In the latter part of 2009 we featured our first ever showcase, looking at Outcast Hero, an exciting feature length animation project from Gemma Bright at Niftihalo Studios. This past week I was fortunate enough to once again speak to Gemma to get the latest update on the film and some exclusive images of the main characters from the film which we’re very happy to bring you here on MMM.
- When we last spoke, you were just starting to collect the final recordings for Outcast Hero from the voice actors involved, what developments have taken place with OH since then?
- What is the next step for OH? Do you have a better idea of when it will be complete now you almost have all final recordings?
The next step is quite a meaty one, it involves composing the movie in sketch animation. This helps determine the poses, expressions and general proportion of the characters, along with the settings they are placed in.
I am currently not sure as to whether I will do the whole movie in this format before tidier black outlines and colour are added, or whether it will be worked on one scene at a time. But as timeframes go, since it is only me working on the animation side of the project, I don’t really have any better idea of when it will be finished.
- You’ve been kind enough to give us some detailed character drawings, could you tell us a bit more about the central characters?
Muxlowe Daemyn is OH’s main focus. He’s a member of a species called Chimerites, which could be best described as little people crossed with dolphins then plants. However, Muxlowe has a unique genetic quirk which enables him to channel internal energy through his paws.
While he’s well-meaning enough, Muxlowe hasn’t really quite grown up yet. As a result, he ends up falling prey to the effects of too much attention after saving his planet from a dangerous creature known as the Oxcerbus.
Adrian Gada is Muxlowe’s best friend, and also a Chimerite. He grew up in the mountainside, quite a distance from civilization, and as a result spent a lot of time exploring his surroundings and reading many books. Adrian has grown up to be quite the scholar and enjoys painting, though besides wisdom on several different species, he bears a few hidden talents of his own…
Marlon Tiombe is something of a tagalong who left the company of his own kind -the Gurrikos- because he was nothing like them, and ended up under Muxlowe and Adrian’s roof with the promise of acting as cleaner. The main flaw with this concept is that Marlon isn’t particularly self-sufficient bar maintaining an excellent state of hygiene and fetching himself snacks to eat in front of the TV.
Vira Sondra is probably the most level-headed and serious character in the main cast. Having grown up in the country, she moves to the city in search of a different way of life, and she certainly finds it. Vira may seem like a tomboy, but in fact she’s quite ladylike – belied only by her talents at self-defense and the Chimerite equivalent of fly fishing.
While not as pivotal a character as the four named above, Reegan Keaton plays an important role as Muxlowe’s mentor. A gruff, hardened member of the Tokajin species, Reegan passes all the things he learned from his combatant culture on to Muxlowe and grows to treat the youth like his own son. Reegan also has a great fondness for projectile weaponry.
- As you’ve been working on OH for some time now, have these characters evolved from what you initially wrote? Is it a big departure from what you had planned?
It has always been my intention to show a major character transition in Muxlowe, but it has become more pronounced over time. The more definite feel to the changes Muxlowe goes through helps the audience to adjust to what happens to him, and at the same time adjust their views of him accordingly.
Adrian developed a rather short fuse later into the movie’s production, which was quite unexpected as I had assumed he would be more the type to grow quiet and withdrawn as a result of what happens. Still, this has made him less of a predictable character while still keeping him likable.
Marlon has become a more exaggerated version of his former self. While initially something of a background character, Marlon’s emotional range is now more pronounced – spanning from cuttingly cynical to obsessive compulsive and panicky. This has given him more visibility in the movie despite having a similar level of involvement.
Initially Reegan was very bitter, detached and jealous which made him quite an unappealing character. I didn’t want the audience to be pushed away from him, since he had valid reasons for his feelings, so over time Reegan became more of a father figure. He had rough edges, but there was a notable signs of him having a softer side. He displayed concern over Muxlowe, even blaming himself for how events had turned out with his apprentice.
The main villain of Outcast Hero was originally too open with regards to their motives. Certain dialogue and expressions were too much of a giveaway and an earlier scene of the movie literally had the villain telling Vira their plans, which I later saw as ridiculous since there was no way a true villain would divulge information that could get them caught.
- Is there anything else you would like to say to people interested in OH, and any way they might be able to help you along?
As much as I would love to ask for animation help, I’m still very wary on doing so – especially since the success of this project depends heavily on consistent input. It would require animators with as much love for the movie as I have, and the ability to replicate its art and motion style.
Therefore, all I can say at this point is ‘Spread the word!’. Visibility makes a whole lot of difference, and the more people who know about “Outcast Hero” -even at this early stage- the better.