Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thoughts on Animating "Coil Gun."

I'm about one-third or so through writing a screenplay based on my short story "Coil Gun," which was published in September in the third issue of Digital Science Fiction.

In order to transform a 5,000-odd word story into a 90-page (at minimum) screenplay, I'm going to have to expand the events in the story considerably.  This I've done by beginning the screenplay several hours before the story, during the lead-up to the war.

Although this will get me to the proper length and allow for additional characterization, the events depicted would make the necessary budget for the film larger.  Things include space battles in the vein of Battlestar Galactica, the depiction of submarine-launched nuclear attacks, etc.  Anything depicted on a submarine bridge, for example, necessitates an additional set, while the special effects needed to realistically depict WWIII would cost a pretty penny.

However, the thought just occurred to me that this could be donate via animation.  This would be much, much cheaper than doing it live-action, which would require Michael Bay-sized budgets for the action sequences.

The problem is, in the United States at least, animation is generally considered something for kids.  One reason the film Titan A.E. failed despite being an awesome movie is that although it was animated, it was much more adult-oriented--it starts out with the alien destruction of Earth, features the protagonist being subject to racist abuse by other aliens, lots of gun-fights and space battles, an alien getting his neck snapped, and the female lead in a towel answering the door to her cabin and asking the protagonist "in or out?"

However, the more recent Avatar was marketed as an adult science-fiction movie and is now the top-grossing movie on the planet.  Titan A.E.'s failure could be attributed to marketing--if I remember right, it was not marketed as science-fiction for adults but instead a movie for kids.

If "Coil Gun" were adapted into an animated film, I imagine it would be done using Pixar-style 3D animation rather than traditional 2D cel animation.  I much prefer the cel look visually, but apparently The Princess and the Frog (Disney's last big cel-animated project) didn't do as well as Disney expected and that contributed to future Disney projects being digital animation.  Legend of the Guardians did the 3D thing really well, so as  long as it doesn't come out looking like Toy Story or The Clone Wars, great.

And the same rationale can be applied to my earlier project, The Gates of Vasharia.  I've described that one as "Lord of the Rings with tanks" (to say nothing of an extradimensional demonic army), so adapting that one would require a Michael Bay budget as well.  Of course, with animation, it would probably end up with an Avatar-sized budget.


  1. Having it turned into a comic is an option as well.

  2. That's a thought. How would I go about doing that?