Thursday, November 08, 2007

MOOT POINT

Back in the 90s I had a crazy idea to try and develop a cartoon strip. Actually I have a personal letter from Lynn Johnstone (For Better Or Worse) who was kind enough to reply to my inquiry. I have a stack of rejection letters from Syndicates who dismissed many of my other ideas for a strip. I never did submit this Moot Point.


My characters were anthropomorphic
Whales,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cetaceans
Sharks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark
Pinnipeds,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinnipeds
and Sirenians.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirenia.

The basic premise was that some guy is marooned on an island known as Moot Point. After months of isolation he begins to lose hope that he will ever be rescued. His fragile grip on reality soon gives way to a fantasy world.


He reconstructs the world that he knew by replacing human stereotypes with the sea creatures that surround his Island prison.

What he finds so distressing is that even in his make-believe realm the same problems arise. The members of the powerful Military-Industrial Complex take advantage of the Everyman and nothing ever changes…it’s the old Plus Ça Change Plus C'est La Même Chose thingamabob.

Anyway I tried to develop the cast by matching (whenever possible) human stereotypes with species from their corner of the world. F
or instance, Eco Boto is an Amazon River Dolphin, whichis an endangered species so she is an Environmentalist.

Her neighbours are the Rasta Manatee, a Jamaican Sprinter who is a Manatee, and Hector Exportador who is a Mexican Industrialist and a Humpback Whale.

You get the idea.

The cast included:

Some
EUROPEANS
Rene Sauce: Artiste (Bottlenose)

Ann Archivist: Punker Poet (Blue Shark)
Sir Sinjin Tsktsk: Judge (Walrus)
Doktor Kopfzerbrechen: Scientist (Hammerhead)
Colonel Natasha Nyetsky: Diplomat/Spy (Beluga)
Thor Eunichornson: Explorer (Narwhal)

NORTH AMERICANS
General Mo B. Duckancover: Military (Sperm Whale)
Fad Tastic: Actor/Surfer (Gray Whale)
Finny Doojour: Celebrity/Brand (Common Dolphin)
Frantch Ice: Rapper/Pro Athlete (Orca)
Krilly Bob Bluechip: Gazillionaire (Blue Whale)
Tewkster: Comedian (Northern Fur Sea Lion)
Herschell Hitmacher: Producer (Tiger Shark)

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICANS
Rasta Manatee: Olympic Sprinter (Manatee)
Eco Boto: Environmentalista (Amazon River Dolphin)
Hector Exportador: Exporter (Humpback Whale)

ASIANS
Bill Yen: Electronics/Real Estate (Bowhead Whale)
Khan Fu Zhing: International Banker (Yangtze River Dolphin)
Guru Vee: Motivational Speaker (Indus River Dolphin)
Bling Ling: Cosmetics (Spinner Dolphin)
Rikki Techie Tavi: Computer Whiz (Ganges River Shark)

AUSTRALIANS
‘Papa’ Ratsy: Reporter @ Shock Newz (Great White Shark)
Donna Wallabingbangaroo: Super Model (Spinner Dolphin)
Drew Bong: Surfer (Dugong)

AFRICANS
Dr. Albo Akimbo: Doctor (Pilot Whale)
Akaei 47 (Zambezi River Shark)

There is a good reason that most cartoonists use Cats and Dogs. Humans are familiar with them. Few people could tell the difference between a Right Whale and a Bowhead. Of course since the advent of a
nimated feature films such as The Little Mermaid, Shark Tale, and Nemo, that this isn’t as much of a problem.

My stumbling block ha
s always been do I soften the sarcasm, and wrap it all up in a bow for children...do I go for adults and disguise it as a Kid’s show like the Simpsons…Or do I just go for it and go for the full Fritz the Cat adult audience or does the whole idea have any merit? I-dunno?

Either way I was overwhelmed by the amount of work involved and to be honest by the spectre of Political Correctness...I wasn't sure that I could avoid being seen as a raving xenophobic racist even though the end product was to expose basic human flaws as a universal problem.

We Humans all want the same things out of life but some of us, regardless of our location or appearance, are prepared to trample over others to get what we want and I just wanted to make fun of how ridiculous we are by holding up a mirror and thinly disguising all of the generic personality types.

About a month ago I considered doing it as a Blogtoon and drawing out panels or maybe even just using the character’s faces as avatars and giving them an ongoing dialogue in a comment section.

meh..

I just wanted them to see the light of day in case I never get another chance. They will probably sit in a drawer beside all of my other goofy ideas for another ten years.

The more things change,the more they stay the same.

What
projects do you have on the backburner?

28 comments:

  1. Hey who knows? maybe someone will pick up your idea for an actual comic strip?

    My projects are nowhere as big as yours -- just a humongous garage sale waiting to happen and maybe...baby #3.

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  2. *requests autographed Rikki Techie Tavi*

    Don't forget us little people when Disney asks for the movie rights.

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  3. what other hidden talents are you going to surprise us with?! These are great they're really fantastic - please send me your autograph at once!

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  4. you're really good.
    i hope one day the big boys will ask you to do a comic strip series. by then with deadlines and all, it might not be fun anymore. but don't we all love torturing ourselves? heh

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  5. Hey HE!

    This is fantastic, seriously fair dinkum... it is a great idea and the characters are brilliant, very clever and funny.

    Would it be possible (brainstorming here) to set up a web site; and/or a blog then, whatever is easiest...called *Moot Point*

    Your stumbling block, my thought is go with your flow, what you feel comes out, the creative stuff should not be interrupted, ie what you write on your blog is absolutely hilarious (if at this point u tell me u never intended any of it to be funny-I will keel over :) )....the animation is brilliant, just go with what feels right in your heart, trust your instincts.

    The characters look really good, would love to see them up and developed and running-go for it!!

    ....and the other thing is how unique the idea is..

    Let them see light of day HE! they are worthy and funny, you can fine tune them and I'm not sure on the technical aspect but you might be able to get them up and mobile on Youtube in animated form and talking?

    A friend and I are in the steady process of developing a children's animated film (cast of dog characters and Ozzy animals set among the Great Barrier Reef) and on ships...fine tuneing the screenplay and are able to get gov't film grants to further develop this idea...it started just with a small cast of characters and the storyline grew from that, music as well...it's so much fun seeing them come to life

    I really think your idea and creation(s) are great, there is nothing more we Ozzies love than taking the piss out of ourselves and the world, and for some reason Canadians seem to have the same wacky sense of humor (say, were you colonised as a convict settlement too?:))

    If developing the lot in one go seems daunting, try a few to begin and build from there...?

    I don't envisage xenophobia, your take on their names and looks are very playful, funny in a non offensive way...as you stated human flaws-in a universal way....what we are all sharing..

    Do it!!

    Pam

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  6. I forgot to say, kids are really pivotal in our decision making process toward our characters and themes and music...I have a team of children from the age of 2 to teenage hood with whom I am able to consult...their contribution about our specifically child targetted theme is invaluable.

    Just forgot to mention that; if it's for kids, include them in this side of production/development as a great sounding board...kids seriously rock. (..and they know so much stuff)... my immaturity level has also been of great benefit too...knew it would come in handy one day :-)

    Pam

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  7. I think your main problem there is the character list. When was the last time you saw a comic/cartoon with more than three or four main characters?! Cut it back, man, minimilism is the way to go!

    As for my own projects on the backburner... there were SO many things I swore I'd do with Aidan gone, because I'd have so much time to myself... I was going to get really fit, and do more conservation work, and start writing again, and do housework every day... instead, I've read an awful lot of books!

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  8. now THAT is an awesome idea! I'd read it, if you blogtooned it. look at their little faces.

    My projects include world domination, the breeding of an evil duck army of doom (leading naturally to world domination), and finishing my internationally-acclaimed (eventually) novel.

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  9. I am writing a book and it is slow going.........

    Did ya pack Bill a Bong?
    How much can a Koala Bear?
    Just then Alice Springs into action.
    Have ya got a Bong? Will a didgery Do?
    I'm not leaving till Gum Leaves.

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  10. This is a cool idea and the drawing is cool too...it doesn't remind me of anything I've seen done but it communicates and it's funny.
    the hammerhead character is a visual keeper. so is the krilly guy, the whale in the business suit. dang, who knew? you can draw! and well!


    my back burner project is *deep breath, pulls bag over head* a graphic novel set in an alternate, steampunk italian renaissance. the reason it's on hold? THE BACKSTORY HAS TAKEN ON A FREAKISH MUTANT LIFE OF ITS OWN and the research is too goddamn interesting. I have banana boxes full of notes, bibliography and sketches that go back 14 years.

    ya happy, coppens? theres my dirty little secret. *snif* yeah. *snif* i'm a research whore. *snif* AND IM NOT ASHAMED!!!!!!!!!!!


    yeah i am *runs*

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  11. As of now....that is the present moment....I am going to make plans to visit Canada and wring your neck with my bare hands!

    Why can't you speak English on my blog?

    *seething with impotent rage*

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  12. Definitely don't leave them sitting in a drawer. You're so talented, so creative, so brilliant, and such a wonderful comminicator of ideas.

    I'm just working up the courage for another exhibit. Don't know when that'll happen, but I'll have to get off my ass and stop allowing my fear of failure to keep me from trying.

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  13. You could put a woolly hat on the French one and make him talk like Jacques Cousteau ...

    Just a thought. (Swims away ...)

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  14. menchie,
    Not as BIG? Making babies is way more fun than drawing cartoon whales.

    mj,
    Disney won't be calling any time soon because I refuse to KILL off all of the protagonist's MOTHERS..
    who are of course verboten in a Disney film..

    Quick think of one lead character who has a Mommy by the end of page six?
    TIMES UP
    A:NONE!

    ziggi,
    Muy other talent is Hmm...
    I can (sort-of) convert Celsius to Farenheit (but I can't do F to C?)and my good-lady-wife says that I am nearly impossible to live with now. Did you know that 20 C is about room temperature?

    Canada converted to le Système International d'Unités
    (whatever the hell that means)in 19frickin'70 so I thought that I had better look into it.

    misti,
    OOh nothing says I Love You like a deadline. As you can tell I am not in any big hurry..especially since the entire Newspaper strip thingamabob (missed that window) is dying and TV and Movies take a few years anyway and that leaves the Blogtoon...what is a sampat gang?

    sienna,
    WOW.
    You are amazing. Now we Canuckistanis and you Auzzies are self effacing orphans with a wicked sense of humour and to answer your question we ARE a penal colony..we are prisoners of a federal system that entraps 8 provinces to do whatever the hell the 2 spoiled brat provinces (aka CANADA)want to do.

    I have lots of kids at my disposal and I do love to bounce things off of their heads..literally.
    Thanks for all of the encouragement you are very kind.

    stace,
    Reading is RESEARCH!!!!
    I read History, Philosophy, Theology, Science & Pornography for about 10 straight years '96-'06 before I started Blogging.

    There are about 50 characters on my Simpsons poster that they can utilize..and in almost every episode they always have: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Apu, Mo, Flanders, Tod & Rod, Burns & Smithers, Lenny & Carl, Rev. Lovejoy, Barney, Krusty, Granpa, Patty & Selma...see what I mean..I think that this depth allowed them to cover so much ground.

    fathorse,
    I read your short story on your other Blog and I concur..
    you must finish your internationally acclaimed novel so that you may begin your plan of world dominion..JK Rowling has a bit of a headstart.

    whitesnake,
    "Yes, we have no bananas
    We have-a no bananas today
    We've string beans, and onions
    Cabashes, and scallions,
    And all sorts of fruit and say
    We have an old fashioned tomato
    A Long Island potato But yes, we have no bananas
    We have no bananas today!"

    first nations,
    That sounds incredibly interesting..and I know that every avenue that you research just opens another door down another alley and that is exactly how and why "Acadamia Nuts" end up spending 35 years researching the type of buttons worn on the cloaks of the Spanish Inquisition..
    which nobody expects...
    their chief weapon is fear..
    and surprise..

    gautami,
    We're sorry,
    this number is no longer in working order..
    please ensure that you have dialed the correct numbers and area code..
    We're sorry,
    this number is no longer in working order..
    please ensure that you have dialed the correct numbers and area code..
    We're sorry,
    this number is no longer in working order..
    please ensure that you have dialed the correct numbers and area code..

    anna,
    Fear of failure indeed. As an Artiste you need to take control of your own destiny and shake the apathetic great unwashed by their scruffy little scrawny necks and say,
    "LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!"

    daphne wayne-bow,
    Exactement!
    and he could insult everyone with such glee
    "Je pense que la robe est trop petite pour vous" and "Je vous aurais bien aide, mais je ne vous aime pas."oooh what fun and even if France or Frantce, however you like to pronounce it, is putting on a charm offensive and trying to prove that they are somehow relevent in the 21st Century they still need to be endlessly taunted and mercilessly ridiculed for the Centuries of haughty snobbery that we have all had to endure..((gasp))
    ...How nice of you to visit.

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  15. Cool! Lots of variety in what you did. I went through a much more limited phase with this, and only in late elementary school. After that my drawings quickly got stylized. I was all dried up at age twelve, go figure.

    Did get a letter from Charles Schultz thanks to my mom writing to him.

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  16. I think it's brilliant but is it mass marketable? As for the taming-of-the-art thing, NEVER water it down for palatability because that's what you get: something watered down!

    BTW this tells me that you've been up to this tomfoolery for a lot longer than you've been blogging, Mr C! Keep up the good work.

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  17. Ok, you was right and I was wrong, nyer :P hehe

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  18. Ok, here's a question I've been meaning to ask someone ever since I discovered Bob Dylan - WHAT is a sting bean? The man's obsessed with them and, seemingly, they are EVERYWHERE.

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  19. You, sir, are a very talented human being. I stand in awe of you. Your mind has always intrigued and amazed me and now I find you have an artistic bent as well.

    I do believe you should bring your comic strip to the world of blogging. It's much needed.


    Warmly,

    Pamela
    www.pamela-troeppl.com

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  20. "Rikkie Techie Tavi", "Drew Bong" "Krilly Bob"...this is great stuff...would have made a great Fantagraphics-style Comix book.

    We could use another Fritz the Cat about now...is Cartoon Network on strike?

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  21. paul,
    I watched a documentary on Shultz last week..it was interesting to discover that the most beloved characters in the history of comics, were the creation of an emotionally unavailable man, who, thanks to baby boom demographics, became the luckiest nerd in history...OK second luckiest...
    I almost forgot about Bill Gates.

    andrea,
    I have a drawer full of different comic ideas and assorted graphics that goes back to the mid 70s (sigh).

    You are right as usual..
    I never wanted to hold my nose and water down the message but I knew enough about Economics and Marketing to understand that you need to offend the least number of people and bamboozle the majority of them to make a (conventional definition) success of it.
    The mindset and tolerance level of our Culture has dramatically shifted South in the last decade. The bar is set quite low so perhaps there is still hope?

    stace,
    It's not easy to admit you were wrong, especially really really way off are you kidding me Come On are you serious wrong,
    I am so proud of you.


    fathorse,
    Not that any of us can understand much of what came out of Robert Zimmerman's mouth... a voice like sand and glue full of marbles, but do you mean

    ..I jumped the STRING BEAN
    I jumped the TV dinner
    I jumped the shot gun..
    hmm?

    pamela,
    hey funny lady how are you? Well at least out here in the Blogosphere I can say anything that I want to (almost) and discuss anything that I want to (almost) and make fun of everything that we waste our lives doing (almost)..
    I almost feel like doing that.

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  22. allan,
    I should have consulted Jeff Albertson (comic book guy on the Simpsons) who would have probably said .."Worst idea ev-ver"..

    Did you know that Jeff translated Lord Of The Rings into Klingon to get his Masters Degree?

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  23. I will find the correct area code. Mark my words..

    *threatening stance*

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  24. ghost standing and reading in awe. Master...u r trully a genius!

    You know me well...and you know i cooked up so many things that didnt pick up.

    Someday I need to get all this done before I die.

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  25. gautami,
    OK I'm tired of running ((pant pant)) what can I do to make amends and for that matter, WHAT exactly did I do this time?

    ghosty,
    Ghosty you are a real IDEA guy and you seem to be quite at home explaining events from far off futuristic worlds...
    I have no doubt that someday I will be watching them on the big screen.

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  26. hhhmmmm... i'd have to say drawing. i've always enjoyed it and keep meaning to start again- but i keep finding other things to do...

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  27. Nerds are taking over!! It's official. Homey - you are once again full of suprises. I knew you were full of something. ;)

    I have ten thousand knitting projects waiting for me to finish them. I'm also expected to write a novel one day. Also, I need to finish my degree.

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  28. (Sometimes I'm busy elsewhere and late coming to the party...)

    A good idea and good to kick around with friends.Everyone can use a sounding board.
    And then, you settle down and do some re-writes.
    Keep killing the cuttlefish!

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