Saturday 12 September 2015

Mission Dalek...what is it all about then?

Right, well the last post up on here was regards the "Mission:Dalek" film, which I (Ben) didn't explain about in too much detail, due to how relieved I was to have completed and submitted the film for the BBC contest for which it was created.  So having done the film, consider the next few blog posts a DVD Special Features section of sorts. 
The background is that as part of the BBC "Make it Digital" season, they were running a competition to make a short film for the relaunch of Dr Who, editing existing clips to show how the Doctor ended up back in contact with the Daleks whilst on the hunt for Gallifrey.  Being as I'm a massive Dr Who fan, but also somewhat digitally inept, I decided to enter but do motion capture using still photographs, inspired somewhat by the shoot I did a couple of years ago (see above) using a couple of toy Daleks, some Christmas lights, and some odds and ends.

Plotwise, there isn't a lot you can do in 90 seconds; even less in a minute which is what it turned out I would be limited to by the software I would be using.  I wrote a short story version of the plot first, then decided what I wanted to do in the shoot.  I decided to use the 'classic' Dr Who theme known in fan/nerd circles as the "Base Under Siege" trope, which usually sees our eponymous Time Lord, a couple of main characters, and a load of disposable redshirts trapped somewhere being menaced by the baddy of the week.  Only this time I decided the Daleks would be the kind-of goodies, fighting off the baddy humans.  Somewhat leading on from this, and incorporating the need for stop motion, such human characters as would be featuring would be hand drawn, making it look a bit like an animated graphic novel, with the main action being Daleks fighting Tanks (as Daleks are meant to be sort of Tanks themselves, and its not something really seen in the TV shows).  For the sake of animating it, I would be playing to the strenfths of stop-motion and making it look deliberately trippy and jerky, with influences from Amys long-exposure "Light Trails" project thrown in with my traditional miniatures work.
The main characters would be a human soldier interrogating a damaged Special Weapons Dalek, chosen because in the canon of the show, these are meant to be insane Daleks, radiation-mutated to the point where the redevelop emotions and personalities.  I decided this simply to have a model which looked a bit different, and which would offer a bit more dialogue than simply shouting "Exterminate".  Flashbacks would show the battle; humans trying to stop the Daleks transmitting an important message off world, concealing the fact they had discovered Gallifrey, and trying to keep the secret of it away from the humans (who it would emerge had been working for the Doctor all along) in an effort to stop the Time War restarting.

Anyone who has failed to follow the above so far should probably tune out of the next few posts, and wait for business as usual  to resume...  If you're still looking, then the next few posts will chart quite the disastrous and challenging process of making this film... 

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