Digging in the past and searching for the secret of creating stories that matter.
We have been creating branded shorts and trailers for the toy company Playmobil for around ten years now. I have to admit I’ve always been a Playmobil kid and still have old sets in boxes waiting to get played with again. And yet the latest project was special.
Michael Knight together with his KITT are definitely my childhood heroes. I loved this show and the adventures they had. While doing this trailer for the new product launch for Playmobil it just hit me: Why am I so emotionally connected to this show? And what is it that we as filmmakers are creating now for the new kids generation?
Sure thing — this product trailer is amazing for us, everyone knows Michael Knight and is deeply connected to this character.
So I’m asking myself as a filmmaker — do we create shows that connect to our audience in the same way? I think this is one of the biggest goals you can have as a creator of stories and characters.
When we develop our own stories and IPs at Woodblock we try to create this unique content which entertains and touches us and of course our audience, too. Characters come alive and turn into heroes of the audience and connect with them. Or better the audience connects with the characters.
As a director my task is always to have the vision of the character in mind. There is this special moment during pre production when your vision of a character suddenly comes alive. It feels as if the hero has its own will and makes its own decisions. As strange as it sounds, that’s like the first magic point when everything works out and the character is believable for everyone else around you. And this is for me the most exciting thing about filmmaking — the audience can dive into believable stories and can identify with the characters. To get the character authentic every director has to put so much emotional personality in it that it makes you vulnerable. In fear of this a lot of content stays superficial and unspecific. But the story that counts is the small moment of truth and not the big narration about the whole world. For me these authentic moments and how characters behave is the key for stories that matter and content that stays in the mind and heart of your audience.
There is no recipe for a fruitful story — but I believe you need to be thrilled and deeply connected with it yourself first, before you can start to fascinate others with it.
If the spark is overpowering the audience gets entertained and takes something home — the spirit, the atmosphere, the story. When kids start recreating the stories you once wrote then you are definitely on the right track — and you get something back — overwhelmed by emotions for this connection.
I loved Michael Knight or actually I loved his car KITT even more. It was a fascinating object that came alive. It was funny and smart and always a faithful companion of the hero. And looking back on the character setup it was revolutionary that they had a female engineer, Bonnie, who was always cool and clever. For me as a kid the perfect heroes to reenact. These characters are meant to last forever and sneaked in our hearts when we were little.
In these past 10years of collaboration we made a lot of heartwarming Playmobil films but recreating Knight Rider in CG and seeing these characters coming alive again was a really cool childhood flashback.