The Strange Happening [film process]

The idea for ‘The Strange Happening‘ came out of a chance encounter with a book entitled ‘Out of Africa‘. I received this book free with a newspaper a long time ago. Opening the book one evening I flicked to the section ‘The Immigrant’s Notebook‘ and read the subsection ‘A Strange Happening‘. The short text described a chance encounter with a vast number of exhausted wild dogs in the plains of Africa strolling in front of two stunted onlookers.

That was it. There was not a grand story arch. No romance or violence. A simple but highly unusual encounter. An intervention into the landscape and the lives of others.

Reading ‘Animated Storytelling: Simple Steps for Creating Animation and Motion Graphics‘ I decided to learn methods in structuring narrative (especially unusual stories). I found the steps helpful because once I had finished with one step I could move productively onto the next which gave me confidence that the project was progressing.

My eventual story line (elevator pitch) became this:

“The Strange Happening” [working title] is an adventurous film with three interconnected stories about the past, present and future of the sunken glass city, with an underlying idea about turning a negative into a positive.

Design process

The idea of a sunken glass city sparked a lot of creative responses in my head, but I tried to expand my thinking to metaphoric responses and not solely literal interpretations. It’s been fruitful speaking and collaborating with a friend Peter whose advice has helped to push the film process forward.

Early story boarding and research wall

Concept art

Motion tests