Thesis Story For my thesis I want to revisit and rework a story I created over the summer. It is partially inspired by Greek mythology and the story around Hades and the River of Styx. In Greek culture a person dies they must be given a proper burial and coins must be placed on either their eyes or in their mouth. In some parts of Greece it was a law that the dead must be given a coin when buried. The reason for this is when the person soul is sent to Hades they must give a coin to a ferryman to take them down the river of Styx. If they do not have a coin then they have to wait on the shore of the river for eternity. For my animation I want to make a story revolving around a Limbo world. In my story everyone and everything has to go through Limbo before being sent to heaven or hell but before they pass through they must complete one task. Everyone that passes through must recall how he or she died. For most people it is an easy task but some need help recalling their death. The people that cannot recall how they died end up being stuck in Limbo and are assigned the task of helping people recall their deaths. At some point in the story there are an unusually high number of people showing up in Limbo that cannot recall their death. Limbo starts to fill up beyond capacity because of its limited space. The main character in the story has to get back to the world of the living and figure out how all the people are dying.
Research As part of my expanded research I looked into Greek mythology for inspiration. I found that the story about the Underworld the most fascinating, particularly what happens before people are guided down the river of Styx. Before the dead are sent down the river of Styx they must give one coin to Charon the ferryman. If they do not have a coin (due to an improper burial) then they are left on the river shore to wander as aimless spirits until someone gives their body a proper burial. There is one story from Greek mythology that talks about how one man who asked his wife not to bury him or give him his coin when he died so that he could come back to life. His plan was to stay on the shore of the Styx and convince Hades wife, Persephon, to send him back. He managed to convince Persephon by complaining that his wife had not given him a proper burial and asked if he could be sent back to scold her. He promised her that he would return to the river afterward so Persephon sent him back. He was the only person to ever escape the underworld. http://www.history.com/topics/hades/videos#the-cult-of-hades
Thesis Concept For my thesis project I want to take my skills as an animator and storyteller further and create a solid and compelling animation. My story will be a dark comedy based on the idea of purgatory. I really like how there are different interpretations of what purgatory is in different cultures and I want to create my own version.
Target Audience My target audience for my animation is anyone with a corky sense of humor.
Goal Intent The goal for my thesis project is to create a compelling animation that makes fun of death.
Format/Media My animation will use high contrast vector images and it will be animated primarily using after effects.
Aesthetic Direction The animation is going to have a very high contrast style similar to when there is an explosion or bright light in cartoons. This high contrast style feels “other worldly” which is appropriate for the context of the story.
Concerns My main concern is animating the characters because I’m using a different style for creating them. I’m used to making characters that have basic joints and hinges but for this animation I will need to use the puppet tool.
Precedents My story is partially based on Greek Mythology and the animations Key Lime Pie, Sheeped Away, the Lady and the Reaper, and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty.
Key Lime Pie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auyXxSEpAbo
Sheeped Away http://vimeo.com/28551506
The Lady and the Reaper http://vimeo.com/9985840
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIDv1jJhoxY
Story Limbo The story starts with two frogs dying and their souls ascending upward to the island in the sky called Limbo. The two frogs are directed by a sign to wait on line. There are several other souls in front of them talking to a large crow. When they get to the front of the line the crow, named Red, introduces himself as the manager of Limbo, greets the two souls. He explains that they must recall their deaths before passing onto heaven. He asks the two frogs who they are and how they died. The first frog, Melanie, says she died of a heart attack when she found out her husband had died. Red writes the information on his clipboard and points her to a large ship called the S.S. Heaven. There are several other souls already on the ship. Next to the ship is a clock indicating that the boat leaves in the next 15 min. Red then asks the second frog, named Frank, to recall his death. Frank tells him that he was walking along when a mob of ninja flies descended upon him. He says he tried to fight them off but they overtook him with throwing stars. As soon as Red finishes writing down Frank’s story, the paper on his clipboard catches fire. Red gives Frank a funny look and Melanie looks frustrated with her face in her hand. Red asks Frank how he ACTUALLY died. Frank proceeds to tell him that he died when he was defending his frog kingdom from the fly marauders. He gives a detailed story of how he fought off dozens of flies. He died when a lone fly hit him in the back with an arrow. Red’s notes catch fire again. Melanie is furious with Frank and starts yelling and pointing at the ships departure time (3 min). A new soul then appears and cuts in front of Frank. It’s a large fly that tells Red that he died when Frank choked on him. The fly is directed toward the boat. Frank gives Red a joking smile and Red points him toward the ship. Frank just barley makes it onto the boat and Melanie is relieved. As the ship takes off Frank starts telling the other passengers about his heroic death. His wife gives him a funny look as the ship sails into the sunset. Note: Each time Frank tells Red how he died it goes into a flashback.
Characters in Progress