I'm Wesley, the director PWNED.
Hope you're all having a loverly break. It's certainly been interesting for me. I got sick and then managed to pass it on to my whole family, even my aunt, just in time for Christmas day. So, we opened our presents and then pretty much just sat around sneezing, popping throat lozenges, and coughing. It was adorable.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS 'PWNED?' HOW DO I EVEN PRONOUNCE IT?
It's pronounced "Puh-own-d". Basically the word "owned" but with a p in front. You'd be surprised how many times I've been asked that already...
Now then, here is the first draft of PWNED I submitted for the pitch. It will likely change a tad, but I don't intend to change it too much.
“Who’s ready to get pwned?”
The story begins in a disheveled apartment. The bed is unmade, clothing draped on every surface, half-eaten food and dirty dishes strewn about. The camera then pans across a shelf filled with dozens of trophies, each labeled “Super Mega Fighter World Champion” while the sound of an answering machine plays a message in the background. We here someone saying “Jeff! You haven’t been to work in three days! You better not still be home playing that videogame of yours! If you don’t show up to your shift today you’re FIRED!” Suddenly the camera darts down to a videogame console. A hand appears and slides in the videogame Super Mega Fighter into the console and we here someone say “pssh, what a tool”. The camera then cuts to a grossly overweight, sweaty, greasy nerd.
While the game loads, the nerd flops down on the couch and proceeds to gorge himself on junk food, letting out gross belches. He grabs his controller, twirling it like a cowboy gunslinger. The camera zooms in on his eyes. He smiles, and then utters, “Who’s ready…to get owned?”
The camera cuts to the television screen. Super Mega Fighter has loaded. The nerd picks his favorite character; a beefy manly popular karate character then clicks “find game.” He takes a sip of an energy drink. The game announces in a deep voice, “competitor found!” The camera zooms in on the TV screen.
The camera zooms out and we’re in a different house. We see a little boy sitting in the living room, controller in hand. We hear his mother call from the other room, “Tommy, are you watching your sister?” The little boy rolls his eyes. “Yes mooooooom, she’s right here.” Suddenly a cute little baby girl crawls into view. She sits and watches as the game begins. The two characters fight in the videogame battleground. The little boy unleashes a slew of attacks. The nerd blocks every attack, sighs, and utters “what a noob”. He then unleashes a massive combo that kills the little boy’s character in an instant. The nerd stands up and shouts, “OWNED!” The little boy’s lip quivers, then he bursts into tears and runs away. The baby, completely confused as to what’s just happened, looks at the controller then scoots over. She picks it up and slaps at a button with her chubby baby hand. She chooses a character; a cute little teenage girl in a school uniform. Camera jumps back to the nerd who bursts into laughter. “Seriously? He chose HER? She’s the weakest character in the game!” On the other end, the baby giggles at how cute her character is. The nerd rolls his eyes and utters, “this’ll be another quick game.”
The match begins. The baby starts slapping the buttons and wiggling the joystick, giggling gleefully. The nerd unleashes his super powerful combo and to his astonishment, the baby blocks it. He’s shocked. “Wha-?” He sits forward on the couch and focuses. The baby slaps the buttons and wiggles the joystick, having a wonderful time. Unbeknownst to her, she unleashes explosive combos and incredible attacks that deal damage to the nerd. He’s baffled. He focuses even harder, unleashing every attack he knows. The baby, having no idea what’s going on and just randomly slapping buttons dodges every one, then unleashes her own combos and continues to damage his character. The nerd jumps to his feet, moving closer to the tv in disbelief as he watches his character getting trashed. The baby unleashes a final attack and leaves the nerd with only a sliver of health. The nerd drops to his knees, his eyes watering. “Mercy! Mercy pleeeaaase!” He begs. We hear the game voice utter “FINISH HIM!” The nerd closes his eyes waiting for the final blow. Nothing happens. He opens one eye and sees that the character hasn’t finished him off. He simply stands there. On the other end, the baby has fallen asleep on the controller. We see the mother come in, scoop her up, and turn game off. On the nerd’s end, he sees the competitor leave, thus forfeiting the game. He wipes the tears from his eyes. He sits there stunned. He reaches over to his remote and turns the tv off and it’s like a spell has been lifted. He blinks his eyes a couple of times, then looks at his phone and says “WOAH! I gotta get to work!” He runs out the door as the camera descends on the controller. He’s gotten his life back.
Sooo...the goal for the break was to focus on the three main characters:
Jeff (also known as "The Nerd")
Tommy (the little boy)
and The Baby (who has yet to receive a formal name)
Just to throw this out there so it's...well...out there, regarding artistic style and any specific things pertaining to the characters, I tried to be vague but ended up giving specifics to some people. I talked about how old the characters were with Josh and Alyssa, but at this stage, the blue sky phase, it's all about experimentation. I told Josh I saw the nerd being college-aged, but when I started drawing him I came up with some fun designs where he was older. Probably around his thirties.
SOOO...with that being said, don't feel like you're completely off the mark, that you're totally crazy and/or that you're a failure as an artist because your style and designs are different than anyone else's. As of right now, we're still in blue sky phase, meaning feel free to draw whatever you feel. Don't worry about specific details. Just know that there's a nerd, a little boy, and a baby. Soar like a bird...
WESLEY, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE A STYLE GUIDE?
When we're done with the experimentation phase on the characters, we'll start honing in on the final designs. The style of the finished characters will (hopefully) influence the design of the environments and assets. At that point, I'll put together a very specific and detailed style guide that (again, hopefully) will be useful in the future. It won't be intended to be restrictive, rather help to keep a unified look to the film.
Now comes the question I'd imagine many of you are asking...
I WANT TO DO ART FOR THIS FILM. HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
When school starts, I'm going to appoint a Senior Artist. He'll then be the one to contact. Until then, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, tell me what designs you'd like to do on the film. Now comes the question, "what is there that needs to be done?" There's lots of stuff that needs to be designed. Here's a tentative list:
- Video Game Characters - The video game will be a fighter like Marvel vs Capcom or Street Fighters. We'll need anywhere from 12 to 20 final fighter designs for the video game.
- Jeff's Fighter
- Tommy's Fighter
- Baby's Fighter
- Jeff's Apartment - messy, cluttered
- Room population (random knick-knacks and stuff to fill space)
- Some specific things:
- Posters (movies, video games, rock music featuring the band "Metal Mongers")
- Food (pizza boxes, candy bar wrappers, energy drinks, chips and other THINGS A NERD WOULD EAT!)
- Dirty clothes strewn about
- Video game trophies and awards he's won
- Various video game boxes
- Video game magazines strewn about
- Gameboxstation (the video game system)
- Jeff's arcade stick controller
- Layout of the room (how is the furniture arranged?)
- The Childrens' House - clean, warm, inviting
- Room population
- Cute decorative things on shelves
- Family Photos? (maybe or maybe not...we'll see)
- Floor rug
- A clock on the wall
- Video game controller (more like a standard Xbox or Playstation controller than an arcade stick)
- Layout of the room
THINGS TO NOTE IF YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED ON THE ART TEAM:
- If you'd like to work on the film, I'm not going to make you do an art test or show me your portfolio to prove your worthiness. Just do good work. The better your designs, the greater the chance of them getting into the film and stronger your portfolio will be. REMEMBER that the painful truth about being a concept artist is that sometimes your designs don't make it into the film even though they're awesome. It's not personal, it just happens. If your designs don't get used and you think they should be, don't through a fit. Please.
- Remember what this is all about. If you do good work, you'll have something for your demo reel. Take pride in your work. Don't submit anything that you don't feel is your best. That beings said, don't stress yourself out. If working on the film is too much, feel free to back out. We won't hate you.
- If you're going to work on the film, YOU are accountable to YOURSELF. We will give you assignments and deadlines. It's up to YOU to meet those deadlines and do good work. If you don't, we'll simply find someone else to do your job for you. We won't nag and we won't wait. That being said, we're not mean people. If there's a reason why you're falling a little behind, simply tell us so we know what's going on. The painful thing about BYU is managing your schedule. We feel your pain. Also, sometimes life just sucks, and we DEFINITELY understand that too.
- "GOOD WORK" doesn't mean finished 20 hour digital paintings of every design. Strong clear sketches can be just as good, if not better sometimes.
- This is the most important thing to remember...try to get along. If you're talented and amazing, that's great, but don't put people down or tell someone that they suck when they're clearly trying their best. Group projects are about co-operation and being here, in school, we're all trying to learn what the heck we're doing. If the group environment is too frustrating or too difficult, then quietly back out. Don't be the space slug that crawls up into the ear of the student film, latches onto the brain stem, and drives everyone insane. Please.
WESLEY, THIS IS THE WORLD'S LONGEST POST!
I know, and after this one I'll be done. Let me just say that I'm excited to work with all of you on the art for this film. I've been told that pre-production is the most important part of the film. If we all work hard, we'll have one awesome looking film.
I LOVE YOU,