Monday, May 13, 2013

DBR Books chats with author Robert Hanson about turning Bluey and The Great Spirit Moon into an animated feature film

1.  You are an artist and a musician. Is this your first time writing a children’s book?

Yes. This is my first children's book. It started off as an animated feature film project. Although I had some near success with some big time Hollywood Producers, I have not been able to secure a production deal, yet! With increasing natural disasters and so much conflict in the world I felt the urgent need to get Bluey's inspiring story and his encouraging message out there as soon as possible.   
2.  Your recent publication is Bluey and The Great Spirit Moon. Your book touches on determination, peaceful resolution and forgiveness. Tell us more about that.

I wanted to create a story that tackled the most serious global issues confronting us in the new millennium. It would offer positive, peaceful solutions on how to end conflict and war but it would also create a sense of complete escapism from our world and our troubles. The best way I could think to do this was through allegory. Bluey and The Great Spirit Moon is based on our violent history, our current global challenges and our hopes for peaceful, prosperous change. Bluey is a determined hero who inspires positive change on his home planet by ending their historical cycle of violence, through his example of unconditional love and forgiveness.

3.  Bluey and The Great Spirit Moon is also written as a screenplay. Has there been any progress made towards making it into a movie or series?
Yes! Rob Hemmings is a world leading supervising animator based in London. He was involved in the Harry Potter Series, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and many other blockbusters. He and his team of experienced 3D animators are standing by, eager and ready to produce the film with an Academy Award Winning special effects company. Now I need finance and distribution. I'm hoping the publication of the book will lead to interest from producers, agents and investors. 
A noble idea but is it an impossible quest?                                            
I created every aspect of the pre-production package: the screenplay, the artwork and character designs and the soundtrack by composing and producing the music. I love what I do but the main reason I did all this was to maintain as much copyright as possible. Animated Features often earn hundreds of millions of dollars and that's just at the box office. Imagine how much money could be raised to empower poor communities throughout our world with a successful soundtrack and merchandise as well! I dedicated the past decade to my seemingly impossible mission, to create the World's First Charitable Animated Feature Film.

4.  The soundtrack recording on your website, was that made especially for the screenplay, or is it a part of an existing album?
The original soundtrack was created for the feature film. It has 23 tracks and goes from the beginning of the film until the final credits. The 11 track album on the website can be listened to with the book. The music is another way to be transported to another world. I play the piano, keyboard strings, drums, percussion, bass and character vocals. The guitar instrumentals were composed and performed by Matthew Collis. Matt is a brilliant guitarist and a close friend.

5.  Was the book illustrated by you and how did you decide on the appearance of each character? Were you motivated by anything in particular?
Yes. I created the illustrations in color pencil and then enhanced them on a Wacom tablet, all hand drawn. Each picture took anywhere from 16 hours to 6 days of intense, trance like focus. The theory was, meditate, go to planet Eternius and draw what you see. It was a real challenge to create surreal drawings of paradise and unimaginable characters. Between the backgrounds and characters there is every artistic element you can think of; jungles, water, clouds, spirits, hair, etc and all of it was self taught and experimental. Emphasis on mental!! Just kidding!
When I first created my style, Computer 3D animation hadn't been created yet and I didn't know how it would be animated, but now it can be thanks to George Lucas! Walt Disney has been my biggest inspiration when it comes to my art work. The original Snow White and Bambi had an emotional style that influenced me. When it comes to the look of the Trogotons I'll thank George Lucas again. A recent review described my book as The Land Before Time meets Star Wars. I like that description. 

6.  What do you want readers to take away from this story?
I hope the truth and emotion in this story sparks a light inside of them. I want to remind people, we are all connected and we are all on this beautiful journey of life, together. I also want to offer encouragement to people feeling lost or alone or in personal strife. By doing the right thing they can win the spiritual battle. Then they can be truly happy. And for those who have lost someone, I want them to know that nothing in this world can divide what love has bound together. I believe life itself has a happy ending. As does Bluey's enchanted story. 

7.  Is Bluey and The Great Spirit Moon a start to a new series of Bluey books?
Yes! There are many twists in Bluey 2. Let's just say Bluey did the right thing but Styx was right. It's assumed that all of the Bully Trogotons perished in The Salt Lakes of Morbid and that they would never make it back. But never say never! Bluey didn't find his mother. He assumed he would 'never' see her again in his life. There's that word again!  

Before I do the next chapter I'll be animating a short film to promote the feature. I hope to enter it in festivals. I plan to take the entire concept to a whole new level of 3D surreal awesomeness!

Connect with the author on his website!

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