DINOSAURLAND (SHORT FILM)
Rejected by Canada Arts Council Winter 2009
The appearance of Dinosaurs have evolved and matured, stride for stride, with the imaginations of the artists that illustrate them. Over the centuries the evolution of the human consciousness has produced radically different projections of what extinct creatures might have looked like. Dinosaurland will examine how our view of ancient animals has changed and will continue to change, forever.
The film will explore how evolution takes place in art and how it mirrors the evolution of organisms. It will also explore how human perception informs scientific fact, and the blurred line between myth and reality.
Guy Madden + 70’s NFB naturalist lms + BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs + Jan Svankmajer Animation.
Brief Story Summary
While wandering through the frozen ruins of a dinosaur themed amusement park, a artist appreciates depictions of dinosaurs through the ages. He examines Chinese dragons, 3 version of Iguanadon and his own work before coming to the understanding that biology, human consciousness, human culture are evolving in tandem.
Extended Story Summery
We follow the path of a lone artist as he tours a decommissioned Dinosaur theme park in the dead of winter. The park is ruined, littered ageing dinosaur replicas, rotting from neglect. Each of the replicas depict how dinosaurs were imagined by previous generations.
First, the explorer sees a centuries old dragon statue hanging in a tree. The explorer imagines the dragon from a mystic point of view. He see a morphing psychedelic snake, the representation of some ancient energy, more than a esh and blood creature.
Next, the explorer sees a series of Iguanadon ber-glass forms, of the kind made by naturalists over the past two centuries. These three versions of the same animal are radically different. In his mind, the explorer sees the Iguanadon morphing over the ages, as if it’s evolving in timelapse.
The explorer now begins to conceive his own imaginative versions of dinosaurs. Each is endowed with his curious and adventurous spirit. The explorer sketches swirling, jewel encrusted monsters that in the end, look very similar to the mythical dragons from the beginning of the journey.
Finally, at the edge of Lake Ontario, the explorer views a swan swimming among the floating ice. He imagines that the swan de-evolving to a feathered dinosaur, and then back to a swan again. The explorer then re-images swan. He pictures a multi-headed, multi-winged kaleidoscope of biology. To him, it is a possible future both for the bird and for visual experience.
The work will be a mixed media piece. It will combine pixelated live action footage shot in 4k digital stills, stop-motion puppetry and Maya CGI. All footage will have a heavy grain, over-saturated colours and dreamlike feel similar to 70’s cinema. A low frame rate will be used on live action sequences to match that of the stopmotion animation sequences. This will make each of the sequences harmonious with one another.
The dinosaur statues the explorer passes will be created from photographs of scale miniatures, that will later be composted into the scenes via After Effects.
The animation for the “vision” sequences will be a mixed media combination of digital animation in Maya or stopmotion claymation. The two will be combined digitally in After Effects.
The soundtrack will have electronic, ambient, minimalist and punk influences. Audio samples of dinosaur roars, snow crunching and other foly will be sampled and used in the music, similar to the approach of John Cage or Steve Reich. The soundtrack will be composed by Toronto musician, Dean Tzenos. The piece will be musically driven and there will be no dialog.
Approximate running time: 00;04;50. Four minutes, fifty seconds.
Writing, camera work, animation, prop building and editing will be executed by Jesse
Ewles (+2 assistants). Musical score will be composed and preformed by Dean Tzenos.
Exterior; Day; Toronto Island Ferry.
1 [Bearded man in his twenties looks at the passing ice flows as his ferry approaches a frozen Island. Birds oat between the ice sheets. We see the boat approach the entrance gates of an old dinosaur park, covered in snow. The area is bleak, ice-covered and desolate save a giant particle board sign that reads DINOSAURLAND in large red letters.]
Exterior, Snowy Winter Day; Wards Island Park
2 [The explorer stomps through the snow dressed in a parka and huge boots. He drinks from a bottle of whiskey to combat the cold. He passes by a massive statue of a Brachiosaurus. It’s huge neck has split in two like a banana.]
3 [The explorer approaches a grove of trees. Wrapped around the tree is the Chinese dragon statue. It’s marked Zhou Dynasty. As the explorer stares into the mouth of the sculpture he has a vision. The statue’s mouth opens wide. It’s faded paint illuminates.
It’s rows of dragon scales come alive and begin to radiate outward like a sun burst. The explorer snaps out of the vision and marches on ward.]
4 [The explorer passes a huge statue of an Iguanadon. It’s marked BW Hawkins 1842.
The statue is naively sculpted, deformed by both primitive science, and imagination.
Further along, the explorer comes to a second Iguanadon statue 1940’s. It looks like a komodo dragon standing upright like a human. Last in line, is the most modern model of the dinosaur. It resembles the Iguanadon’s depicted in Jurassic Park and the BBC’s documentaries. As the explorer compares the three Iguanadon forms he has a vision.
He imagines the Iguanadon morphing from one version to the next and back again, as if the each interpretation of it is a stage in its evolutionary history. The explorer moves on.]
5 [Down on the beach, the explorer finds mounds of crushed ice washed ashore. Half buried in the ice is a pile of dinosaur bones. He passes them. Further down the coast, the explorer finds two dinosaur action figures lodged in the ice. The figures are painted unrealistically, in silver and white stripes. The explorer chucks and moves on.]
6 [The explorer begins to roll a snow ball. He rolls it from one end of the island to the other until it’s massively large. Once he tires, the explorer climbs up the massive ball and sits on it like a thrown. From out of his side-bag, he reveals a large red book. It’s bound like an encyclopaedia, and is filled with loosely-drawn ink paintings of dinosaurs.
The explorer takes out a red-coloured wax pencil from his bag. He begins to embellish the dinosaurs with red line work, making the images more surreal. He adds extra eyes, horns, spikes to the creatures. He gives their skin ornate markings. As the explorer works, he has a vision. He sees animated versions each dinosaur mutating and becoming embellished. They sprout extra limbs, and their skin becomes ornately decorated like Fabergé Eggs. The explorer closes his book. He moves on.]
7 [The explorer returns to the beach. In the water he spots a swan swimming comfortably between the ice flows. He imagines that the swan de-evolving to a feathered dinosaur, and then back to a swan again. Last, he conceives his own re-imagining of a swan, a multi-headed, multi-winged kaleidoscope of biology. A possible future both for the creature and the explorer’s art.
Cut to Black.