Sunday, September 30, 2007

New story dealie.

I tried to work in as many of the things the group was unanimously deciding on as possible, but I wasn't sure how to handle a couple things, like how the tail was going to behave. It worked as a straight-man character when the ox was still dumb, but with a more serious ox I didn't think that was working too well. I thought of them more like Zazu and Simba this time around, with the ox being more laid back while the tail was nervous and twitchy. Dunno how it worked out, or if the tail is even still necessary in the new story, so I guess that's your guys' call. Either way, here's what I've gotten written up so far.


Open with a pan across the night sky, constellations glittering as the narrator explains that long ago in the time of humanity’s infancy the world was ruled over by the celestial Emperor and his heavenly court. To reward his underlings for their unfaltering loyalty, the Emperor would one day grant them a place in the stars for everyone to see.

Eventually the camera focuses on the Emperor strolling through fields of clouds with the ox, pointing to the sky and explaining to him that he has been such a strong ad trustworthy messenger for all these years, that now he only needs to fulfill one more task to secure his place in the heavens. As he compliments the ox, the Ox maintains a polite-yet-serious disposition, but his tail stands at attention and nods whenever the Emperor says something flattering. The Emperor parts a small hole in the clouds so that he and the Ox can look down to the earth and see all the hungry, impoverished people slowly milling about. He explains that he has decided that the people would be much happier if they were allowed to eat once every three days, and that he is going to lend the ox his immutable godly powers so that he can deliver the message to them. The ox looks worried because he has never been to the Earth before, but the Emperor tells him that he has nothing to worry about and that he’s being given this mission because it’s like his retirement task and it’s so easy that there’s no possible way he could screw it up.

The Ox salutes with his tail and begins to descend the stairs leading to the Earth. As he nears the bottom, the colour scheme becomes more dull and dry-looking. Upon reaching Earth he calls to the villagers and tells them that the Celestial Emperor has sent him, but the villagers weakly scramble in fear, tripping, trying to hide behind dead bushes, ect. The ox is shocked at the sight of this all, and moves to help one of the villagers who fell in the process of trying to get away. He sees that the man is on the verge of passing out from dehydration and frantically looks around for river. The land is completely dead and dry looking, so there are none to be found. In frustration, the ox shakes his fists (hooves?) and is shocked to see a huge wave come crashing past them out of nowhere, carving a river beside the village. The people come out of hiding to see the water and begin cheering for the ox.

While the ox is hamming it up, his tail begins quivering in fear, poking him on the shoulder, and directing his attention to a thunder cloud that has opened to reveal the Emperor looking down at them with a very annoyed expression. The Emperor reminds the ox that he was not told to go around granting miracles all willy-nilly and that he’d better get back on task if he wants his place in the stars. As soon as the Emperor disappears into the clouds again, the ox becomes calm again, but the tail looks very frantic and twitchy, trying to poke the ox back on task. The ox swats him away, saying that for all his years of loyal service to the Emperor, he wouldn’t possibly ever give him more than a slap on the wrist. The tail persists, so the ox concedes and hops from the crowd up on top of an elevated rock.

The Ox puts his arms up and tells the villagers that the Celestial Emperor has sent him to bring the people food! Enough food to eat three!... he looks around at all their hopeful, starving faces... three!... Thunder ominously crashes nearby and the tail puffs up... Three times a day! The people burst out cheering and celebrating as sprouts grow up all over the land and the colour become lush and vibrant. Thunder and lightning crash as the clouds open up again to reveal a very angry Emperor. He tells the ox that there is no place in his Celestial court for disobedient animals who promise his subjects more than he could ever deliver. He says that if the ox likes the people so much, he surely won’t mind staying on Earth and helping them make enough food to have all these meals he’s going around promising in the Emperor’s name.

The Ox looks confused, but them horrified as he sees his magical glow fading. He begins frantically grabbing at his skin,trying to pull up the glow as it drains away. A yoke appears and snaps around his neck, and the scene cuts to black.

When the scene reopens, it is the next day, and the ox is straining to pull a plough through a field. In exhaustion he slumps down in the grass. He picks a blade and looks at it with a bemused expression, as though he’s wondering if it’s really worth all this trouble. He puts it in his mouth and begins to chew, looking as though he’s concentrating on it very intently. Suddenly, a look of surprise spreads across his face. He jumps to his feet, grinning, and takes a big mouthful of grass, chewing sloppily. Completely energized by how delicious the grass is, he forgets that he was ever sad and goes on ploughing the field easily, taking mouthfuls of grass as he pleases.


Anyway, that'll give us something to mill over until we talk to DQ tomorrow.


Jason Gerardus Teeuwissen said...

nice! i think the ox has alot more character in this version.

Stacey Chomiak said...

Hmm, I really do like this treatment, Kelly! Great work.

I would like to make sure though that we all establish what sort of relationship the ox has with the tail, and how they contrast. I think the tail is a really vital part of the whole ox character.

andy Zeng said...

It's great! Kelly, good job! i just want to throw 2 small ideas:
1: If we make the emperor explains to the ox the humans can have food once every 3 days may change the emperor's character. i think the emperor doesn't care about the human is happy or not, he only cares about the worship level. He has the characteristic of boss: care about the result but not the process. Therefore, he should send the ox to the earth right away. and the ox accepts the task happily cause he wants his place in heaven.
2. i think if the ox doesn't know he has the superpower when he lands to the earth and finds out unconsciously might work better. Now it seems the ox sympathizes the human right after he meets them, and uses his superpower to help them immediately. it helps to describe the ox's character but reduce the surprise. my idea is, the ox finds out his superpower first, then sympathizes the human, changed his motivation, and finally uses his power to help the humans.
what do u guys think?

Coelasquid said...

I think it's very important that the Emperor tells the Ox to give the people food once every three days because that's the message that the ox is messing up and gets punished for delivering wrong.

I tried to write it so he find out about the power subconsciously, it just must not have come across right so we'll probably have to rework it. I figured the Emperor would say that he was lending the ox his powers, but the ox wouldn't understand exactly what extent that went to until he accidentally makes the river beside the town.

Though I think having the ox go from loyal to power hungry to sympathetic all in the space of two minutes may just be pushing it too much, to be honest...

Angeline said...

I agree with Kelly, in that loyal-power hungry-sympathetic is a bit much for such a short film.

The only thing I'm not sure about in this treatment is how little time he actually spends delivering the message. I can see why we'd have the Ox use his powers and make a river, since that gives the tail a reason to be jittery about what the emperor is going to think, but I worry that it'll take up too much time, and give us a much longer film to make.