Saturday, 7 December 2013

FMP: Planning

Our final major project is far the most important project we need to do for Game Art course. Although it doesn't start until January, most of us started preparing right after start of the school year. It's good to let the idea develop for some time. Let it grow for a bit. It's like a problem you need to sleep with, sometimes next day will bring new perspective and once a brilliant idea will seem absolutely rubbish in the morning.

I've been baking my idea for a few months now. It wasn't easy at all. Suddenly I didn't even know what I'm interested in. It's this time when you're so self conscious and aware, that you feel like rethinking everything twice.

The only thing I'm really good at is probably day dreaming. I welcome any free time just to lock myself inside my head and come up with stories. You see, I wanted to be a creative writer once. Since I had read so many books why on earth shouldn't I write one? But my stories usually ended up on first chapter because I got bored with them. I realized I'm not really interested in creating stories but living them instead. 

Therefore I chose to build a fairy tale type world for my FMP. It's definitely something I would not get bored of for a long time.

I got back in time to my childhood and found all the stories my mom used to read to me. Although I knew them under different names, mostly because there are so many adaptations. The stories have been circulating among people for centuries. Each country and region has its own version just to give it a different message and suit different audience. I want to go as far back with their originality as possible. I thought about Hans Christian Andersen and his Little Match Girl.

I've heard this story in a semi-original version. It skipped the part where the girl is afraid to go home, when she didn't sell any matches, because her father would beat her up. This is why she chose to spend the night on the street rather than go home and face her father. It was far the saddest story I've heard as a kid although I don't remember caring about it too much. It only hit me recently when I watched Disney/Pixar adaptation. It must have something to do with growing up.

I reached for very classical stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella or Snow White. I even bought a big fat book of Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The edition has annotations alongside every story and now I almost regret ever reading it. I will never look at those tales the same way. Critics have a gift of devastating everything they touch. I understand it's their job, but sometimes I just don't see the point of interpreting fairy tales that are meant for children by a bunch of adults who see world rather differently. The same way writers have to think about million things at once when designing a story. It matters what colour is the girl's cloak; it matters that she played a ball instead of something else. It's all about details. I feel like they encode a message to child subconscious. It's like programming them as a part of their growing up process.

Let's take Red Riding Hood for example. Its origins go back to 10th century France. We are talking about a tale existing and constantly changing for over a millennium. These early variations of the tale differ from the currently known version in several ways. For example, in one of the stories a girl, encountered by a wolf, offers him her clothes, gets into his bed and then is eaten. Sometimes the girl runs away outwitting the wolf. In Grimm's version she and her grandmother are rescued by a huntsman who performs a caesarian section on a wolf. The tale has been seen as a puberty ritual, rebirth and sexual awakening. It also mirrors some elements of Norse myths.

Especially shocking was the interpretation of Snow White as some people see Oedipus complex in it. Basically, a step mother (in some versions a biological mother) tries to get rid of her daughter for she is jealous of how much attention and credit Snow White gets from a magic mirror, which in this case, plays a role of absent father. I suppose I can see that now after it was pointed out. What's shocking is that I didn't expect such an innocent tale changing into something so deep. 

There is a certain variation of Cinderella story (Furrypelts) in which the girl isn't poor at all. She is a princess. Her mother dies and the king, after failing to find a suitable new bride, falls in love and decides to marry his own daughter. The girl then runs away and lives in a puberty but at least as a free woman. After years she meets her prince and he takes her for his wife.

There are many tales that I've never heard of so I suppose there is much to choose from. But instead of actually choosing particular story I thought of connecting all those factors from classic fairy tales and creating a kind of common environment.

I love the thought of building a spooky forest with sunbeams passing through the trees. Although there isn't really much you can do in the forest. I need to break it with something. A second common thing for fairy tales is probably a castle. A forest in the castle? It would be nice to link it with Sleeping Beauty, only twisting the story a little bit, where everyone dies instead of falling asleep and there is a princess coming to rescue the prince. She kisses the skeleton and magically all the muscles and skin begin to grow on on the prince. They get married and live happily ever after. The end.

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