The original idea for "Otherlands" started life in the form of a game concept. At the end of Madness Returns we saw Alice walking out of the train station and into the streets of London - except that London was married with Wonderland - Alice's powers of imagination had become literal and the world was transformed into "Londerland." This ending hints at a story in which Alice's mental "tools" extend beyond the borders of her own mind and into our reality. By this extension, Alice is able to not only shape the world with her imagination but also cross our cranial boundaries and enter our Wonderlands.
I'm still working to define the rules that constrain Alice's abilities. Must she, like Mr. Spock, touch her subjects in order to enter their minds (the Wonderland mind-meld)? Or are her abilities telepathic and unlimited by range and sight? One thought I had was to impose a physical requirement (she has to touch you) paired with a telepathic network effect. It's "6-Degrees of Bacon Brain." If she wants to enter the mind of the Queen (of England) she doesn't have to touch the Queen (heaven forbid!) but could access her "network" by touching the Queen's cook.
Anyway, that's the setup - still a work in progress.
The question for today - how does all this impact the animations? What's Alice doing?
Should we worry about the rules of engagement? Do we need to provide a narrative setup for every mind Alice enters?
Do all the animations require a narrative arc?
I think we should chuck all these questions out the window. They get in the way and they limit the fun. Ultimately, what I'm looking for here - and I hope you are too - is a series of animations presented in purest, most visually satisfying form. I don't need to see Alice putting the Vulcan mind meld on Edison (though I admit that would be fun). And I don't care if some of the animations are structureless, LSD-inspired visual trips. What I think would be fun is a collection of sojourns of the psyche - mental meanderings. Leave the rules for the game!
For those of you old enough to remember… Pink Floyd The Wall would be a great example of what I think we could end up with. Another touchstone might be Heavy Metal. These were films I used to watch with purpose one day (usually while smoking something other than cigarettes) - and other times just leave them silently running in the background. They were art one day, experiences another. I hope Otherlands ends up being something similar.
Let There Be Music
Chris Vrenna, has asked me to let you know that he's super excited to contribute music to Otherlands. For those unfamiliar with Chris, he’s known for his work with such notable bands as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Tweaker and on video games from Doom 3 and Quake 4 to American McGee’s Alice (you can hear the soundtrack here). Chris is one of those rare musicians who can stride both sides of the aisle between performance and composition. And he does it well.
Let There Be Dance
Perhaps we'll pair him up with Ed Goin, the guy who created all those awesome 2D-motion graphic animations for Madness Returns? Ed has also signed-on to direct a new set of animations for the Otherlands project. I'm getting chill bumps imagining how awesome this is going to turn out!
Are you feeling bumpy too?
(From the Desk of Ophelea)
I spent the better part of this afternoon adding 17 new Alice: Madness Returns posters, lithographs and screenprints up as add-ons for those who keep asking for more, moore, MOAR! It's a visually stunning array of images, take time to look at them all. I've posted a few below.