Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tal Dev Post Mortem- Captain Hook

(Warning! :  Terrible drawings ahead!)
Starting the program back in October, we met our mentors, and our assignment for the first 3 months was to design our own take on a popular story.  We had a few choices, and 3 of us chose Peter Pan.  
Excited to start , I was initially thinking my twist would be to tell the story from Captain Hook's point of view.  I had just seen Wicked in NYC that summer, was inspired by it, and I thought it'd be cool to tell the story of how Hook came to be the Hook we all knew.   I pitched it as Wicked meets Darth Vader !  Haha, um.    
Playing extremes, what if initially Hook was a public figure who everyone loved?  Someone who swashbuckled pirates and was a celebrity folk hero of sorts?  Like this guy.
Horatio Hornblower.  Great name, or GREATEST NAME?  I don't even know how I found him.
But maybe Hook was insanely decorated and universally celebrated?  Who knows right?
Maybe he was a one-man law enforcement, Robocop style.

Dashing, like the Ryan Gosling of his day.  Or McDreamy.

Saved ALL of the cats in England.

The ladies loved him.

Active in the community.

A role model for all ages.
I had this convoluted backstory, that you don't have to stick around and listen to, but it went something like, Captain Hook eventually falls in love with a fairy named Tinkerbell.  Who unfortunately only had eyes for Peter Pan.  So a rivalry was already-a-brewin!
One day Peter Pan, being the self-centered, 80's movie-arrogant,  mischievous trouble maker, found himself in some serious trouble with the likes of a giant crocodile.  On his ship, Captain Hook came to his aid and saved Peter from danger.  Peter fled without gratitude or returning the favor, (with Tinkerbell on his arm , for some convenient reason) and Hook was left to fend for himself.  The outcome wasn't so good.  Hook ended up losing his arm and a leg, and fell into an even deeper pit of darkness.  He lost his ship, his crew, and the woman he loved.  Damn.  All because of Peter Pan, whom he swore revenge against.  He became more and more obsessed and physically became more wretched and sinister.  Like this messed up dude:
"I'll get you Peter Pan. Hyyuururrrrrm."

I guess it's obvious now why I didn't pursue screenwriting, but I was excited and I went to pitch these ideas to my mentor Bill.  He was, only lukewarm to them, if that. His strongest point was that , while it was a different take on Hook, it still was still in the same ball park as the Hook we all know.  The mustached, Englishy villain.  We've seen that already, it just wasn't different enough.  An art director here told me that if you give audiences something they've seen before, they'll be bored stiff.  Oof, tough but fair.  Bill suggested I go back and keep doing more research, and hold off on the drawing for now.  To just explore ideas that were different.  Does it have to be in England?  Can it be from a different time period?  What if they were modern Somali pirates as an example?  Why was I drawing so soon?  I was in love with the first idea that I had!  

I gotta admit I was stuck, how do you do you own spin on a story that is so iconic and people know so well? Everything has been done right?!  That's where the research comes in.  Taking the time do dig for new ideas and finding out what else is out there.  There were pirates in so many different cultures and time periods. That's when I started to really understand the importance of research, as a means to find something fresh.  This was a important lesson for me and getting shot down was the best thing that could've happened.  

And at some point, someone facebooked this quote that was perfectly timed for me:
"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." 
-Wernher Von Braun.  

So if you're ever in a situation where you feel stuck for ideas,  just go off and do some research, some study, even if you don't have a clear target.  You'll stumble upon one thing, that will lead to another, and that will lead to another.  Keep going until you have something that inspires you.

Note:  "Wicked meets Darth Vader" though.  Great tagline, or GREATEST TAGLINE?


Olivier Ladeuix said...

oh really interesting post Bobby.... this remind me of the Wizard of Oz assignment I had to do in Character Design at Animation Collaborative... I will get back to you on that post..

Olivier Ladeuix said...

and I love your idea of using Wicked to twist the story even if your mentor wasn't too enthusiastic. He is probably right but that's a really cool idea. Wicked is awesome.

thndrcat said...

LOVE the idea of Capn Hook having been a good guy- THAT I find interesting, even if the end half ends up being trite & already done.
This is interesting tho. Cool stuff!

Wendell Dalit said...

Your drawings are great! They really go well with your backstory for hook, but I'm sure you'll think of something even better haha.

eré said...

Maybe it's not the perfect chose for a visual development exercise, but I'm sure it could be a success in broadway! This post is amazing, and I'll be studying by your blog to start my visual development exercises. Thanks.

Bobby Pontillas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobby Pontillas said...

Thats awesome Ere I'm glad it could be of some use! Thanks everyone! I hope this helps get a clearer idea of what something like the training program entails!

Unknown said...

This is a cool take on Hook. I love the change in the character as he moved from a beloved hero to the hate filled, murderous pirate.

Taylor Clutter said...

Awesome insight! Love the storytelling sketches

Anonymous said...

These are some very interesting takes! I think all of them work depending on what personality you're looking for. :)

Jeff Epp said...

Hi Bobby,

Great work on PP both before and after. Just curious, how you feel about these, given the other two choices, are you glad you picked Peter Pan? What other choices were there?



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This is cool!

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