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Monday, 24 May 2010

We manufacture miracles!

Another cross-post from the SCAS blog. This one is probably just for completists, as it's a project that Leo Hartas and I have variously pitched as a TV show, movie and comic over the years. It got quite close as a TV show, actually, but close is no cigar - although recently it resurfaced as just possibly perfect as an iPad edutainment game for kids, and I'm beginning to think that may have been its destiny all along - we just had the idea six years too early!

Fangleworths is a factory run by robots. They build the kind of way-out gadgets that used to feature in articles about the way we'd live in the future. Except that future never arrived - instead of anti-gravity galoshes and teleport tubes, we got phones and... er, more phones. So Fangleworths is constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. (They do say write about what you know.)

The team line-up there is (left to right) Chug the foreman, Fidel the inventor, Boomer the boss, Rummage the dog, Nettie the real boss, and the big guy is Stacks from the storeroom.

We had serious interest from several TV production companies, but the second question (after "How much will they rip us off?") is "How much will they try to mess it up?" Here's a real example - hard to credit if you haven't actually worked in European TV, but if you have it will be horribly familiar, I'm sure. To set the scene, the producer was, as they often are, a pampered middle-aged ex-public schoolboy, voice set permanently to Loud Bray, who's convinced that his presence in the room is what everybody has been waiting for:

Producer: "My boys, do you know what they like? Doctor Who."
Dave (already worried): "Oh yes?"
Producer: "And do you know who Dr Who is?"
Dave: "The Doctor."
Producer: "Hmm?""
Dave: "The Doctor. That's what he's called. Doctor Who is just the name of the show."
Producer: "Well, Dr Who is Merlin! Yes! You see, he's a wizard, and he travels in time. And Merlin, he travels backwards in time."
Dave: "Merlin was said to age backwards rather than actually travel in time. But go on."
Producer: "And over the weekend it struck me. That's what this show needs! The Fangle robots should have a friend who's a time-travelling wizard, and each week he brings them magical gifts!"
(Around the table, eager young faces are nodding. But then, this guy does pay their wages.)
Dave: "Well, they're already robots. So really a time-travelling wizard would be what we'd call
Double Mumbo Jumbo."
Producer: "What does that mean?"
Dave: "I'll get my coat."
We planned for the comic book to be created in Lightwave. Leo and our animation team actually had made all the 3D models for the TV show, not just the characters but the factory itself, so it made sense to approach the comic that way too. I love these characters and this is another project I plan to return to just as soon as they invent an 8th day of the week

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