Thesis Proposal Summary

For my thesis project I am making a two or so minute long animation about an alien sheriff trying to stop two robot bandits from robbing a bank in the first moon colony. It’s a Science Fiction Western that combines the setting and technology from Science Fiction but with the tropes and design of a Western. The main characters are Sher’f, TallBot, and BanditoBot. Sher’f is the newest sheriff to the moon colony; he had to take up the mantle when the sheriff before him retired for an injury and feels underprepared for and overwhelmed by his new job. He’s short, has awkwardly long fingers, and wears a leather vest and a bowler hat. TallBot and BanditoBot are two garbage disposal robots that, due to a malfunction in their programming, seek out bags of money instead of bags of garbage. TallBot is a human shaped robot that wears a black trenchcoat and uses a laser weapon modeled after an 1878 coach gun. BanitoBot is a rectangular box that’s hollow inside, since he used to be a trash compactor, that got a gattling gun installed into his sombrero.

The story takes place on the moon of the aliens’ home world. There’s a problem with overpopulation and growing enough food for everyone, so they began colonising the moon to raise genetically modified cattle. They don’t have the technology to efficiently travel between planets within their solar system, so they reach the moon with a space elevator. The space elevator is designed to look like a train, since I wasn’t going to make a Western without there being a train fight. Since the elevator is anchored to the moon, the train can only run about once a month when the moon’s rotation points the rail towards the planet. Because of this, as well as the relative newness of the colony, there has been difficulty policing the colony, making it prime for robbing.

I also want music to be a part of this animation, so I’m composing the music to it. I plan on not having any dialogue or sound effects so it relies entirely on the music to fill that void. This way it feels more like either a silent movie or an animated music video. Since I’m limited to the instruments I have access to and to people who can play them for me, I’ll have to use synthesizers to fill in some spaces of the composition.The instruments I can get, trumpet, banjo, guitar, bass, and violin, lead themselves to a country sound, which is perfect for a Western; the space setting would also make synthesizers appropriate to use in the song, too.

The story starts with the two robots getting off the train in the colony and heading straight to the bank to rob it. When they rob the bank, they put all the money inside of BanditoBot’s storage compartment. As they rob the bank, an alarm goes off in the sheriff’s office alerting Sher’f that there’s a bank robbery. Sher’f stops the bots as they leave the bank, but they just ignore him and head off to the train. Sher’f tries shooting at them, but only manages to hit a bag of money TallBot is carrying. TallBot returns fire, but Sher’f cowers out of the way. When Sher’f gets up he notices that the bots are about to get away on the train. Sher’f looks around for a way to catch up and notices a hoverbike, that’s made to look a bit like a horse, behind him.

The bots make it onto the caboose right as the train’s leaving the station, but just when they think they’re getting away they notice Sher’f is following them into space. BanditoBot activates his gatling gun, but doing so opens his storage compartment and all the money starts trailing out. Sher’f goes underneath the caboose to get out of the fire and tries to think of a way to stop the bots. He notices the train is going over a curve in the rail where it bends back towards the planet, so he shoots the connection between the caboose and the rail and then the connection between the caboose and the car in front of them. When the caboose goes over the curve, since it’s no longer attached to anything, it gets shot into space with the bots on it. Sher’f takes a sigh in relief, then goes on to collect all the money that trailed out of BanditoBot.

Right now I have the storyboard completed. Next would be making an animatic so I can time out all the movements so I can begin composing the music to go along with what happens on screen. From there I’ll have to draw all the backgrounds for each shot and do the character animations. Then I’ll need to record the music and mix it together and finally composite the backgrounds, animation, and music together into the final cut. The backgrounds and character animations will be done digitally with Photoshop and Adobe Flash while the song will be made in Logic Pro. It will all get edited together in Sony Vegas.

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