DERMALIAN by Sylvia Toy+Michael Lewis is a movie in pre-production about an alien race long after humans that discovers the ruins of the NYPL (New York Public Library) and establishes it as a major archaeological site.
The DERMALIAN storyboard is being created through a process of improvisation. During this story development phase, I create and play all the characters including voiceovers in the storyboard. I have developed story by improvising directly on camera since 2010, benefiting greatly from my almost 20 years of experience as a solo theatre artist performing four or five characters in the same room at the same time. Though in its raw, unpolished state improvised dialogue often is stiff, awkward and sometimes longwinded, I trust and believe in this character-acting story development process. Who better to tell a character’s story and backstory than the character their self?
While the characters make up their stories, I improvise environments, costumes, makeup; and even the special effects are developed through improvisation as well.
This is my first movie with a sizeable cast of animated characters, one of whom, Captain George Méliès, is a central character. I have had to improvise the animations, particularly in regard to figuring out how the Dermalians would speak, move, interact with each other, adapt to human language and develop protocols for immersion into the human culture that they were studying.
Once the DERMALIAN Storyboard is complete and there is a written script, DERMALIAN will undergo dramaturgy by my collaborator, Michael Lewis. Michael studied dramatic writing with the Edgar award winning novelist, James N. Frey, and was founding Technical Director of Jump! Theatre in San Francisco. He also directed my critically acclaimed, nationally touring solo play, JUMP.
This first part of the Storyboard is 48 minutes long. I anticipate that the completed Storyboard will be approximately two hours long. However, I anticipate that the movie itself will be under 90 minutes.
Because the Storyboard is improvised from scene, there is some lack of continuity as well as a few redundancies. The design, the special effects and the animation have evolved during the process of improvisation.
It is likely that not all of the scenes that have been or will be created will be part of the final Storyboard.
In addition to using the Storyboard to attract funding, I also hope to interest actors in the live action roles: Sub-Commander Jacqueline Pearce (female); The Shakespearean ReEnactor (male); Captain Barack (male); Doctor Jane; Lieutenant Blondie (trans). I am taking the role of Dottoressa Giulia Verne for myself.
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