Saturday, February 17, 2007

Noir Comedy

A 32 year old finds himself a widower with a 14th month old. Taking time off from work, he and his young son travel in Great Britain. Shortly after crossing into Scotland, they get into a terrible car wreck. He wakes in a hospital alone. He son is placed in the care of distant relatives who live in the area. Rejecting their offers of sanctuary, he and his son travel the rails of Scotland in search of something. They are accompanied by his third cousin, a young metal-head who hopes that the protagonist can teach him how to pick up American women. Their adventures… well, I’m not there yet.

1) Graphic novel- A well done photo shoot, some mining of photo archives online and my own limited abilities as a cartoonist make this a promising option. I especially like the idea of narrating it to go along with the text. I want to hear the protagonist’s voice. I want to see his reflection in the train’s windows too… hmm. Depicting certain things would be easier than others, but this is by far the most exciting idea of the three. Writing speech bubbles to go along with the visuals would be amazing.

2) Movie trailer- This would probably require the most cleverness of the three. A two minute trailer that would require some acting, some mashing up of other movies, and someone who likes doing voiceovers. It would allow me to incorporate a soft soundtrack and hopefully some clever one liners as well. Comedy and atmosphere would need to be stressed.

3) Hypertext- While my abilities manipulating the internet are pretty limited, I think this could be a cool thing. Maybe set up some flash animation to see his path on the trains, click hear to hear his thoughts on this, here’s a picture of his son… lots of text too, I think. If I decide on having the story be very expansive on longwinded, this media provides the most flexibility.


Tom Kealey said...

I like form ideas 1 and 3 best, b/c it uses your storytelling and text abilities best. Either way, b/c it's a travel story, using visual images to accompany, complement, and perhaps contradict the text seems like a must.

As far as the story goes: Is a 14 month old a good character? Perhaps. The heavy-metal cousin seems like a must, just to get dialogue and some humor into the narrative.

What's at stake for the main character? Pushing through grief? Finding the self? I think this needs to be decided, even if the outcome is different than the search.

In any case, I think the traveling really lends itself to both text and image.

Carolyn Penner said...

Hey Chris. I like the idea of doing a graphic novel. This seems like the type of story that could really benefit from having images, both of places and people, such as the metal-head cousin.

I have to agree with Tom in that a 14 month old may not be the most interesting or significant character. Given that most 14 month olds don't talk and may be beginning to walk, you may find yourself limited in regard to what you could do with this character. I think a 2 or 3 year old may give you more to work with since children are much more in touch with the world at these ages.

Do you plan on covering that happens from the accident. For example, what injuries does the 32 year old suffer from the accident? What happens to his son (ie: how are the distant relatives found)? I'm excited to see what other adventures you come up with!

Rebecca Fraimow said...

This idea sounds like it's got a lot of room to play around with all kinds of things - this might be one in which the medium could influence the story in a really cool way, especially if you decide to do hypertext. The 'road-trip'-type story gives a lot of flexibility for incorporating random cool elements as you go along.

I've got to agree with the othe rpeople who said that a 14-month-old might not be the best character, just because interactions are limited . . . young children are fun, but they're even more fun when they're in the phase where they start asking questions about everything. This could allow for a lot of really interesting interactions with the metal-head cousin, as well as some more serious moments.

Either way, this story sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun.

Adam Johnson said...


A heavy-metal/child toting/severe accident/bad weather/Scotland story? Count me in. The 14-month-old issue has been addressed above, as has the fact that this sounds like a cool project. What if the father loses some memory in the accident, including the fact that his wife is dead? That could set up a fascinating/heartbreaking journey as he sets out to find the mother of his son, the woman he loves—all while the reader knows the quest is doomed. Those kinds of quests (ones of deflected goals) always discover something more important and personal. The graphic novel sounds like the way to go—especially since you’ll find lots of great file images of Scotland, such a brooding place anyway. Personally, I love the movie trailer idea the best—those things are true art forms, and they use what’s best in fiction: withholding, suggestion and suspense to sell the story. The movie trailer sounds coolest to me, but I think the graphic novel is more practical.

Allan said...

I kind of like the 14-month year-old. I think the lack of character could be powerful, especially in underscoring the father's loneliness. There could be great tragedy in him turning to his baby for solace, but finding that his son isn't a person yet.

You just told me you hate your idea. Let's talk about it!