Hello, all! This was a project I made for school about a year and a half ago, and it was my first real experience using Keylight in After Effects. We had to come up with a theme, build a matte painting around that theme, and composite ourselves into the scene. I had been kicking around the idea of doing something in the steampunk sub-genre for a while, and came up with this.
This video was also the genesis for ‘Blackwood Empire’, and the character that would eventually become the disgraced Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre. My initial idea was to do something like a kid’s show, complete with catchy songs to earn the eternal ire of parents everywhere, but I have absolutely no idea how to write for children, especially when the protagonist is a drunken pirate, and I don’t have a musical bone in my body, so that was out. So now I’m aiming squarely for that golden PG-13 spot occupied by such pulpy adventure movies like Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
As soon as Violet returned to the compartment she heard several heavy thumps hit the roof of the train. Eli pulled his hands from his bloody nose long enough to look around, confused.
“What the hell was that?”
As if in answer, a large, heavily muscled pirate swung into the train through the window. His bulk propelled him forward and he barreled into Violet, lifting her off her feet and through the door behind her.
The NorEastern Empire spent much of its six year war against Crowndon getting its posterior kicked. Though masters of subterfuge and intelligence gathering, the NorEastern empire had neither the resources nor the military prowess to endure a long standing war, and by the time of the battle of the Divide, they were all but broken.
Today’s post is an excerpt from the novella “Where, No One Knows”, which I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. In it, Pixie Sinclaire is tasked with infiltrating Where, No One Knows, a floating prison made out of three enormous interconnected ironclad warships. Her task: find and extract her former lover, Rigel Rinkenbach, before he unlocks the secret to creating Blackwood and gives it to the NorEastern Empire’s enemies.
Things don’t go as planned, however. For no sooner than Pixie arrives on the ship does a woman named Dougherty lead a mutiny, throwing the ship into chaos. She also wants Rinkenbach, for very different reasons. Pixie and Dougherty forge a fragile alliance, and come up with a plan to get Pixie onto the command ship where Rinkenbach is being held.
Lots of weird things go through a man’s mind when he hasn’t moved in twenty four hours. He begins to question things. It starts with “what am I doing here”, in regards to the task he is currently performing. That then leads to the same question, only in regards to existence. Eli had gone past both points and back again.
Arufina Villanova is a member of a society of assassins known as the Scarlett Circle, an organization trumped in mystery and cloak-and-dagger-ness by only the Ephemeral Cartographers. Her older sister was a Cartographer before the war, and Aru might have been as well. Something else happened, however, and Arufina’s sister disappeared, putting Arufina on the run.
Pixie Sinclaire…where to begin? Most of her childhood was spent traveling the NorEastern countryside with her father, digging around in old caves and tombs. At the age of fourteen, her father was arrested and deported for grave robbing–ahem, sorry. “Unlicensed Archaeology”–leaving Pixie to fend for herself.
She was recruited into the North Eastern Subterfuge Society, where she served the Empire during the war with Crowndon as an agent provocateur, smuggling plans in and out of enemy territory and sabotaging Crowndon equipment.
It was during this time that she ran afoul of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach and, despite her better judgment, began a long and sordid relationship with him that ended due to a disagreement on whether or not Rigel should build weapons of mass destruction to end the war.
Hey, people have broken up over smaller things, right?
After the war, Pixie went to work for herself, setting up shop onLibertine’s Roost in Demon’s Eye bay, home of pirates, mercenaries, and alchemists without conscience.
This is an animatic for a project I hope to produce over the next six months for my senior project. It will incorporate digitally created visual effects with live action footage. Hopefully it turns out like I see it in my head (always the tricky part, that), and I can use it for a Kickstarter or a pitch video to get the web-series I want to produce a chance in hell of existing.
This is very much a work in progress, so suggestions are welcome.
Sir Rigel Rinkenbach is the most brilliant mind in the Imperial Triumvirate, and he knows it. He is also completely devoid of morals and has no time to waste on ethics. The only thing he cares about, if he can be said to care about anything, is the rapid advancement of civilization.
It was this attitude that got him ex-communicated from the Academic Alliance of Alchemists and Alliterators, and led to his estrangement from the equally brilliant Pixie Sinclaire, the only other person on the planet Rigel might consider having the potential to be his equal…someday. Perhaps. Maybe.
Captain la Pierre holds a grudging respect for Rinkenbach, but doesn’t necessarily trust him, and he certainly doesn’t like him…he’s a NorEasterman, after all. But he’s capable, and when you’re on the run for your life, that’s nearly the only thing that counts. He also knows the formula for Blackwood, the substance that makes the world go round. Rinkenbach has a taste for the finer things in life; gramophones, tea, and chess. He prefers a duelist’s stance when fighting, and uses a rapier. He possess the ability to think around problems, rather than through them (like Klaudhopper), but he realizes the importance of a blunt approach. A cunning strategist, la Pierre often laments not having Rinkenbach on his side during the war.
“I like your brand o’ thinkin, Rink. If not for the loopy machinations of cunning, lunatic minds such as your own, we’d have never gotten off the ground!” -Roderick la Pierre, Captain of the Pernicious Platitude, overheard during a train heist.
Klaus Klaudhopper is brash and quick to action. As the ship’s navigator, he has an obsession with getting where he’s going, when he wants to get there…which sometimes doesn’t take into consideration the safety of the crew, other air ships, or the people on the ground below.
As the youngest of the crew, Klaudhopper has seen the least action. He lied about his age to join the army (on a bet, no less, made by a fellow townsie who’s ultimate goal was simply to get Klaudhopper away so that his girlfriend would be left available), but alas, his enlistment came near the end of the war, which Admiral Roderick la Pierre unintentionally cut short, condemning Klaudhopper to an eight year contract guarding the governor’s crumpet stores.
His place on the crew is a tenuous one, as he blames la Pierre for ruining ‘his war.’ He sticks around, however, because la Pierre grants him a certain liberty and pays well. Not to mention, there’s really no other place to go.
Klaudhopper favors twin dueling revolvers given to him by Who, No-One-Knows, And Who, No-One-Asks, the Prime Surveyor of the Ephemeral Cartographers.