An 'idea' (Phil & Alan)

Okay, I was getting bogged down with B-Movie, Steampunk and Medusa. It was too much, and so I decided I needed to take something away. So for now, B movies are gone.

So here's something interesting that I found.
A Beth Seelig who is a phsycologist and psychoanalyst, she holds an M.D. and lectures at various Universities. She wrote a journal entitled "The Rape of Medusa in the Temple of Athena: Aspects of Triangulation in the Girl." This journal entry is documented in a book entitled The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. Here is an excerpt.

"The relationship between the Greek goddess Athena and her father Zeus, together with the competitive hostility she displays towards other females, is presented as illustrating some previously neglected aspects of triangular developmental conflicts in the little girl. Literature on 'the Oedipus complex in the female' is reviewed and discussed. The mythological early histories of both Athena and the female monster Medusa are examined for the light they can shed on female developmental vicissitudes and resultant conflicts in both women and men. Unconscious split representations of women as assertive, phallic and dangerous, or alternatively passive, castrated and receptive result in defensive repudiation of the idea that a woman can be both actively assertive and also feminine and sexual. Athena's enraged action of transforming the beautiful young maiden Medusa into a monster as punishment for the 'crime' of having been raped in her temple is discussed as illustrating an outcome of the lack of resolution of the little girl's early triangular conflicts."

So, my idea is to take this theory and turn the whole perception of Medusa on its head. When a person sees Medusa, they believe that what they are looking at is an evil woman. But I want to explore the notion that Medusa was indeed raped by Posidon, which would leave her being very broken and angry. Justifying her actions. So my idea of the story (I have to say, Dan Sperrin was a big help with getting this story going, big thanks to him!) is this:

The scene opens up with Medusa in her laire, sitting in a throne perhaps. Instantly people are thinking "Oh this is Medusa, what evil doings is going to go down now" (of course this is a very crude example! :D)
A bird flies in and lands on her finger, and Medusa looks at the bird which is chirping at her. But soon the bird starts turning to stone in her hand. At this point we see Medusa shed a tear.

I figure the bird would be a dove, as that is actually a symbol if innocence. I think that this would work well.

I really like this idea. I think that Steampunk would still work here, though I really question whether it's needed or not. In this scenario it might just be too distracting.

Any way, tell me what you think please guys. Theres quite a few other concepts in the previous four posts, so any thoughts on those too would be awesome.



tutorphil said...

Hey Jonny,

You're right - lots of ideas - but I'm getting confused. Your blind-spot is design - not story.

Here you have another story in which we have a Medusa character; you appear to be knocking out the B-Movie idea (which, of course, is actually an aesthetic one), you're considering dropping the steam punk (which again is about what your character is going to look like), and now you just have an idea for a fragment of animation - involving a dove...


What is the emphasis of your project proposal, Jon?
Do you want to be marked on your story - or on design? You keep jettisoning all the visual clues that are being given to you to give your design a 'look' that derives from a sense of time, or place, or era, or aesthetic. How does this fourth idea drive the design of your character, I wonder? And why aren't you developing your ideas visually? All this text based stuff is very interesting - but I also believe you're using it to NOT confront the real work of this project - which is DESIGN and DRAWING and INNOVATION.

Don't you see? This is your weak-spot, Jon - and I think you're wasting time. You are hunting for visual information for the design of a character NOT working up a final story fragment to contain a character.



CHARACTER (Medusa) driving STORY.

It's a trap, Jon - get out of it quickly - this is about DRAWING driving DESIGN driving CHARACTER driving MAYA.

I see no evidence that you're truly opening yourself up to the design process; you resist experimentation and you're not being productive. You're making this seem very hard.

I want to see you just posting development drawings from this point on - no excuses.

Sorry to be blunt - but you're not making work and I'm worried.

tutorphil said...

Put much more simply...

DO SOME CHARACTER DESIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jon Stewart said...

The problem is that I can't exactly go ahead and design a character with no narrative for it.

For example, if I go ahead and start designing some steampunk inspired Medusa designs (and I will start working on these) where is the Narrative coming from? What will the end product be from this? I thought it was a case of obtaining a strong narrative and building the design from that.

For some reason, to me, this is pretty hard, and it has to be said that I am pretty confused right about now also.

I'll certainly begin drawing, and you needn't apologise for being blunt. I appreciate bluntness in people, and it helps me to improve.

I know this is a huge weak spot of mine, and if you're sitting there getting worried then you can only imagine what I'm feeling.

tutorphil said...

The point is Jon, is that you have a problem to solve - but you need to solve it through 'doing' as well as thinking: check out 2nd year Zack's current project blog for an example of a student wrestling with design through drawing and refinement etc.

You and I are not disagreeing about the method; yes, you need a narrative to help focus the design to stop it being generic. So, for instance - 'Steam punk' gives you an era and visual library - Victoriana and retro-engineered technology; a 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' sphere; therefore, a narrative that places your Medusa character in the 1800's is an example of the narrative ruling out some design ideas - and ruling in others. It's a point of focus. Again - the 1950's angle - suddenly, you move into a more pastiche-derived language, which means you have to engage with images of 'pulp' sci-fi and a more lurid, technicolour design palette. Do you see? Your actual, prime narrative does not change; it's still about a world in which there is a Medusa-character that needs to fit in that world.

You could decide to put her in Paris and go 'Art Nouveau', you could go 1960s and go all 'Austin Powers/The New Avengers' etc...

I don't understand why you're not enjoying this bit more - this is the creative bit afterall? You seem to be terrified of it! You have to trust me on this - be productive - make work - stop trying to solve this 'in your head'. Solve it on paper. Your assessors will be looking squarely at your design, Jon - and then its execution.

The truth is you're still afraid, Jon - and in a state of paralysis. Shake out your hands and shoulders - get away from the computer, sit by a window with some good daylight, and start drawing - and stop doubting yourself - MAKE WORK.

tutorphil said...

(copied from recent email correspondence).

1) You are NOT being asked to create a gaming concept.
2) You are being asked to DESIGN A CHARACTER for a gaming concept.
3) You can't design a character out of 'thin air.'
4) You need to understand the world of your game (not the gameplay).
5) You need to understand the time/date/place/audience of your gaming concept (this is what we mean by 'narrative')
6) For instance - the game 'Bioshock' - why does Bioshock look like Bioshock? It uses Art Deco/Metropolis etc as visual references for its environment and character design - BUT - it is not a game 'about' Art Deco or 'about' Metropolis.
7) You constantly under-rate the supreme difficulty of designing a good character - it's about constant refinement, 'readability', panache and style: successful character design projects capture the sheer joy of fashioning life from drawings and poses and all the details that go with it. Attention to detail is everything. 'Just a turnaround of a character'? Come on, Jonny - your character is EVERYTHING. DESIGN IS EVERYTHING.
8) Finally - try this for a one working day - design your Medusa character - on paper - using the following components ONLY - KLIMT + ART NOUVEAU. Don't resist it - let the ideas move you somewhere different. Don't go 'yes, but' - just try it - because you need to break the cycle where you're frightened 'not to know' the outcome - when this 'not knowing' is the whole driver for innovation and 'new visions' of familiar archetypes.


About Me

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I am a video game artist at Dovetail games, working on Train Simulator 2014, 2015 and an unannounced title. I also graduated from the CG Arts course at UCA in 2010 with a First Class.