Today we had to get all the main projects done as Kristina was going to London for valentines weekend, which we were all happy enough with and since we are a 3 person team which work really well it will just leave us to tweak everything up for the date. So I drew up a storyboard idea for the puppet show, I didn’t know if it should be similar to The Karate Kid story or if my idea was too much based off of the movies but I knew that I wanted to incorporate the implicit meaning that was within the movie, as well as the historical elements to the movie.The implicit meaning in The Karate Kid was persistence and to keep practicing, this was evident throughout the movie but mainly in the scenes where Mr Miyagi gave Daniel what seemed to be unimportant tasks “Wax on, wax off” but it turned out that Daniel’s persistence with these tasks showed him how to do the karate moves.
For the puppet show we wanted to give each of the characters an animal, this is because this was not only significant in the movie but also in karate history, as seen here.
This is what each of the five animals represent:
- Dragon: Exercises to cultivate spirit, flexibility, and graceful movements. The dragon is a mythical animal associated with courage and energy. Dragon exercises stress this animal’s flowing spirit.
- Tiger: Exercises to strengthen the bones.
- Crane: Exercises to strengthen the sinews and promote vitality. The crane style stresses balance and fast foot movements.
- Leopard: Exercises for developing strength, power and speed.
- Snake: Exercises to cultivate Chi, correct breathing to strengthen internal power and to strike an opponent’s vulnerable areas.
As you can see there are 5 animals within karate, since we wanted to use the four main characters from the Karate Kid movie within our puppet show we used the scenes which showed each of these animals to depict who represented each the most. We decided on the tiger to be a representation of Daniel as his character was represented with the tiger within the leader board in the championships, while Johnny was represented as the dragon. This made sense as the tiger is said to signify strengthening of the bones which is what Daniel is training to do, hes weak and needs to train to be better. Johnny is the Dragon which signifies flexibility, courage and energy which relates to Johnny as he is more educated in the art of karate than Daniel and has a lot of courage. Mr Miyagi is the Crane which signifies vitality, balance and fast foot movements which relates to Miyagi as he has a strong and active energy, giving continuance of life especially in Daniels. The snake represents the evil sensei, this is very accurate as it signifies strength, internal power and to strike an opponent’s vulnerable area, which happens within the movie, as the sensei is able to see Daniels vulnerable area and tell his pupil so hit that area.
The idea was that in the beginning of the story the tiger would be traveling minding his own business when the dragon showed up and taunted him to assert his dominance. The Crane then sees this and swoops in the scare the dragon away, thee crane then takes the tiger under its wing and trains the tiger the appropriate Karate techniques to be able to defend itself if even in danger again, but the dragon tells its sensei, the snake and they go over to observed the tiger and crane and feel threatened by their skills. They then train together and call for a final battle. In the end the tiger won the battle, the snake wanted to strike him in a heated rage, but the crane jumped in to protect the hero. The tiger then bows in appreciation.
When showing this to the team we wanted the crane and the snake to be present in the final fight but then we cut that scene out since it links back to the remake of the original film too much and we wanted to pull away from it as in the 2010 version had the two masters fight but decided to cut that scene out in the end:
Here is the quick rough storyboard to get a basic idea of what we are going for:
As we wanted to incorporate the historical factors into the artifact we started looking into Karate itself. Kristina found a lot of good information like how Karate itself comes from Ryukyu Islands where Chinese visitors influenced martial arts, it has deep roots associated with China but the art itself is recognised as a Japanese sport by the World Karate Federation. More information on this can be found here.
After showing the team the idea we all agreed and began to work on the Puppet show set up. I had brought in necessary resources I could find so that we could create the jointed puppets, such as the wooden bamboo skewers, brass fasteners and tape that wouldn’t rip the paper. When creating the puppets I need to decide what sort of look I should go for when creating them, so I tested different styles to see what works best for the puppet and showed the team. Both Kristina and Jonny seemed to like the left style more thinking that it would also suit the background style that we are going for.
We ended up changing the Chinese Puppet Theatre into just the paper jointed puppets, based off of Brittney Lee’s paper art, as we thought that doing the puppet show solely like a Chinese Puppet theatre it would be too complicated to do with the limited resources that we have and as well as the time that we have.
We got a box which we thought would be good to use for the puppet show, we then worked together to make props for each scene breaking them down into, backdrop, forestry and plants, the animals and misc (which included things like the lighting templates, wind and fire made from tissue paper and extras that we though added more to the scene). As we had a lecture on cinematography and various camera angles we wanted to create something digitally and put our learning and knowledge into practice incorporating what we had learned. Jonny originally had the idea for different lighting as the Karate Kid movie had a lot of different lighting and effects in the different scenes, so we wanted to be able to show the emotion within each scene through the use of different lighting. So Jonny cut out a patterned sheet that we would then use to shine a light through to create texture within the scene, we also used tracing paper and inked it in different colours to create different lighting colours. Red would be used for the fighting scenes, while blues/greens would be used to calmer scenes. In one of the scenes where the two characters are staring at each other it shows red lighting on one side and blue/green on the other, this is to show good vs evil, yin and yang. Kristina created the fight scene backgrounds using warm colours to signify danger, while I created the calmer scene background using cooler colours. For this I researched into Kung Fu Pandas background scenes as it had the theme that we were going for, as well as it being beautifully done.
I mainly looked at the works of Tang Kheng Heng some of these can be seen below:
As we needed a key for the schematic i create some icons that would represent each character. Daniel being the bonsai tree as there is a scene within Karate Kid where Mr Miyagi allows Daniel to try and trim a bonsai tree which not only bring them closer but signifies Daniel shaping his own life becoming in control of his decisions. The mum was given a sun as she is a very cheerful character and is always wanting to look out for her son. Johnny was given a Dragon as this was how he was portrayed in the movies leader board, the dragon also signifies courage and energy. Mr Miyagi was given the Yin and Yang symbol as this can have the meaning of peace as it shows light and dark, which Miyagi is trying to teach peace to Daniel. Johnny’s squad was given Bamboo as bamboo grows together and is usually very compacted together which in the movie you always see johnny’s squad together and in the shadow oh johnny himself. Freddy was given the water symbol as Daniel met Freddy at the pool of his apartment building. Ali was given the Chinese symbol for love, this is because Ali is Daniels love interest within the movie. Ali’s Parent were then given the Chinese symbol for wealth as they are seen as upper class citizens, they look down upon Daniel when they here where hes from and see the run down car that his mum drives, instantly showing that the parents only care for wealth and status. The evil Sensei was given the icon of the Cobra as this was the animal we seen when he introduces us to the karate competition that is being held.
When looking up a style for these icons I looked into Vecteezy‘s style for icons as they are very simplistic. I wanted to take the simplistic but also incorporate the sort of style we were going for our artefact. Here is what I came up with below:
Kristina then took the information that the team had formed together on Excel and created the schematic. We wanted to show the schematic as a bonsai tree, as mentioned before the bonsai tree is an important factor within the film
For the narrative I thought that it would be a great idea to get Yuan to say our narrative in her native tongue, Chinese, as I thought it would give the puppet show a better feel for theme. This idea came because of Conánn and Yuan’s recent lecture as they talked about how one of last years group asked Big Brothers narrator to narrate their 15 second film, if you don’t ask you will never know if it will happen.
When thinking of the narrative we looked at the Three Brothers video from Harry Potter which we felt had a great narrative to it and wanted to get this sort of feel for our own film. You can see this below;
This is the narrative that Kristina came up with which was beautifully written, she did a perfect job at portraying the story. Kristina then passed it on to me and I added a bit in the middle so that it would make the story make sense where it may seem a bit confusing in our video that we create. Kristina also came up with the name for the puppet show, The Tale of the Tiger and the Dragon, which I felt really suited the story.
The Tale of the Tiger and the Dragon Narrative
Tiger, Dragon, Snake and Crane. This unusual mix will eventually disturb the harmony and these four extremes will want to be the best, the most feared, and the strongest.
Tiger is wondering, minding his own troubles when a challenger appears in order to assert his dominance. The dragon taunts and teases, challenging the power of the tiger.
Resistance is futile. Tiger is defeated.
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers. A mighty Crane flies in and protects the Tiger, offering his knowledge and skill to defeat the evil.
The Crane decides to take the Tiger under its wing and train together in peace and tranquility.
However the Dragon told his mentor, the contentious Cobra, about what happened so they go out to spy on the Crane and Tiger. Feeling threatened they observed their synchronized dance, feeling as though they need to get stronger.
Evil wastes no time, they crave to stay at the top of the chain even if their methods are flawed. They will request a duel to settle a winner once and for all but they will never mention the rules and exemptions as to what is ‘winning’.
There’s a difference between a fight to kill and a fight to win. Killing is ruthless and cold, there’s no space to be a loser. Fighting to win will still have a consequence of losing, but it does not equal the same value as your death.
A tiger will fight fairly obeying the Gods, evil does not hold such a thing so their only target is winning. There are times that some battles you take part in are not meant for you. Even if you are victorious, there are dangers lurking ahead. Be attentive trust your intuitions, let the Gods decide on who will bring harmony into the animal kingdom once more.
Here are the audio files via Dropbox
After filming all of the footage and Jonny was taking care or editing it all together we realised that this was going to be a way too long of a film and since Kristina was away at the time Jonny started to stress, so that’s when I suggested to turn it into a trailer which Jonny agreed to. When Kristina arrived she was a little skeptical about the trailer but we assured her that it will turn out okay. For the trailer we knew we wanted to rail people in with it, we wanted to show the some of the intro shots and some of the training shots to show some of the story and we added the first paragraph of the narrative that Yuan recorded for us so that not only does it explain the story in Chinese but it adds to the theme, giving the audience a feel for the what the film will be about and then at the end it show the title of the film “The Tale of the Tiger and the Dragon. Jonny then took this information looked through the clips that we had taken and chose the ones that suited best, sewing it all together.
I really love how it has turned out, I feel like our team did a really great job and I would work with them again in a heartbeat.