Here's the animatic. It is currently nine-and-a-half minutes long. Now that my project is approved, it's time to start thinking of ways to cut it down.
Here are the preliminary character designs:
Here are some style frames:
This week I finished some beat boards for Low-Key! After receiving some critiques from my peers, I will shorten the plot to have Adam and Joy explore the memory doors earlier in the film inside of the cafe, not in the alleyway. Also, Finn will be texting and reaching out to Adam, which prompts Joy to ask Adam what's up.
I'm still not entirely sure what will happen in Adam's memory door, but it will be outside. I also like the concept of Adam talking with a younger version of himself dressed up as Sherlock from his middle school musical.
Teaser opens on a high-school musical where a teenage Adam plays a singing Sherlock and his best friend Finn plays the villain Moriarty. It’s super stupid and over the top. The present-day Adam watches from the back, reminiscing. He gets up and exits through the door, and an exterior shot shows Adam leaving a tiny shed and walking out through an old alleyway. HUH? But HOW? No answers – just the TITLE CARD.
Present-day Adam and his friend Joy are at a café later at night. Adam mentions that his friend Finn is in town, but he’s hesitant to reach out to him because they had a falling out years back. Joy tries to ask more questions, but Adam isn’t comfortable with telling her why. Instead, he offers to show her why.
Adam takes Joy to the alleyway and the shed. They say hi to the man guarding the alleyway, who goes by simply “The Locksmith.” Adam pulls out his ring of keys and explains each key represents someone he’s had an intimate relationship with. Joy doesn’t believe him until he uses the key that represents his mom - they walk into a living memory when Adam was a young boy.
Adam and Joy watch as a tearful, young Adam brings home an abstract art assignment that was given a C-. His mom loves it and hangs it on the wall, confirming his talents. Joy is like “AWWWWWW” so Adam shows her more.
We go to a funny memory of young Adam playing with his dad. Another of a teenage Adam with his first girlfriend making brownies.
A memory of Adam and Finn cracking jokes in the back of class before the teacher catches Adam. Finn covers for him, but they both get detention. Present-day Adam looks fondly upon this memory, but when Joy asks how they had their falling out, Adam becomes uncomfortable and just wants to stay in this “happier” memory.
Discontent and determined to know the truth in order to help present-day Adam, Joy snatches Adam’s ring of keys and bolts for a door. Thus begins a chase through Adam’s memories. The memories get progressively more and more serious until Joy stumbles upon Adam and Finn’s confrontation.
It’s senior year, and Adam has discovered that Finn is going to a different college than he is, even though they had made plans to share a dorm room and take on the same college together. Finn explains it was a campus-culture thing, but Adam accuses Finn of going to college where his girlfriend conveniently happens to be going. Adam feels betrayed because he thinks Finn is choosing her over him, and nasty words are exchanged.
Adam and Joy exit the room into the real-world alleyway. Adam is angry that Joy took his keys and saw his personal memories and calls her names, so Joy claps back by saying that Adam is to blame for the falling out. She says that he’s so afraid to lose people he clings onto them until they can’t breathe. He should spend more time figuring himself out instead of living in the past. She storms off, and Adam is afraid he’s lost another friend.
Adam asks the Locksmith to make a key that represents himself. The Locksmith says that there’s only one way to make this key, and it can’t be purchased with money like the others: Adam has to trade in all of his keys for the one. Reluctant at first, Adam makes the trade and uses the key.
What does he find? I don’t know yet, but something abstract that makes him face his insecurity and shame. The point is, he learns to free himself from resentment and bitterness (personified?) and he finally reaches the door.
´He leaves the alleyway and stuffs the key into his back pocket. It’s morning – time has passed and it’s a new day. Worried texts from Joy fill his phone. Taking a deep breath, he calls Finn on the phone. “Hey, I heard you were in town.”
After wrestling with two ideas, I've decided to explore the more high-concept idea that will really explore the ideas of memory, regret, nostalgia, and resentment. The working title is "Low-Key."
The premise. A guy has a ring of keys - each key is crafted by the enigmatic locksmith and represents someone with whom he has an intimate relationship - an ex, a childhood friend, a parent, a mentor. When he uses these keys on doors, he walks into a living memory he shares with the person the key represents.
He uses these keys to reminisce, to remember when he was happier, when he is nostalgic, when he forgets something, when he's lonely.
I'm really trying to work out the story beats. I want the story to follow how the main character wants to reconnect with his old childhood friend, and figure out why they had a falling out. He takes his friend to walk through his memories alongside him, which should make the exposition more palatable if it's being explained to a good friend. At some point, he needs to realize that there is something wrong with him, that HE is part of the reason why he feels isolated. He trades in all of his keys for a key that represents HIM. But when he uses that key, what does he find? Whatever the case, he learns to free himself from the metaphorical cage of resentment and bitterness and learns not to live in the past.
Here's a week-to-week blog recording my progress on my thesis.