I made a blog. Welcome to it.
I’ve fallen back into some bad habits since moving into the new house and getting my PC back.
I find myself waking up in the afternoon, forgoing breakfast or lunch to lounge around on the internet until dinner, playing casual matchmaking in TF2 for several hours straight, and staying up to talk to compadres in different timezones until the wee hours of the next morning.
This is not conducive to achieving my goals (getting: fit, a job, a car, even a desk) and it’s pretty unhealthy to boot. I should really stop doing it.
FORMATTING: A SHORT POEM
The spacing on this website is absolutely dire.
In the few days between getting my PC set up and getting broadband, I sat down and ended up writing the script for the first two episodes of REDの伝説 時のオカリナ, or ‘REDDO NO DENSETSU: OCARINA OF TIME’. For the unaware, it’s a Source Filmmaker project I’ve been cooking up for some time, crossing over the universes of TEAM FORTRESS 2 and THE LEGEND OF ZELDA in a surreal, serialised half-hour format, like an awful fanfiction given life. Obviously, there’s a long way to go before anything is concrete, since I need to learn to use the software (courtesy of my amigo Yelo) and animate, edit and score the first set of episodes to professional enough a standard before anything like an end product ready for upload becomes apparent, but it is nice to finally have something of substance tied to the product.
Between moving to New Zealand and moving into this house in Lower Hutt, I was staying with my grandma with very little privacy and free time, and largely kept myself sane by watching THE SIMPSONS on my laptop – episodes picked largely at random, between Seasons 3 and 9. Towards the end of January, I ended up watching Seasons 4 and 6 back-to-back, and looking at the scripts I’ve written there’s a definite Simpsons influence there now. Scenes meant to be brief – the Engineer’s tangles with the law, BLU Team’s road trip, RED Team bumbling through the bowels of the Deku Tree – became extended, largely to meet the running time of 30 minutes (24 of which consist the actual episode), and much of the dialogue has this offbeat, benign satirical vibe, which was totally unintended. I think it works well for the story, and keeps more of TF2’s absurdist tone than was retained in the idea’s conception.
If my one-line synopses prove doable within 24 minutes each, and I don’t have to cut any packed episodes in half or merge anemic ones in two, the series will be 107 episodes long, with 7 story arcs of varying length. As you may have guessed from the title, the plot closely follows that of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME, with one major difference: there’s a lot less Link and a lot more mercenary. Merasmus interferes with the RED Engineer’s experiments and sends the whole team to Hyrule to get Soldier out of his hair. Engineer abandons the Gravel Wars in favour of tracking the wizard down to have his teammates brought back, while BLU Team steals the RED Sniper’s camper van and hunts Engineer, who’s brought the intelligence briefcase with him on his little vengeance trip. Meanwhile, RED Team winds up in the Kokiri Forest and walks the tightropes of destiny, lied to by every magical authority around that helping them achieve some heroic feat will hasten the return to Earth; and all the while, the Administrator is sending her best and brightest after Miss Pauling, vanished from her office and believed to have deserted the organisation with half of the Teufort mercs.
Baesd on my experience watching serialised YouTube shows, of the likes of DRAGON BALL Z ABRIDGED, I decided I didn’t want that agonising wait between every episode. To that end – and also to make it feel more like it’s being syndicated on TV – the plan is to write, animate and edit an entire arc’s worth of episodes, then work on the next arc while the completed episodes are being uploaded (every Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm EST). That’s not to say there won’t be gaps – it’s ridiculous to work on the assumption that another dozen episodes can be made upload-ready in the few months the previous episodes are ‘airing’ – but I think gaps between arcs are more tolerable, and maybe more realistic, than periods of radio silence after every single episode that make the audience lose interest and forget where the show got to, and the creator continually screw up the series’ pacing, coherence and tone.
There’s no conventional spoken dialogue as such: the TF2 mercs (both RED Team and their slightly-different BLU counterparts) and Merasmus will use spliced and sentence-mixed voicelines from the game, and everyone else (Pauling, Administrator, everyone from Hyrule) would speak their language (Hylian represented by Finnish, Gerudo by Spanish, Zoran by Latin, Goron by Hebrew, all poorly Google Translated) in Animalese, the “voice” used in Animal Crossing (really just a rapid sequence of individual voiced phonemes), each with their own unique tone. All dialogue will be subtitled, no matter what language, to ensure clarity for the viewer. The language barriers thing is a holdover from the birth of the project, when it was another form of my “realistic subversion of X fantasy conventions” dream which I’ve since largely put to rest. Pyro’s mumbling somehow translates to perfect Hylian, which he can understand himself due to being fluent in Finnish, but the team can’t understand him. Luckily, Soldier’s time spent at Merasmus’ castle has made him a polyglot who can somehow understand every language in Hyrule, though he can’t speak them, so it’s his unreliable interpretation they rely on until they meet someone who can translate both ways.
As for music: tying into another of my excellent life plans, I’ll be putting together a soundtrack by myself, heavy on the violin, harp, piano and funky polyrhythmic snare drum (have to learn the former three first), incorporating motifs from both OCARINA OF TIME and TEAM FORTRESS 2.
It’s a lot of work I’m signing myself up for. But it’s also a hobby in the making; a hobby which I reckon has a fair chance of going some way towards my private island ambitions. People like SFM, they like Zelda, they like TF2, and I’ll be darned if they won’t like my retro flavour of action dramedy and groundbreaking cinematography. But don’t expect anything until the last half of the year at the earliest.
I am also writing a book, very slowly. Having just realised how many details I’ve bored you with regarding RED######## (as I cunningly refer to it in shorthand), I won’t do so regarding THE DETERMINATION OF NETTIE MILLER.
Instead, I’ll tell you all about how WRITINGS FROM ANCIENT EGYPT is an excellent source for getting a handle on the philosophies, ideals and (in contrast) banal realities that catalysed, developed and later justified Ancient Egyptian culture, society, warfare and stability, the latter enforced largely through the strict and far-reaching policy of pharaonic reverence, promoted by the ruling elite and military commanding class through the perceived power of the written word.
THE SAGAS OF ICELANDERS is another superb book if you want insight into pre-modern society, this one focusing on the restless young middle class of Icelandic farmers and their audacious feuds, equal exaltation of pioneers and warriors, and attitudes toward the east (Norway) and the south (Britain), depicted in the 9th to 11th centuries in a collection of prose sagas (essentially proto-novels) from around the 13th to 15th centuries.