Image by Jessica Rae Gordon
Image by Jessica Rae Gordon

Grand Tuba

Rejected by BravoFact 09 /10/ 2010


A curious city girl with a massive Tuba attempts to join a band of unwelcoming street musicians.  After upsetting four members of the group with her awkward playing, the tuba girl is taught to harmonize by the sympathetic matron of the group.

Script/ Shot list

Setting:  Exterior.  Sun-set.  A fantasy version of a Kensington Market-style apartment block. The apartment block in our story is over grown with plants. Mature trees erupt from the side walk. A car on the street has been converted into a planter. A marsh with bulrushes, frogs, and birds has been built in an alley way.  The apartment block has a merchant stand at it’s base, and housing in it’s upper floors. On the roof, there is a church steeple filled with bells. Also on the roof, is a set of colourful bird houses.

a. [A girl sits in a wagon with an enormous tuba between her legs.  The wagon is being pulled by a large exotic looking bird, who is tied to the front of the wagon by pieces of yarn.  Each time the bird lands to rest, the girl blows her tuba at it to frighten the bird into the air again.]

b. [The girl, the wagon and the bird pull up to a strange apartment block.  Rhythmic musical noises are coming from the block, like the sounds of an orchestra tuning up.]

c. [On the roof of the apartment block an old man claps his hands rhythmically. Above him, a flock of exotic birds fly in patterns. The birds are moving to the rhythm of the claps.]

d. [Back on the ground, the bird tied to the wagon breaks free. Pieces of yarn dangle behind it. The bird joins the other exotic birds on the roof top. The old man appears at the ledge.  He barks at the tuba girl angrily. The girl frowns and hides her face behind her instrument.]

e. [Pulling her wagon herself, the tuba girl approaches a large pine tree growing out of the side walk. A boy sitting in it.  He is playing a fiddle. Girl attempts to get the boy’s attention by playing her tube. She makes no effort follow the tune the boy is fiddling. Irritated by the interruption the boy shakes his tree and drop drops pine cones on the girl. The girl slides her tuba over her body as protection. She walks past the tree. Pine cones bounce off her tuba armor.]

f. [Further down the street, two raccoons sit washing vegetables in a neighborhood pond. The raccoons have jingle bells tied to their feet. Girl with tuba bumps into two raccoons accidentally. She still has her tuba over her head and cannot see. They screech and run off screen. The girl removes the tuba from her body.]

g. [The girl with tuba sees an open store front. The sign reads “SUGAR JUICE”. Inside, a red-headed girl stands making juice.  Empty juice jugs come in one side of store, and full juice jugs zip out the other side on a clothes line.  As she works, the girl taps a tune on her juice jugs with a spoon. The tuba girl approaches and attempts to play along.  As the tuba is raised to her lips, the bell of her tuba bumps into the moving line of juice jugs coming out of the store. Jugs of juice pour into her tuba. As she begins to play, the tuba girl fires juice all over the girl in the stand. Startled, the juice store girl hides under her counter.]

h. [Walking back to the pond, the girl with tuba sees a second girl. She is playing a flute for the raccoons that were frightened off earlier. The raccoons are dancing for her. The raccoon bells are jingling rhythmically. The raccoons see the girl with the Tuba approaching. They snap their teeth and growl at her. Frightened, the girl with the tuba blasts her instrument at the animals. They scamper behind the flute girl. Protesting, the flute girl angrily blasts her flute at the tuba girl. A small spit ball flies out the end of her flute and hits the girl with the tuba.]

i. [Sensing a fight, the girl at the juice stand begins ringing a juice jug like a bell.]

j. [The fiddling boy approaches. He kicks a pine cone in the tuba girl’s direction.  Following him, is the girl from the juice stand. She’s jangling her juice jug. Her clothes are dripping with colourful juice.]

k. [In the sky, the exotic birds begin to circle like vultures.]

l. [The angry crowd gathers around the wagon.]

m. [Surrounded and frighted, the girl with the tuba topples into the pond.  She uses her tuba as a snorkel. The tuba makes tuba sounds as she breathes through it.]

n. [Suddenly, church bells ring out from a tower above. Everyone looks up in surprise.]

o. [From the tower, an elderly woman leaps. She cascades to the ground with a hand-full of bellropes. The elderly woman lands in the crowd. She reaches into the water and pulls the tuba girl out. The tuba girl has sails and pond slime in her hair.  The tuba girl shies away, blushing. Like a mother bear, the elderly woman scoops up Tuba Girl and along with her instrument into her big arms.]
p. [The crowd of angry musicians stare, dumbfounded.]

q. [The elderly woman hoists the tuba girl into the sky. The woman squeezes Tuba girl with a tight hug. A pleasant note rumbles from the tuba. The woman begins hugging the tuba girl repeatedly. A bouncing tuba bass line is created. The woman and tuba Girl strut around, visiting each of the other musicians.]
r. [One by one, the other musicians begin to join in, following the consistent rhythm. The song builds. The fiddling boy and dances a jig. The juice stand girl taps her juice jugs like a xylophone. The pet raccoons begin dancing on their hind legs while the flute girl plays.]

s. [We close with a final shot of the band of musician playing well together. The tuba girl is set down on her feet by the elderly woman, and continues playing perfectly on her own. She smiles wide while puffing her cheeks. The exotic birds zip between the players, flying in geometric patterns. The birds lift the tuba girl and place her back on the wagon.]

t. [Cut to black.]

Musical Concept

Throughout history the Tuba has been relegated to supporting roles in musical compositions. We seek to write a neoclassical score in which the Tuba becomes the featured instrument.

Technical Treatment

We will create a paper-cut animation using puppets and dioramas. The characters and sets will be designed by Toronto illustrator, Jessica Rae Gordon. The paper creations will be photographed in 3K digital and scanned at high resolution. They will then be assembled animated using Auto Desk Maya 2008 and Adobe After Effects CS5. The movement and aesthetic will be similar to Y. Norstien’s ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’.

The film’s score will be influenced by John Cage and Steve Reich and will be highly rhythmic with a seamless blend of foley sound effects. The work will be a silent film. There will be no voice actors, allowing for the film to be played internationally.

Storyboards bellow...