Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A coversation with Simon Eltz

Having previously posted (available here) about the music video for the song Superfan Unknown by Goodrun. It was created by Simon Eltz and I had asked some brief questions regarding the piece. Here is the resulting conversation...

Firstly, What was the inspiration behind the piece?

The name of the song is "superfan unknown". So I thought I can show a variety of charakters, anyone could be a "superfan" of the band. This worked nicely together with an Idea I had of those Childrenbooks, where you can mix Bodyparts together and make funny characters. I wanted to try something similar but with moving characters. Those were the main Ideas I had in the beginning. Then came also some economic thoughts, the good reusability of the walkcycles, how to fill the minutes in an interesting way, but with not too much effort behind.

Was the concept of the video your sole creation or did you have input from the band?

I developed the whole concept and asked from time to time the band if its ok.

The characters move to the same beat, except where there are scenes with multiple characters (where there has been a slight offset). Was this a conscious decision?

Yes, I didn't want them to be too much like Robots, to give it a more natural look.

There is no linear narrative structure in the work, what was the decision behind this?

I like music videos as a field for experimenting, where you can leave some rules behind you. Well, this video is not very experimental, but I was working with visual Ideas (including Ideas about different characters etc..), and not with narrative thoughts. I tried to develop something that is fun or interesting to watch, that could catch the interest for this short amount of time. 

Could you tell me more about the character who hit's his stomach?

There is the hand of the Illustrator that draws all the characters, but he hasn't everything under controll and doesnt always achieve what he wants. Also I was searching for different ways of interacting with the Hand, I wanted to do alway something slightly different. So I had the Idea of complete changing the style of the drawing, after three unsucsessfull attempts of the illustrator to make a motivated young female superfan. I wanted to make a complete different style of character, children's drawing like, with a silly attitude. But.. also a real superfan of the Band. Well the belly hitting is just another visual Idea. In german you can say "timbal" (if its the right word in english) for a huge belly, so he just hits the rhythm on his timbal.. look at the attached image to see which instrument I mean :) By the way, hitting the "timbal"- is some kind of german expression, leo.org translates it with "to paint the town red"

Final Thoughts

I am in the process of completing a rationale for the relationship between audio and narrative that is due to be published on this blog at some point this week. It highlights 3 different stages that can be applied to the synchronisation process. This concept of the video is music led (the third stage) and this is an obvious statement to be making because of the nature of product. The idea that this area can be used as an experimental playing field is not a new one - this was central to the philosophy of the silly symphonies (see Animation Aesthetics by Maureen Furniss). This area can also be used in terms of practical practice and for expressing non-linear narrative structures. 

Although there is a lack of linear narrative the piece is broken down through a series of alternative actions that conceive the creation of different characters. This is needed because for 3 minutes of continuous walking would see the audience switch off, and this action forms the narrative structure that is guided by the music. Simon talks about wanting keeping a natural look and avoiding mechanical movement, and for this to work there has to be a reserved use for how much influence the music has over the actions - in other words by avoiding Micky Mousing! 

I'd like to say thanks for Simon Eltz for taking the time to answer the questions and for having patients through the language barrier. 

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