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The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Since the day i began this blog (way back in the ancient days of a month ago), i have intended to feature this video. And as giulas41 pointed out on the Jasper The Dead Guy Guy post,  there is another Jasper in the steampunk mythos (which is no coincidence. I named Jasper in the opera after Jasper Morello in the video as an homage. The character is entirely different, but many will connect the name and get the tip of the hat). Thus, i figure it is high time we get around to showcasing one of the most awesome videos you’re going to see on the net.

I’ll give some more detail after the film. Just watch it. Seriously. It’s long for internet vids, 2o minutes, so make some tea, coffee, grab a beer and relax, because it is WELL worth it.

Please tell me you watched it. Drop dead awesome, right?

This is actually the first of 4 planned films, the other 3 of which are up and coming. It’s written by Mark Shirrefs and directed by Anthony  Lucas.

The animation style is that of Indonesian Shadow Puppetry, or Wayang (which is Indonesian for both shadow and theater). I could and should do an entire post on just Wayang, but here’s an awesome factoid:

Developed during the first millenium in Indonesia, it featured static puppets and was used heavily by Hindus to spread their religious stories across the land. When the Muslims came, they forbid themselves from watching it as it showed  God and gods in human form which is forbidden to see.

King Raden Patah of Java, however, really wanted to watch a performance. When the Muslim religious leaders refused him, a compromise was suggested, in which he could view the shadows of the figures. Viewing the shadows of the figures instead of the actual figures was acceptable. He watched it, loved it, and a genre was birthed.

Jasper Morello is of course a little more modern. All the objects are made out of various materials, including and especially cardboard, then scanned into a computer and manipulated in Photoshop.

All of the backgrounds are 2D. The 3D effect is made by combining numerous 2D backgrounds and then using variations of blurring to achieve illusions of depth.

As you can see for yourself, this is an extraordinary work of animation, and i am dying to see the next 3 sequels in the quartet.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Character Background 3: Jasper, The Dead Guy

As we prepare to begin composition of the 3rd Act (in about 2 weeks) it’s becoming time to address the one character in the entire Opera who is in all 4 Acts, present in all 4 generations the show encompasses. Jasper. Who, ironically, died before the opera even begins.

At the moment i’m leaning towards 3 of the 4 generations being in love with him (Annabel, Byron and Priscilla). In any case, who is he?

Jasper comes from a family with a very respected name who was once extremely well off, but who has, within the past few generations, watched their fortune ebb away. The family name is still worth something, but there is not much behind it anymore.

Because of this, Jasper has been raised with a great deal of pressure to rescue the family name and fortune and restore the once proud line to the status they deserve. Unfortunately, Jasper really doesn’t care about all of this. He is quite content to settle down on the family’s country estate far outside of New Camden and pursue his passion for horticulture. He is interested in creating small scale food forests on limited land which can produce massive amounts and varieties of food which a family or individual can live off of indefinitely.

This is all well and good, but his family still wants their fortune back, while he argues that he can feed them and future generations and  money need not be so great of an issue. These discussions never go well, and despite his convictions, he has been raised from birth to shoulder the family expectations, and so cannot just walk away. His mother uses a potent blend of guilt and pity which Jasper, although aware of and despises, is unable to emotionally resist.

His marriage was carefully arranged while he was still in his early teens, something that he resents.  He met Annabell shortly before the wedding and was quite taken with her, although he only saw her one night. He forgot her soon afterwards.

The marriage is an unhappy one. He sees his wife as vain and shallow. She is actually quite industrious and focused, however she too is from a family with good name but waining fortune and has fully bought into the need to make as much money as possible over the course of her life in order to restore the two families’ greatness. She has less than no interest in Jasper’s interests and is disgusted with him for his reluctuance to go out and make his fortune.

He finds himself able to spend less and less time on his life’s passion, and is pushed into being a stockbroker. Interestingly enough, he has a sharp mind for it, the same logic that makes him a brilliant horticulturalist also makes him capable for being a successful stockbroker, but instead, he is complete failure at it. This is because he subconsciously sabotages himself. His resentment for his mother and wife comes out in his deliberate attempts to fail at the money making business.

The only good aspect of his otherwise miserable life is the birth of his daughter, Fay, who he loves deeply. Alas, while she is still a young child he is involved in the accident that kills him.

He is naturally somewhat surprised and not particularly pleased when he finds himself brought back from the dead by Annabel, and far less so when he is brought back later by Edgar, but the notion of seeing his daughter again calms him somewhat. Thus he remains trapped once again in the mortal coil.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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