‘Fight’ film development

A character who lives in a gloomy dystopian cityscape travels to a place where he can fight against someone else for reward, but he is completely controlled by other people, who treat the fight like a video game.

What do I want it to be about?

  • It’s about how we treat each other
  • It’s about taking risks (when we are desperate we take more risks)
  • It’s about putting our fate into other people’s hands (being desperate enough to do something dangerous)
  • It’s about the gap in rich and poor, home and abroad (from free to basically enslaved)
  • It’s about human nature, and our relationship with violence (how common it is in our entertainment industry and lives in general)
  • How we are socially engineered in various ways
  • It’s about what it’s like to be removed from reality, and how we make decisions when in that situation. (Anonymity, Deindividuation, and a little bit of Social facilitation/ the audience effect)
A man who lives in a dystopian future is compelled to fight for the chance to escape his unfortunate life. ‘Players’ control the actions of the ‘fighters’ like its a game which is broadcast to an audience.
“The illusion of choice.” (Maybe a better working title.)
  • (Inequality, human nature and our relationship with violence.)

Question: Is our society fair?

Answer: No

(Q: Do we really have control of our own lives?

A: Maybe not.)

(Q: Do we glorify violence in entertainment?

A: Yes)


Act 1: Guy travels from home to fight location.

Act 2: Guy fights against another person.

Act 3: Guy was being controlled by another person remotely in paradise.

So Act 1 is the majority of the film, with act 2 and act 3 being much shorter.


What do I want to do?

Animation Direction (How it will move)

Subtle gesture conveys character emotion.

For the fight scene – in the style of classic arcade video games, limited frames.

Art Direction (How it will look)

Video game influences.

Huge concrete dystopian metropolis’ – staged pieces.

Minimalist character design (more detail in closer shots – less detail further away) 

Heavily stylised – Surrealism, futurism.

Semi-realistic cartoon style.

Cinematic Direction (How you will use the camera)

I want lots of shot variety.

  • POV shots (Show eyelids opening and closing.
  • Distanced ‘god’ view (seeing a cross-section of rooms) – also similar to some video games.
  • A classic side-scrolling video game view.
  • Birds-eye view (again some video games have this).
A little bit of camera dynamism – camera follows character as he travels.
Oblique shots, establishing shots, low angle, close ups, etc…

Skills

2D Animation. Concept. Story crafting, character design and world building. Character animation. Cinematography and editing.

Additional investigations

2D effects.

Hybrid animation, 2d/3d- toonshader.

Storyboard:

deathmatchstoryboard1deathmatchstoryboard2deathmatchstoryboard3deathmatchstoryboard4deathmatchstoryboard5deathmatchstoryboard6

Additional ideas:

  • Advertisement (of the fight ‘game’) – Character could watch it at beginning, to set up the film at the beginning
  • When main character gets his ticket he could get a chip inserted (could be just put into his arm, or into his neck – by a robot arm?)
  • Interior bus shots – and then views out the window
  • The players could be introduced earlier, showing them in contrast to the main character – making you think the main character is going to do that kind of fight, rather than be their pawn.

Design ideas and development:

fight design 1

Using empty black space to help focus the audience on the action – and create a sort of claustrophobic environment – as the character is trapped in his situation, I want to represent that in other ways as well.

I really want the main character to stand out from the background…

fight character design

Quick Elevator lights Test:

https://vimeo.com/237559958

I made this as a quick test to see how it could look with the lighting flickering on and off. To make this i needed to have a few different layers.

  1. The black background
  2. The Elevator background
  3. The character
  4. The light
  5. The characters light

Notes on this background that i made:

  • I think the repetition of the buildings and windows is effective, and creates a feeling of being very small and insignificant.
  • I think the ‘dirt’ and cracks and general destitution looks good and adds to the feeling that this is not a nice place. (Could it do with more?)
  • The grey colour scheme of concrete works really well
  • I’m not sure about the lighting just yet, whether it looks good or how i’ve got it at the moment.
  • Too few objects? The place should look pretty barren, but maybe there could be more trash around the landscape. (Piles of crud?)

Story Development

  • The film opens with an advert. A big brother face with a sickly smile – exposition about fights. (A glowing robotic face)
  • Meet main character in his ‘block’ – watching the advert on a small screen in his dark room
  • He stares blankly at the screen
  • We see him fidgeting and the tv sounds fade out – zoom into his eye
  • Advert shows and explain chance to win a ‘ticket to paradise!’ – see paradise images.
  • Travels to ‘fight club’
  • Interior shot – people wait in line at a ‘fight booth’ – a game, two people go up and enter separate enclosed booths.
  • Different Interior shot looking at door – main character enters.
  • Inside are lots of doors, with ‘vacant’ or ‘occupied’ on them – he goes to a vacant one and [reluctantly – hesitantly] enters.
  • Character in fight booth has vr helmet on and is putting on other gear. (See a view of what they see?)
  • Main character is scanned and then places hands and feet in areas that are marked out. Robot arms zoom out and clasp onto him. Another robot arm comes out and inject him with something. (He’s scared and it looks painful) – [cut to black]
  • Fade in – he is in a spotlight, everything is dark.
  • Another spotlight with another person is across from him
  • ‘PLAYERS ACTIVATE’
  • ‘READY?’
  • ‘FIGHT!’
  • Main character fights his opponent (arcade style, one who is good at fighting, the other is terrible and does some odd moves which are totally ineffective).
  • Intercut with VR players at the end showing they are doing the same moves (One of the VR players stops playing as he is being mercilessly beaten – takes off headset and complains that his controls aren’t working)
  • Reveals audience watching this fight on tv screens. Winner is announced – audience gets to vote ‘LIVE’ or ‘DIE’ – they choose die.
  • Main character (Winner) is given a weapon (sword,knife – not gun basically) to kill the loser with, he is horrified and reluctant – but ultimately has no choice.
  • We cut away before he delivers the killing blow – see the audience faces loving it – cheering.
  • Camera travels past them to the outside – see paradise – it doesn’t look as nice as the pictures.

The advert

Some of the only dialogue in the film. What needs to be said (gist):

  • We need fighters
  • You could be a fighter
  • Fighters get rewards (winners get rewards?)
  • Winners are entered in the chance to win a ticket to paradise
  • So come fight now!

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