writers, and early discussions, purely about submission requirements, have been emailed to the likes of Cosgrove Hall (most famous for Dangermouse), Absolutely Cuckoo, Slurpy Studios and Qudos Animations.

Furthermore, thanks to a contact on the audio team, I have also sent off a complete package to another Children´s Animation production company this past Tuesday. I cannot disclose who they are right now, but they have had a hand in a number of beloved childrens´programming over the past decade, and I feel my creations would be in good hands with them. So right now, fingers crossed and break a few legs!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

'Very Strange Things' - Happy New Year and MAJOR recording update (3/1/2015)

First off, wishing all those who´ve read and supported this blog so far a very, very joyous New Year of success and triumph in whatever your own endeavors may be. So, onto business then:

For the past two weeks, I´ve kept you updated on the progress of the Demo Cast Recording of the pilot script, which my collaborator Keith Matthews is now adapting for the audio format. Well, it was today revealed to me that he had engaged the aid of Camden Community Radio to help record the pilot using their equipment. The two had had enjoyed past successes with Keith´s own radio comedy show, S.O.S., some years prior. Right now, recording is projected for sometime in February.

Here´s their website for your curiosity:

This is simply tremendous, having professional facilities and backing to stage the first performance of Town of Miracles. I am incredibly excited for this opportunity, as it may also entail an actual broadcasting of the episode, and if not, I will have a very high quality recording with which I can build an animatic of the episode, as well as have something substantial to present in future business conducts and presentations. I cannot thank Keith or the good people over at Camden Community Radio enough for this, and I eagerly await it!

Not bad for just being three days into the New Year, eh?