Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure book series? It was fun, wasn’t it, taking on the role of protagonist and picking your own narrative and ending?
Carlton North’s Mat Fitzgerald and Collingwood’s Tom Flatman are doing something similar with their short film, Cowards and Giants.
They are widening the creative process and inviting writers, actors, animators and more to get involved and help shape the end product.
Flatman, 30, started the project 18 months ago, and Fitzgerald, 29, came on board this year and suggested inviting interested parties to get involved via social media.
‘‘What I’m really interested in is community-building; it’s a way to have a lot of fun with a lot of new people along the way, so hopefully the journey is as interesting as the destination,’’ Fitzgerald says.
The men have known each other since their school days at Xavier College, but this is the first creative project they’ve undertaken together.
The basic plot has been established, with a trailer already posted on YouTube. It follows the journey of a young child, Tim, who discovers that only he can see a host of bizarre, native creatures that look like ordinary people to everyone else.
Flatman says: ‘‘We’re going to get together and have a workshop and see what happens out of that. And that’s the idea with this project, just trying to get a lot of people involved’’.
Both are inspired by pre-CGI animation and puppetry, such as The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, the original Star Wars trilogy and Jim Henson’s puppets.
‘‘They have something akin with theatre, in a magical and mythical sense because they kind of belong in this world but then they don’t quite. It’s the real textures of them that I like,’’ Flatman says.
Preliminary location shoots around the Grampians and Dunkeld have already been done. Flatman says this has helped build the film’s fictional yet relatable world.
‘‘It’s not Australian in the sense of the Northern Territory and red dirt; we’re talking sort of Victorian-Australian. It’s greener. It’s got a really distinct tone,’’ he says. ‘‘We want to really incorporate the landscape and the language.’’
Workshops for writers will be followed by those with artists and actors to determine the film’s full plot and style.
Opening a formerly private project to the world has not only brought Fitzgerald and Flatman fresh creative input but also exposed them and contributors to ‘‘weird and wonderful places’’.
‘‘I came into this thinking we’ll build a bit of community, it will be some fun and we’ll see where chaos takes us. It’s been really fascinating and profound,” says Fitzgerald.
‘‘One of the most powerful things is that it’s not driven by money but a passion to create. When you’re part of a tribe that is driven to create, that gives me a real buzz. It’d like to say something more articulate than that but no, it’s just the best.’’ Details: facebook.com/CowardsandGiants