Post-video-blog: Path of Liam
 
Where to begin. I am part of a Facebook group where (digital) painters and illustrators hone their skills. This group supplies me with a steady stream of concept art which gratefully I use as my computer backgrounds. These paintings are typical concept art of your fantasy adventures: A hero encountering a building or a creature. These paintings inspired me to tell a story about a journey where the main character has a lot of encounters.

THE STORY

Due to the paintings I had the visual story planned out right away. But I needed something to bind the story together, to make the encounters interesting. This is when I came up with the baseline: he wanted to go home. I always felt that 'wanting to go home' is a quite touching motivation. This is what someone wants who is done, tired or had enough and needs to refuel/recharge. To me 'home' has a sort of sacredness to it: a safe haven.
I liked the idea of keeping the viewer in the dark till the end to add tension. The main character (MC) would be travelling home to his family. To give the story a bit more weight I decided that at the end the viewer would find that his family died. It made the story take a dark turn and it is quite the cliche but it fitted nice so I went with it.
The death of his family also introduced a inner struggle in the MC. He could keep running from the pain of his loss or confront his pain by going home. To controbute to this struggle I wanted his encounters to tempt him from his path.
This is where I introduced the other characters. While writing I based them on the seven sins to establish their obvious 'evilness'. The Knight was greed, envy and pride. The Woman was of course lust, gluttony and sloth.
The Being was evil incarnate and tried to persuade the MC to betray his humanity which accounted for the seventh sin: treachery.
What I like about the story is that the MC achieves his goal in the end therefore giving it a good ending from a story perspective, but the weight of the situation remains, especially because the viewer only gets the information to piece it together at the end.

PROJECT

I wanted the audiovisual form to resemble a children's picture book. With big pictures and some text. I tried to add some symbolism with the day and night cycle. The story gets darker but ends light, with a new beginning. I tried to resemble that with the darkening of the coming night and the eventual breaking of dawn.
I struggled a bit with the voice over to be honest. While writing the story got a bit too dramatic. Because of that I was postponing the project. Though I can enjoy a good sad or emotionally heavy story, acting one was something else. In the end I gave myself one weekend for recording to get it over with. I don't think that is the best way to achieve creative brilliance, but it gets the job done. I cringed the entire time during the editing of the voice over but it made me continue the project. And I still wanted to finish it for the sake of learning. (Although I still cringe when I hear certain parts of the recording.)
However it was al worth it because when the recording was done I could do the sound design of the Being. Which I had a lot of fun with. I tried some different techniques. At first I wanted to use some pitch effect like in those G major video's, but this made the Being almost comical. Then I tried to recreate the effect of the singing in the song: I Am Shell I Am Bone by Gazelle twin, but I just couldn't get the effect as good as they did. In the end I went with a minor pitch shift and a reverse re-verb effect and with some distortion. At first the distortion made the Being sound like Star wars' Kylo Ren or a bit like Razor from Dota 2, but in the end I used the effect a bit more subtle.
The subtitles returned again. I like the addition because I can use them both in a functional and a stylistic way. With the subtitles the video feels a lot more like a book, like the Child of Light intro. I also played with the alignment to make it more clear who says what. I thought about putting names on it, but then it looked too much like a video game cut scene. I also changed the font and made the letters white. The big colourful serif letters gave too much of comedic vibe like Cricken and Sovietwomble videos. In the end a story must have a name. Early in writing I decided to call it 'Path of', because a path can be interpreted as a physical or a spiritual journey. The name Liam was one of the first I came up with. It sounded okay, so I went with it. 

I think I could pull the viewer more into the story in by explaining the little things characters do to express emotions. For example: The knight frowned or She curled her hair between her fingers. Instead I let the viewers obverse the story, from a distance. While this is interesting in its own way, it feels more like a scenic synopsis or a treatment (he goes there, he says that). I wanted to tell the story as if it was written in a book. So I want to try that in the future.
Though it will have to wait, because I want to branch of the fantasy and tell some stories from the present day. These will be like anecdotes, like diary pages, in the same style as The wizardtower of Perrimor. I don't think I will make artwork for these. Ill just make a few quick videos with these stories. At the same time I want to start a bigger fantasy project from a fairytale  wrote: The Red Road. For this project I want to approach an illustrator to make the artwork because I want to learn what working with such an artist is like. On the background I'm still writing on The tale of Gael.

I think  talked about everything I wanted to talk about. So if you, dear reader, have any questions feel free to ask! Thanks for reading/watching and stay tuned for the next one!