Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Mad Violinist (an unfinished project), part Three: Planning

This is the third posting about this unfinished animation project I started back in the early Nineties. Here I'll share with you some of the sequences of the film that I began to plan out.

This is a sketch of an image I planned to use to first introduce the violist. The idea is the protagonist hears music and is clearly annoyed. He looks out his window and sees the shadow of the violist cast on the building opposite.

Here are notes and thumbnails I jotted down to begin thinking through the process of the story. In them the protagonist attempts to sleep and begins to dream. The camera pulls away from an overhead shot of the man sleeping. As the sleeping man recedes architectural columns and other features like stairways appear, getting more elaborate. On the right I began to jot down ideas for a narrative, although I really had no intention of including any voice overs:

"It is past midnight and I dread the music. I hate my neighbor with a passion that haunts me when I wake and torments me so I cannot sleep. I am not a vengeful man, yet the evil music insinuates itself into my life so that I am desperate to free myself from it. Every night like clockwork it pierces my dreams and wakes me mercilessly. Twisted and jarring music, haunting and compelling are the only way to describe the horrific effect it has on me, perverting my dreams with its own reality. I cannot sleep. He robs me of my rest. I must fight him for my sanity. I must destroy his vile instrument. The music of Ehric Zahnn must be no more."

Here are a few more notes indicating a transition during the dream sequence when a clock face becomes superimposed by the sleeper's face. At another point I wanted the camera to zoom backwards through a door-less hallway of columns, each set from a different era and design. Eventually they would devolve into a Dali-esque open field dotted with columns and ruins at odd angles.

This is a sketch for the final scene where the protagonist bursts into the garret of the violist and discovers the man playing to a broken window behind which is a swirling maelstrom. To the left is a metronome which I wanted to be the size of a wardrobe, perhaps indicated by super-imposed images. I was also inspired by Van Gogh's painting of his room in Arles to develop this scene.


  1. I didn't know you were into animation.

  2. My senior year in High School I completed a 3-minute clay animation short and began work on a 5-minute cel animation short. My art teacher in High School was amazingly progressive taught me to understand that anything is possible. My interest was only whetted at that point and although I've met other people who share my interest in animation through the years, I've found it very difficult to meet a community of animators who might work toward a finished project.