Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity
Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity

My response for week six of Animated Narratives

In this week for Animated Narratives, we were looking at dialogue and the concepts of emotion, action, delivery, and subtext.

For the in class exercise we were taking a line of dialogue and using it in an unusual way to create a scene that subverts the expectations for that dialogue. 
My group went with the line "So, do you eat soup or drink it?"

What we ended up with was a scene where some detectives are on a case looking for a cannibal who is know for turning victims into soup. One detective is looking from the suspects kitchen cabinets, all filled with soup cans, whilst the other detective delivers the line. The scene ended up with a Pulp Fiction style to it (Pulp Fiction, 1994). Having these two detectives discussing soup in an effort to build up a nervous state in the suspect. 

After this I went and analysed the dialogue from my own studio project to see how I could better achieve the goals that each line needed to meet:

There you are little buddy, you’ve
sure been on a bit of a rampage today.

This is the first line of dialogue in the short film. The character has walked up to an angry monster and is talking to it. The delivery would be like an adult talking to a toddler, and in that way April is putting on a bit of a performance here with how she speaks to the monster. It is used to establish how these characters interact with the monsters, how they try to calm the monsters down. 

Ok, ok. Almost done, then I can get
back and apologise to Sam.

Not good enough. I don’t have time
to wait for this spillover to wear out.
Sam must hate me by now??

Just box it already!

Do it! Do it!

This part focuses on the main character for the story, Molly, and the internal struggle she can have with her own thoughts. These lines establish that even though Molly is on a job trying to round up this monster, she is struggling to stay focused and keeps getting distracted by the thought that a friend hates her. There's that fear that every moment she spends here, is a moment where she could be trying to mend her friendship. 
To rework this dialogue, I'd put more emphasis on Molly trying to overcome her thoughts and stay focused. Whenever she tries to keep on task about the monster, another thought jumps in the remind her that her friend must surely hate her. I would also look to change the like "Just box it already!" Box is a very generic word, and there needs to be a greater sense that this is a technical thing for these characters that round up monsters. Something like 'contain' would work better. While I could just cut the line, it also helps to build up the repetition of a phrase that helps later. 

There you go, doesn’t that feel better?

What are you doing!?

I almost had it! Why would you
summon a box!?

Grab it before it escapes!

Right now this shot starts with the monster already calm as April talks, but I think it could be better to have the monster still a bit worked up, and April trying to instruct it "Let's try some breathing" or "watch me. Focus on your breathing." After Molly tries to speed up the process April completely drops her facade, losing the calm toddler-talk voice, and just snapping at Molly. This rise in tension causes the monster to flare up into anger again. This is also another instance of the word 'box' and I would be looking to cut this one. Instead having April say something like "Now it's pissed again." At the end instead of "Grab it before it escapes!" I could go with "Do something Molly!" or "Just do something" to try and emphasise the tense relationship between April and Molly. 

Make a box!

No! I’ve already pissed off April
by doing that!

Just grab it, hurry!!

This is another instance of 'box' that I would be keeping to build the repetition, once again looking to use something like 'contain' instead. The idea here is that in this action trying to contain the monster would be the correct course of action, however Molly just got told off for doing that, and is now second guessing herself. This scene would be intercut with shots of April chasing the monster to build this the tension and show Molly has little time to think things through.

Use some commonsense Molly, you’re
meant to make a box!

This is the line that the repetition of 'box' is building to. Molly gets told off for doing it, then doubts whether she should do it, then gets told off again for not doing it. April is really scolding Molly with this line, like "How can you be so dumb" sort of situation "This is super simple stuff, Molly!" This line starts the snowball of Molly's mind spiralling into a depressive state.

Woah, Molly! You’re still connected
to the Overside.

Why can’t I do anything right?

Mindfulness, Molly!

This part has some exposition aspects to it, establishing a connection between the magic these characters can summon and their emotions. There is also a connection between the magic and the monsters.  At this stage Molly is holding the monster and her spiralling emotional state is drawing in a lot of magic around her, which the monster is eating up and growing bigger. These two have spent all day trying to chase this monster down and drain its energy, and now it's building back up again. These still needs to be a sense that April isn't really all that concerned for Molly, but is more concerned about failing at her job of containing the monster. So she's trying to remind Molly of how to control herself, but it still has the hint of "Why are you messing up this simple thing?"

Everyone hates you!

You’re a failure!

After consuming a bunch of magic the monster envelopes Molly and fuses with her to try and get access to more magic. At this point the monster takes over Molly's thoughts, reinforcing the truly negative thoughts to keep Molly in an emotional state to draw in more magic. Visually there would be a lot of changes to the appearance of Molly and of her thoughts. 


Then the short cuts back to show April looking on Molly's transformation into a monster. This line doesn't quite feel right, and I would like to stay away from April showing any real concern for Molly. Maybe this line could work as a way to show that when things get to their absolute worst state April would at least show some sympathy, but I would also like to keep on the theme that April is most concerned about screwing up the job, and Molly is really just being an obstacle. So perhaps this could be something more like "Snap out of it!" or "Show some self-control, Molly!"

My phone! I should check it!

No! Nobody likes you. You’re a freak.

During the climax Molly's phone receives a message, and this pulls her out of her emotional haze for a moment, but the monster is wants to keep her upset. Instead of the monster's line trying to block Molly, it could be trying to reinforce the negative thoughts like "Why? It'll just be a message about how much she hates you." Really pushing that fear into Molly that the message might confirm her fears. 

Get out of Molly’s head!

This line is another instance of April showing concern for Molly, when her real concern should be containing the monster. I could possibly bring back some of the toddler-talk here? Something like "I have spent all day chasing you around town, and now it's time for you to chill out!" Just having April be absolutely fed-up and exhausted.

She doesn’t hate me?

This line brings the resolution for the short. Molly finally reads the message on her phone and her fears are alleviated. The only change I can think for this is to spend more time thinking about how Molly speaks as a character. How would she react to this? Really this line is more for the audience’s sake, to signal the resolution to the conflict. 


And at the very end, after pulling the monster off of Molly the two characters are left surrounded by a swarm of little monsters. These ones aren't overly aggressive, but instead of having to contain one, there's now several that need containing. So April lets out a frustrated groan, as their day is far from over. 

Pulp Fiction (1994). Quentin Tarantino. dir. Miramax Films, United States. 

About This Work

By Maxine Gorey
Email Maxine Gorey
Published On: 19/04/2021








Animated Narratives