Tuesday, 6 October 2015

There Are No Strings On Me

This year I pitched an idea to University for a short film. It was going to be called 'There Are No Strings On Me', and it was going to be about Ren Kagami from 'Oyako Neburi- Sasou Hitozuma Dakaretai Oyako' who runs away from home after finding out that her mother and childhood friend have been having an affair together... before things get very surreal. It would have taken cues in acting from 'Snow White', the Spongebob Squarepants episode 'SB-129', and a little bit of 'Frozen' as well.

The game, as you've read, was a Japanese erotic game about a guy who screws his mother, his sister, his next door neighbour and her mother. Ren was the next door neighbour/stereotypical childhood friend character.
I deliberately changed Ren's hair colour to skirt around copyright infringement, and I tend to prefer drawing people with black hair anyway.

Yeah, baby, she's worth it!
I wanted to take the story of the game and put a feminist spin on it by having Ren being disgusted by her mother's affair, instead of being turned on like she was supposed to be.
Her personality also changed. Instead of being innocent and yet lusty, Ren was ambitious and hopeful, yet turns bitter and angry after she learns of the affair.

He was the biggest factor in Ren's development, right down to her clarinet playing.
I wanted Ren to be the exact opposite to what anyone expected, completely not how she was programmed, so I thought, "I know! I'll make her a female Squidward! What an outrage that'll be! And it would make sense seeing as she would be a bit bitter after finding out that her mother has been having sex with her childhood friend. And he's the strongest animated character I know, so I'll make her like that!"

I admit to having rushed the drawings in the animatic, but only because my computer was stolen as I was getting around to finishing the first version.
The song that was playing on that day was indeed 'I've Got No Strings'. I decided on the title after watching 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', which was about an AI rebelling against his creator, and who sings the song in a low and ominous tone. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, it never got voted.

This was because my audience was intimidated at the thought of working on the idea that even so much as subverted the very concept of a Japanese erotic game.
I consider myself to be rather squeamish on the subject of sex, and I played the imagery in my animatic pretty safe, but compared to the first and second years I showed my pitch to, I was a Can-Can dancer at the Moulin Rouge!

My idea would have indeed been a feminist story, one of female empowerment against objectification in erotic games. However, it wasn't the kind of feminism my audience was used to. That's why the story about a lesbian warrior princess got voted instead.

This is a sketch of Ren that a first year did as I pitched it. Cute, if a little disturbing. Next to the drawing she wrote, "Too extreme". This meant my idea was too bold and provocative even for a student film. I assumed student films were supposed to push the boundaries of what was acceptable in animation, and that's why I believed in my project so much. As I have learned, my audience were practically Hollywood executives when it came to choosing an idea.
At least the teachers liked it, that's why it got through. And my fellow third years thought my presentation was very good!
Still, that's the price I pay for being different and original. In any case, I'll keep crusading forth and getting my ideas out there.  People need to know that it's not right to objectify women, not in fiction, not even on DeviantArt.
I tried my best to make Ren more than just a sex object and the loss has hit me hard. At least people will remember my pitch, and hopefully not just for how shocking it was.

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