Did you think I’ve forgotten my 3D animated short movie project? Did you really think I’d forget A ROBOT’S DREAM? Did you really dare to think? Well, I can understand you completely.

It’s been almost one month since I last posted something about my beloved project and almost two months since I really put some thought into the story. Granted, much has been going on: I redesigned this site, had a bunch of real life projects to finish and went south on my personal health level for almost two weeks.

But this doesn’t mean I did nothing at all. While occupied with the other stuff I tried to give the story something “more” (which I gladly keep that vague) and realized that I might have to rework the story structure big time. And the guys working at Pixar helped me to realize that – for which I hate them.

The dreaming robot

Writing a short movie is quite a hard task. It is harder than I expected it to be although I knew from the beginning that there would be some road blocks along the way. Nevertheless it was surprising. On the contrary I wouldn’t want it otherwise.

A ROBOT’s DREAM is, after my other four short movies, the first project in which I really write a script beforehand. Some of you might argue that thinking for months about the structure without writing anything is suicide. Granted. But over time the little fellow and its adventure has grown to me so much that I simply want to treat him (and you) as good as I can. And this means creating a story as good as possible.

Yet, this wish of mine with the aim for a truly touching story brought me many problems. One is complexity and one is sympathy, both of which I learned much about in Pixar’s WALL•E.

The Pixar Wall•E Factor

OK, anyone who didn’t watch this movie up to now should it immediately. Since I am living in the center of Europe and the Disney has this we-don’t-care-about-the-world-and-release-a-movie-many-months-later kind of thinking I watched it just two days ago – in cinema…in a preview. Quite Twilight Zone-esque, isn’t it?

After the movie finished I knew two things:

  1. This movie is awesome (Seriously, who needs an ogre called Shrek when you can have Wall•E? See? Exactly.)
  2. I really have to rethink my story structure or I am screwed

Both points make me wanna kick their asses for doing something so fine because it raises the bar significantly (on the other side, they give me a bunch of great ideas (almost) for free).

As mentioned above, WALL•E showed me my ongoing problem of complexity. In Pixar’s movie a lot is going on, yet, Wall•E himself only wants to do one thing: hold hands with the girl he loves (damn, it is so sweet I could kick their asses for it). It is truly simply but so human and sweet it immediately get me to the second point: sympathy. Come on. You have to have a heart of stone to not root for this little guy.  It is only holding hands but the perfect writing, timing and animation draws us into this.

Both points are present in my current story structure, but still there are many points missing.

The result: change of plans?

In terms of content, A ROBOT’S DREAM, is more simple than WALL•E: one robot in one room. Less is impossible. Yet, in my current design there are a lot of plot points and big changes – way too much for 20 minutes. But for reasons beyond me I stuck with them. WALL•E finally snatched me out of this I-keep-those-elements-even-if-it-kills-me-attitude and I am now trying to toss all unnecessary elements into garbage. It won’t be easy but I hope I will then finally gain the upper hand.

The other thing is sympathy: since the get go on this site I knew that my unnamed robot will be childish and mentally young. It was an important element in the story and also implemented a technical aspect into it (weak A.I. or something like that). So, no big change, heh? Unfortunately, it is not. While the character remains the same, I have to change the characterization of the robot tremendously. Up to now my robot was “simple minded” in his mind but not in his behavior. Wall•E is it on both levels – which makes him sooo cute (damn!!!!).

Although it will be a very risky gamble to go for a similar characterization approach like Pixar I think it is the only way to go. There are not many options left to make something artificial and not talking cute, adorable, and worth rooting for.

Or do you think this approach is too risky?

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