Sunday, December 11, 2011

Project Development

I've already booked a showing of my Summer Reading Program for 2012: Les Voyages Fantastique. Which got me thinking - I better send out my postcards, libraries seem to be booking the summer pretty early.
And besides getting the postcards out, I'd better write the show.
I'm trying a new creativity technique to develop this show. Recently I read about a thing called a Mood Board.
I am very adamant about consistency in my programs. The music, the stories and the in-between patter, it all needs to follow a consistent theme and flow nicely from one thing to the next. In Les Voyages Fantastique, my idea is to develop several stories, people them with the same characters, and link them all into a single forty-five minute monologue. In as much as I'm taking material from various sources - Andrew Lang, the Grimms, Baron Munchausen and Hollywood; I want a consistent feel through out the entire program.

This is where the mood board comes in. You paste pictures, drawings, colors, textures and ideas, things that develop the look and feel of a project onto a big board. Whenever you start designing an aspect of a project you refer to the mood board for direction. If you need inspiration on your project, refer to the mood board. If you find something that adds to the look and feel of the project, add it to your mood board.
Now, this is a storytelling project, which is a language art, and besides body language and presentation style, there isn't a visual design component - but there is.
I see the stories in my head, and I tell you what I see, and when you hear my words you see the story in your head. I want to portray the story in a specific way, to describe a particular look and feel. Not only does this color the way I tell the stories, but it also steers me in deciding which stories to tell.

I started the board with the flying ship that I drew from Ed Emberley's Big Purple Drawing Book. The ship has a specific look and feel - the colors are purple, gray and black, the textures are reminiscent of a Jim Shore sculpture, the shapes are whimsical and exaggerated, together these items describe a specific kind of story and a specific style of telling.
I chose the name Les Voyages Fantastique with Jules Verne in mind, but I look at what I have and Jules Verne doesn't fit. The project started with the Fool of the World and the Flying Ship and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. With that in minds, coupled with the colors and textures of my flying ship, there is another Frenchman whose work does fit the project - George Millies, so I added his moon to the board.

I've added drawings, textures, colors and pictures to the board, but I've also discarded things: I started to add the "Daring Escape" picture from my King Kong cards, because this is about adventure, but it didn't work. The colors are bold and the action it describes is nail-biting, it simply doesn't work here. Instead I added a picture of a Victorian-era soldier riding a zebra - this definitely fit the feel of the project.

I have six months to write the program, which might seem like  a lot of time, but a project like this could easily get away if not cared for. The mood board is definitely a tool that will inspire me and keep me on a path to a really great show. I already get the sense that it's a tool I will use again.

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