Friday, 14 October 2011

On un-scene stories, far far away

ds106 assignment on Un-scene Stories; writing about a minor character in a movie or TV series before or after the scene in which they appeared.

Going off the given example of Star Wars (and trying to stick to something everyone would have a clue about), let's talk about Episode IV's A New Hope.

Movie: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Scene: These are not the droids you're looking for. After.
Character: The Force-influenced Stormtrooper.

So if you watch the scene you'll notice that it seems only the main "head" stormtrooper was brainwashed by Obi-wan, although the others probably kept quiet because he was the one in charge (evidenced by the guy's brown shoulder pad).

After the scene cuts however, word spreads among the other stormtroopers during break about their commander's strange behaviour.

"Don't you think those folks in the hovercraft were kind of suspicious?" goes one stormtrooper.

"Yea I know right? They had droids and everything!" agrees another. "And don't you think the conversation that old guy had with the commander was a little strange?"

"Definitely. I thought so too. Reminds me of a story I heard from one of the old guys a couple years ago. Spoke of a group of weird monk-people, Jedi I think he called them. Said that they had special powers and stuff. Do things like control your mind."

"Whoa Bob, that's messed up. Could you imagine if that were true? I mean, they could totally abuse that power to do all kinds of stuff! Steal credits, secrets, .."

"Or..get past a security blockade?"

And all the stormtroopers turned silent in an instant...

A week later the former commander of Stormtrooper Unit 13 sat in a dingy, badly-lit cell awaiting personal interrogation by the man known as Lord Vader. He had never seen the man personally himself, not many people do and under normal circumstances he would have been overjoyed at the honour of meeting the Emperor's right-hand man in person. But no, on the contrary he was shaking in his shiny, white boots as he imagined the horrors of what lay in store for himself. This was no courtesy call, it was an interrogation, and according to the stories he had heard of Lord Vader's "interrogations", not many people survive the life-changing experience...

    UPDATE: Original illustration based on a photograph by Gary Sheriston. Illustration inspired by comments below, and made by...
    1. ...first placing a new layer in Photoshop on top of the photograph.
    2. Turned opacity (top of the Layers window) of the drawing layer down to have a translucent effect through to the photo.
    3. "Traced" the main Vader and stormtrooper figures while simplifying their colours and shapes, sort of like the "silhouette" technique here, but just a bit more detailed.
    4. Multiplied the stormtrooper figure to have a crowd.
    5. Added original background (looks complicated but look closer it's just simple shapes) and text to finish.


    1. Nice extension of the scene. I really dig the "Whoa Bob, that's messed up" line.

      This looks like a great assignment idea. Once again, your example has inspired me to try to tackle the challenge.

      Two points on the video embeds:
      1) the first one was blocked by FOX for some reason and I couldn't see it
      2) what is the source of the second one? Did you create it for this assigment?

    2. Thanks for the feedback!
      ① Wow they must've blocked it soon after I stuck it in there. Replaced it with a working (for now?) link.
      ② The second video was not done by me, but came across it while looking around for related videos and thought it fit quite well with what I was planning.

    3. What might be cool is to re-cut the scene when Vader goes to interrogate Leia with a Stormtrooper, or even better add some visuals to this story using some figureines of a Stormtrooper and Vader. This flickr user has made a cottage industry out of telling alternative stories of the life of a stormtrooper, check them out---a few of them are hysterical:

    4. redbaiters: Wow I took a look at the guy's photos and that's some great photography work! Definitely inspirational. For lack of figures and video editing software though, I settled on some artwork (see update in post).

    5. I love the image you came up with from the Sheriston photo. This is impressive. Your description of the process is helpful, though I think it will be years before I'll be able to figure out such techniques.

      Perhaps you would be willing to give a demonstration of some useful photoshop skills and techniques in an upcoming lesson. I'd certainly like to see how you make your magic (unless that information is top secret).

    6. I don't mind at all, although I would be concerned if this gives others in the class the wrong idea that they "have" to use Photoshop.

      Maybe focusing on the bare essentials would be okay..

    7. wow that' totally new story for me. I mean i didn't even think about the the story after they left. I think others notice quickly and can say something like, " Sir, are you sure to let them go? I think they are THE guys."

    8. Yea right? I didn't notice it before either but when looking at scenes individually I think it becomes quite obvious.

      Actually on a similar note if you do a quick YouTube search there're actually a lot of "errors" in movies, even popular ones and while it's interesting/funny to point out the mistakes I think it speaks for the captivating effect of movies that they can (for the most part) make you unaware or forget the errors unless you're actually looking for them