Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Birds

Perhaps the most popular characters from The Parkbench are the birds.  These birds have their origin in a comic book I wrote a few years back called "The Story of Three Brothers Who Lose Their Mother at an Early Age and Subsequently Have Difficulties Dealing With Life".  That's pretty much the plot. Here you can see the death of the first brother from the chapter "The First Brother : Whose Traumatic Memories Make Him Victim To a Most Tragic End".

He flies through a clothing line, ends up with a dress over his face, and smacks into a landing jet plane.  Seems like a Stephen Neary film to me. I think I was reading too much Dostoyevsky at the time. These birds appeared again in a little film called "The Rocket".  Here are two of them falling in love from a "Rocket" pencil test.

At this point, the birds were very warm, sympathetic characters.  When they first appeared in The Parkbench, that was still the case... but they were BORING!  I realized they had to be a little less sympathetic, a little less intelligent, because one of them was going to die and it had to be funny.  Well, it turns out the easiest way to make a bird look dumber is to move his eyeballs out to the side (less human, more birdlike).  Oh, and add a big flat head shaped like a hockey puck.

Here is a pencil test of one of these birds standing up after his crash landing.  This was one of the first things I animated after redesigning the film and it really helped set the tone for the whole project.

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