This week: Dead musician comebacks, Star Trek nightmares, schoolyard bullies, is it life, or is it instagram? IdeaGrave is an explicit, long format podcast. Conversations between Toronto indie filmmaker Jesse Yules and his friends, about culture, art and technology. Cohosted by Brendan Black (when he shows up... )
Scarlet Fever | Crash and Burn What they made instead...
After sleeping for one hundred years, a clumsy character sets off on a quest for flight.
We open with a shot of an ancient character who’s been napping against the tree for a hundred years. A flowerbed has grown up around her blanketing her body. She wears a giant wooden head, overgrown with weeds and berries. Finches and other songbirds crawl in and out of her eye sockets and mouth. The scene is bathed in orange light from an afternoon sun.
Suddenly, the Ancient awakens, startling the birds. As she wipes the sleep from her eyes, she dimly sees the birds taking flight. The Ancient finds the sight hypnotic. Still half asleep, she flaps her arms, attempting to follow the birds into the sky, before toppling over into the flower bed. Undeterred, the ancient wobbles to her feet and sets off on a quest for flight.
The Ancient passes passes a pond where she meets a Fisher character, struggling with a fishing rod, a tiny woman with a giant bonnet, her face is obscured by the shadow completely, except for large, brightly glowing eyes. Leveraging the fishing rod with all her might, the Fisher flights to reel-in a large snake-like catch. Seeking to help, the Ancient leaps into the pond and grabs the snake-fish by the tail. After some struggling, she heaves the fish up onto the shore. The Fisher is overjoyed and bounces around celebrating the catch. Grateful, the Fisher suggests the Ancient join her for dinner. An image of a roasting fish appears in a thought bubble over her head as she speaks. The Ancient declines and points to the sky. We see a clearing in the trees and beyond, a cliff face. Circling the rocky plateau are a flock of black crows. The Fisher looks on with dread. Reluctantly, she scoops the snake-fish up and follows the Ancient towards the cliff.
At the summit, the Ancient and the Fisher find a dark figure sitting on a bolder, smoking a pipe. This figure is a skeleton in robes, wearing a headdress of dried fruit and thistles. The Ancient approaches the skeleton and curtsies. The Ancient explains to the Skeleton, that she wishes to fly. She points to the birds in the sky and flaps her arms. The Skeleton smiles and laughs and with a wave of his robes he conjures a hand-glider. Transfixed, the Ancient walks towards the glider before being stopped by the skeleton’s outstretched hand. The Skeleton seeks payment. Eager to help, the Fisher offers the snake-fish. The Skeleton accepts it but seeks further compensation. He points to the Ancients large wooden eyes. The Ancient does not flinch, and with a wave of the Skeleton’s hand, the Ancient’s eyes vanish, leaving two empty holes in her wooden face.
As the song’s climax approaches, the Fisher leads the blinded Ancient towards the flying-machine. Smiling and confident, the Ancient lifts the glider up her shoulders and begins jogging towards the cliff. The Skeleton looks on confidently, puffing smoke from his pipe. The Ancient dashes over the cliff. The glider plummets. Though she is in free-fall, the blinded Ancient is unaware. She smiles broadly, laughing, exhilarated by the wind in her face. She’s in ecstasy. Her black hair, previously disguised by her mask, breaks free and unravels in air. As the song ends we see a wide shot of the glider crash into the forest canopy, throwing up a swarm of sparks and debris.
Mando Diao | Mean Streets What they made instead...
The video will focus on a guerrilla gardener (a person who landscapes ruined cityscapes in secret) as she attempts to navigate the dangers of the Big City while protecting potted plants she’s carrying. Her reactions to various city folk she encounters are expressed through “visions” she has, represented in the video by comic stopmotion animation inspired by Boody Rogers comics.
The video will be shot at a low frame rate to match the comic jitter of the stop motion. The stopmotion “visions” will be a combination of claymation and miniatures.
We open with a shot of a dorky Asian girl with big coke bottle glasses burdened with plants walking through a busy China Town market. This is Sung Yen. She looks at the city scape baking in the summer sun. We cut to a stopmotion animation of a scale model of the city in miniature. A pair of hands descend on the model and dump handfuls of earth on it, then transplant a big geranium in the center.
We next see Sung Yen on board a subway, her plants piled about her. She is seated across from a distraught business man, who’s face is flushed and clammy. He’s looking downward. On his lap lay an open dossier holding a blackberry, various foreclosure notices and a soiled Freedom 55 flier. While staring at him, Sung Yen has a vision of claymation pigs eating money out of a wheel barrow; as it empties the pigs waste away to bone racks.
Standing beside the business man is a lanky, paranoid woman wearing a flu mask. She’s looking at the businessman’s red face and weepy eyes suspiciously. Sung Yen buries her face into her plant. She has a vision of a row of mouths passing a purple cloud of comic germs to one another.
Sung Yen exits the subway. She’s seems to be in a derelict part of town. Soon she comes across an abandoned cement planter box from the 60’s. A homeless man has set up camp beside it. A handwritten sign beside his bed reads “MITCH-VILLE: no soliciting!!!” Stealthily Sung Yen sneaks up to the planter box and fills it with greenery and flowers without waking the man. We cut to a cross-section of a human head; the inside of the skull is filled with dirt and litter. Sung Yen’s hands enter from off screen and flick away the rubbish. A huge deep-coloured bloom fills up the skull.
Next, on a different street, Sung Yen puts a plant on top of a rusted barbecue can. Nearby an Asian punk girl with sleeve tattoos wearing huge headphones sits melting the heads of her Manga dolls with a lighter. Sung Yen has a vision of an action figure version of Johny Apple seed. It seems to be part of an American Hero’s children’s play set she might own.
Later Sung Yen is seen packing earth into empty soda bottles she’s salvaged from a trash heap. She strings them up and them become a hanging garden. While walking down a graffiti-ed alleyway a street hustler approaches her. He looks dopey and unclean.
“Great looking hydrangea.” he says in subtitles.
Their encounter is interrupted by a fat guy with a neck tattoo and a Noam Chomsky t-shirt.
“Buffalo Bill!” the new guys screams as he belts the sleazy guy in the face. Sung Yen scoots away while the two guys fight. She has a vision of two claymation chimpanzees exchanging blows, their faces distorting horribly with each strike.
In the final sequence, Sung Yen climbs a rusty fire escape to the top of an apartment building. It is revealed that she has converted it into a massive green-roof covered in lush foliage. This is her home base. Hidden amongst the plants are smalls shrines containing miniatures seen earlier in the video. Sung Yen sits down in her urban garden and looks out at the city scape.
Cut to black
Aprx Completion: 4 weeks
DVAS | Society What they made instead...
Dir: Jesse Yules & Cameron Tomsett
A proactive, retro video game based on a well-to-do fellow with 4 arms. We follow our hero as he attempts to successfully juggle four mundane tasks at once, to score big points.
We start in bed. A man and woman are sleeping. The scene is colourful and has jagged edges like an 8-bit video game. A bird is merely singing on window-sill of the bedroom. The man wakes up, presses the button on his alarm clock and throws his slipper against the window to frighten off the bird. The words Combo! 200 pts! float up from the clock radio. The man pulls away the covers and gets out of bed revealing he has 4 arms.
We cut to the bathroom. Our hero is in a towel. He is shaving, reading a magazine, brushing his hair, and blow-drying a cat. The words 400 points! Great juggling! float past the screen.
We cut to the kitchen. He is eating ham & eggs, dangling a toy mouse for the cat and collaborating with his wife on the morning cross word. 300 points! A kind-faced mailman passes by the window, wishing “Good morning.” Our hero fires him a triumphant thumbs up with his free hand for a 50 point courtesy bonus.
Cut to the car. The 4-armed man is putting the key in the ignition, talking on his phone, watering the cactus he keeps on his dash board, while adjusting his mirrors…. his wife runs out to give him a kiss. 5-way bonus! 500 pts!
Next he is at work. He is a baker. We see our hero cracking an egg, slicing truffles (secret ingredient), applying frosting to a finished cake, while handing a box with a bow to a customer. 400 points! As the customer exits, our hero quickly holds open the door for a “courtesy bonus” of 50pts, but misses the mixing bowl with his second cracked egg. -100pts. The oven timer goes off. Suddenly the man has oven mits on all 4 hands. He removes 4 cakes from the oven. They are in the shapes of the letters D, V, A, S. 400 pts!
Cut to our hero at a bar with his friends (a fireman, a nurse and a rabbi). Our hero laughs as he pours shots for his friends, throws a dart (perfect bullseye), makes a bet on video gambling machine, and hits a trick shot on the pool table that sinks four balls. Fantastic Combo! 800 pts! Great friendship!
We cut to our hero, on the doorstep of his house, looking drunk. He struggles to find the key hole and drops his hat. -200pts. :( His wife opens the door looking angry and pointing at her watch. Slyly, our hero picks a flower from the yard with his free arm. However, he fails to impress the wife when he delivers the blossom upside down, roots and dirt first. -400 pts. The wife points to the kitchen.
Cut to the kitchen again. The man is washing dishes, giving his wife a massage and applying the dog’s medicated eye-drops. Recovery! 400 pts!
Later on in bed, our hero is watching a movie about squids with an arm around his wife. He also is eating popcorn, adjusting the rabbit ears on the tv and opening a bottle of sleeping pills. 400 pts! Next, our hero notices that a creepy burglar is peeking in the window. Without much effort, the man moves his hand from his wife’s shoulder and pulls a gun from under her pillow. He shoots the burglar. Necessary Force 100pts!
Our hero notices that due to his fine multitasking, his wife now has steam-lines coming off of her and hearts in her eyes. Tossing the gun away, the man strokes his wife’s hair and undoes her blouse. Revealed underneath is a bra with 4 cups. The man gives a quadruple thumbs up to the camera. 400 pts! Nice Dexterity!
Cut to black
Modern Science ~ Look Where You're Walking
The video will focus on a hedgehog rolling around the city, dodging human feet as he gathers supplies for hibernation. Throughout his journey the hedgehog will speak with various humans (including band members), as he collects the apples and biscuits he’ll need to survive the winter.
The piece will feature live action footage with puppeteering.
We open with a point of view shot of a balled-up hedgehog rolling down a city side walk. Pedestrians hop out of it’s path, some narrowly miss stepping on him. The quill-covered ball rolls into a Asian fruit market to the foot of the cashier’s counter. An mid-40’s looking grocery lady looks down at the ball as the hedgehog stands up and reveals himself. The Hedgehog is a cute naturalistic puppet about 2 feet tall.
[dialog appears overlaid in subtitles]
Here for your apples I suppose?
Yeah. If you don’t mind Diane. I will need them to live through the winter.
[Looking tense, the grocery lady passes a bag of small apples down to the Hedgehog. The Hedgehog tosses several gold rings at the clerk’s feet.]
These should cover the cost.
Maybe for the apples. But what about my pain and suffering these last months??
I warned you not to fall in love.
[The Hedgehog turns and rolls out of the store, leaving the Asian woman sobbing.]
The Hedgehog rolls down an alleyway to foot of a homeless man playing a salvaged electronic keyboard. Surrounding the homeless man is a make-shift shelter, constructed from found objects and a big blue tarp. Nearby, there’s a miniature (hedgehog-sized) version of the same shelter.
[dialog appears overlaid in subtitles]
Evening Maxim. Scored some produce. Everything alright?
I feel terrible. You gave me Hoof and Mouth disease, I think.
Uff! Sorry to hear that mate! Couldn’t be helped.
No worries. Maybe they’ll let me stay at the hospital over the winter… Say you best look where your walkin’; the Bike-gypsies were callin’ on you earlier. And they seemed hungry!
As usual! But no bother, I’ve just one errand before I den in.
[the Hedgehog rolls off]
By the way, your rent is due!
As the sun sets, the Hedgehog rolls through a park filled with curious dogs. The dogs swarm the Hedgehog, sniffing it as it rolls around the sandy park stealing loose dog biscuits. A lady dog owner steps into the scurrying Hedgehog’s path and collides with him. She curses, and rubs at several of the Hedgehog’s needles embedded in her ankle.
[dialog appears overlaid in subtitles]
HEDGEHOG (rolling away)
Look where your walkin’!!!
Oh! That Hedgehog is a menace!
[The Hedgehog continues to gather biscuits. Outside the dog park we see a two bicycles pull into frame. Each is cover with strings of coloured LED lights. Lettering on one of the bikes reads “Gypsy Justice”.]
Ah ha! This winter’s haul will be the best ever.
As the Hedgehog exits the dog park he runs full-speed into the bike wheel of one of the gypsies. Gold rings and dog biscuits fly everywhere. A dirty tennis shoe comes into frame and nudges the Hedgehog conscious. We see a hero shot of Kane and Mike from Modern Science dressed in filthy, funky coloured clothes. They slouch confidently, looking down from their LED-covered bikes, frowning at the Hedgehog. Kane picks the drowsy Hedgehog up by the scruff of the neck.
[dialog appears overlaid in subtitles]
At long last, Master Hedgehog, you’re mine.
What terrific pie our mother will make of you!
[Kane drops the Hedgehog into a large cage mounted on the back of his bike and begins to ride off. We close with a zoom in on the Hedgehog as the bikes speed away, glowing in the night.]
Fools. Your mother is no match for my charms.
Cut to black