Nurse Nancy Collector of Souls

I have thought about a new idea which I am quite enthusiastic about. I have recently watched a couple of films that have been adaptations of Marvel Comics creations. I watched the Captain America film.  ( Johnson, 2011 Disney Corp) And began to wonder how the original illustrator and story maker felt about their characters now, as they have been refined for a new audience, brought up on a diet of special effects? Their initial drawings started as ink drawings, now they are larger than life characters.

Captain America #1 Where it all began

I began to think about the creative process of drawing a new character and how they then became film Characters. How the writers of both comic and film fleshed the characters out? 

I then had an idea about creating a superhero that I could create as a film type character and then regess them into a cartoon drawing. The whole process would be the reverse process of Marvels existing range of characters. Although I use the term Marvel I do acknowledge the existence of DC Comics. 

My initial thought are to shoot the character, then place them in front of a green screen, then superimse the photographic images over a secondary background in photoshop. This would then make it possible to make the characters appear as though they are flying or visiting other worlds etc. The final part of the process is then to convert the final image into a cartoon by using bespoke software. Most mobile phones are sold with basic editing features and you can purchase cheaply cartoon software to give your selfie a twist. I think that would then give a nice way of introducing a new character into the comic world. 

I thought about the whole concept for some time and then worked a story out for the character, which is added to this chapter. It became clear that to make the character work, then the character needed a Super villian to fight. 

I spoke with a cartoon specialist in Blackpool and chatted about the whole concept. She managed to find a complete series of comics including the pre launch edition through to the last episode. There were 16 issues in total. The Characters were called Sliders. Reading the comics it showed the development of the characters in the story, personal traits etc. It gave me a good idea on how to take the whole story forward.

I also decided that the way forward was to create both a Female Super hero and Super villian. This would give the story depth and create a more interesting story of good and evil. It was also around this time that I decided to switch to the Disserattion Module, which I decided I would write on the creation of a Superhero and how they appear as myth and legend yet society needs those same myths and legends to bind communities together. How many Vikings died in the pursuit of the pleasure of the Norse Gods?

I decided I would keep the script simple and it would follow along the same lines as most comics, the fight between good and evil. The basis of the script was that the Villian would escape from a heavenly jail and would escape to Earthg. the Gods would then send the hero to seek her out and return her to the jail. However, I wanted to add a contemporary twist to proceedings and I approached a model I have worked with previously. She is heavily tattooed and is actually quite scary.

Chelsea

For the story I decided that Chelsea would recruit a group of followers to do her bidding. They would reek havoc amongst the population. Although it appears to be a lot of work, the majority of the story is actally quite simple and involves simple PhotoShop edits as they will be shot against a green screen. 

The Hero would also be tattooed. I approached a couple of models and found one who appeared to fit the role by the name of Sinopa Rin. 

Sinopa Rin

Sinopa is a published model and we had a few chats about the role and what I was looking for. As you can see from the picture above, she fits the bill of the sterotypical hero. Long flowing hair etc. She also brought one or two ideas to the piece. My idea was that she would be sent to earth in the guise of a nurse. she would notice patients with similar injuries coming to the hospital. She would then investigate where the victims were found on her day off, inevitably leading to the same place. She would then meet the acolytes of Chelsea where she would terminate them. Sinopa felt she should wear an amulet that would give her the power to see the bad guys. I took that suggestion on board and addedto it by introducing the concept, that when she terminated a bad guy.  a tattoo of the dead person would appear on the skin of Sinopa. and this would be the way she transports the dead souls. I felt that this would give a modern twist on the Superhero role. Allowing many different scenarios to potentially open up. What wold happen if Chelsea obtained the amulet? would the dead people that were tatooed on the skin of Sinopa suddenly come back to life? Would they then become the undead? A whole host of stories are available to take this project forward. 

I spoke with a makeup artist who said that it would be possible to do this with little effort. in fact she suggested photographing the bad guys first and then she could trace them directly onto the skin.

Obviously there would be a final confrontation where Chelsea would be captured...Or would she?

Part of initial working scripts

One of the major issues surrounding this project was actually what to call the new superhero. Whilst researching the superhero for my dissertation, the names of characters play an important role. I have linked to a website called Springhole.net which is a site given over to the cosplay community, also helping writers create new characters.

https://springhole.net/writing/naming-superheroes-and-supervillains.htm

My initial thoughts were to call the Character Nurse Nancy. It seems suitably appropriate as superheros ofetn have the same initials or they have names that are rhyming couplets. Hence I thought I would try Nurse Nancy as a working title.  It has not met with much enthusiasm other than from other cosplayers, who do appear to like the title. For my part I did sort of feel that it was a little 1950's, yet that would actually work as an era to set the piece anyway. 

Practical issues

My initial thoughts were to shoot some of the outdoor scenes around Chester, however with lockdown I would be unable to do this. The other issue is that the Studios at the University were also off limit to anyone who did not attend the University, rendering them useless. However at that time I was invited by Sarah Sadler to join her as a tenant at the studio she rents near Hatton Heath. As our styles do not conflict with each other and we have no competition for work I readily agreed. 

This gave me a base to be able to shoot from. The studio is set within a farm complex as well as a caravan site, so has a host of great locations for shoots. I worked out that I could actually do most of the shoot within the grounds. The other shots I needed could be done in front of a green screen in the studio itself. 

One of the issues was that of the acolytes of Chelsea. Because of the pandemic and social distancing, the people would need to be known to each other. I spoke to my son, who is 15 however he is 6 foot tall. His classmates are all the same size, they are classed as being in a bubble, so I asked him to have a chat with his mates to see if they fancied helping out. Although no timescale could be given due to the lockdown. 

I had spoken to a makeup artist who was happy to help out. the main issue would of course be social distancing and when close contact services would be able to return. Whilst all parties were aware of the script, the biggest issue fell around the pandemic. As we moved towards christmas it became quite clear that it would be the new year before tthere was any chance of a shoot. 

To be fair to the two main actresses they were both happy to wait until we could arrange a shoot. 

The other issue was that of my lack of photoshop skills and the need to make heavy use of photoshop. I decided that I would contract that part of the production out to an expert. There is little point in me wasting hours on something when an expert could have the whole job done in the time it takes me to edit ten pictures. The main complaint I have of this university course is it lacks proper taught photoshop sessions. It is inconceivable that three years after enrolling I am no wiser with photoshop. Photoshop is a basic tool these days and it needs to be taught properly. 

I spoke to a couple of photoshop experts and for what they were charging and my requirements, they were the better option.

The main issue was however lockdown. We went through Christmas and the lockdown kept being extended. I couldn't shoot, and to be honest nobody wanted to shoot either. It became increasingly difficult to do anything other than plan, but there is a limit. I had numerous coonversations with Lynne, howevr nothing could be moved forward as people didn't want to come out.

Interim Exhibition

For the Interim exhibition I Created several images of using cartoon altering software as examples of what i was trying to achieve. Unfortunately I purchased the wrong copy of a software and it only nstalled over the cloud and I couldn't get the watermark off the images.

 

Some of the work is reproduced here:

 

 

 

 

 

Other Pursuits

A different perspective

As time went on into late January, it became apparent that lockdown would not be eased anytime soon. People were still dying in alarming numbers. Shoots were not on the agenda.  A conversation with my dissertation tutor though threw a new possibility into the equation. if I couldn't shoot the work I wanted. What about trying to see if there were any cosplayers who would like to be photographed during lockdown? 

Having thought about it, could I shoot the cosplayer at home in lockdown, fully dressed as their character, itraised the image of Spiderman eating Beans on Toast at the Kitchen table, whilst perhaps the rest of the household wre just going about their business. The beauty of this type of shoot was that it could easily be done as a socially distanced shoot. I could shoot through the window into the house. there are numerous photographers who have been tramping the streets taking pictures of glum looking people during lockdown in their houses, this adds a different twist. It isn't the project I wanted to do, but it is a start.

I drafted an advert and put it on Facebook in five or six cosplayer sites.

Unfortunately there was little response to the advert. I discussed this with Lynne in a tutorial. lynne said I should contact actor type groups on facebook to see if there was anyone who would fancy having a go. I did send a couple of emails to different people involved with acting, however again there was very little enthusiasm, even though the shoots were to be socially distanced. 

It was quite clear that this shoot if it wer to happen would not take place until a week or two before the deadline for submission. That I felt was leaving it too late. I decided to curtail this project as it was rapidly becoming unworkable.