Boxhead Animated horror
I sat down with Randall Kaplan and spoke with him about his animated feature film, Boxhead. Randall is most known for his work with Beneath the Flesh. That being said, his latest project offers a psychedelic journey into the twilight zone and is well worth checking out.
So where did Boxhead come from, what dark place inspired this film?
That’s a very tough question to answer. When I was about eleven years old, this image of a strange creature in a suit and tie with no mouth, only eyes came to me. To this day I don’t know where it came from. But as I drew him, he evolved, and became clearer and more defined over the years, along with a storyline and world around him.
I guess I agree with Allan Moore when he says so eloquently that art is magic, and magic is art. Things just bubble up, when it’s going well, and you channel other places and things that can’t be put into words.
This happens every time I work on the film or draw the characters. Things just happen. Over time these things have formed a pattern, and a storyline emerged.
The darkness of the story and idea is in some ways mysterious, but in other ways is taken from life. I’ve put my own experiences along with things I’ve seen in life into this story. So some of it is conscious and the rest is from the unconscious, and just is.
Why do animation and not live action?
Most of my short films have been live action and I worked that way for a long time.
But I discovered I had the animation bug after years of drawing these characters, and realized I wanted, needed to see them come to life.
I made a live action short film with Boxhead in 2008, and though it’s still very close to me, there was much more I had to do with the character and storyline.
This story, as it evolved became perfect for animation and nothing else would do it justice. You can do things in this medium that you can’t in live action.
There’s also something about being able to labor over a scene alone in a dark room, and create it with your hands that really affects the feel of the film. I think the physicality and tactile nature of traditional animation, the way I like to work, with pencil and link and oil paint as well, can create so much mood and feeling that live action or other types of animation wouldn’t get across. Not in this way.
Can you share a little about the script?
Boxhead is about an aging recluse named Al, whose dreams of being a successful writer have long passed him by. Now, he lives alone, hiding away from the world…and drinking himself into oblivion. As time slips away, something otherworldly watches, waiting in the dark.
One night Al discovers something horrifying that may actually be the key to his salvation.
He is led down a rabbit hole of nightmares and dreams, to find the truth about himself.
That’s the basic gist of it.
Tell me about your production team?
Well, right now it’s a one man show. I will be building a team for full production, and assistants for the creation of the animatic if enough money is pledged.
What will the kickstarter fund be used for?
This money is going towards the creation of a full animatic or story reel. This is like a storyboard but with sound, music and movement. You can see an example of this in the Kickstarter video.
The goal is to create the animatic, along with some fully animated key scenes, and show it to further investors to complete the film.
I aimed for a reasonable number, the bare minimum to accomplish this, but the more money that’s raised, the more certain it is that I can pay people to help create the animatic and the faster we’ll move into full production.
I plan on animating key scenes in this stage as well and the more money we have the more of those we can do, and the film will be that much closer to showing further investors and completing the animation.
What assurances can you offer your backers regarding a timely outcome for this project?
The only thing I can promise is my devotion to this project. This idea has been a part of me for a long time, and I’ve been living and breathing it. It’s more than a passion project, it’s something I have to do.
Like I said, the more money I can raise the faster it gets done. But I can promise is my dedication and passion in creating this thing.
I’m going to push myself further than I ever have to make this thing a reality.
This film is about someone who we might ignore or judge in life, someone who we could never associate with ourselves.
But, as a great friend of mine put it, we could all end up like Al. That’s where the heart of this film comes from and the horror begins.
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