We were assessed on our graphic so I’m going to take this opportunity to examine all of the work we have done in the development of our graphic based on Unforgiven in an attempt to see where we could have improved our work or made it clearer during our presentation.
At the beginning of the project we examined Vogler’s work, ‘The Writer’s Journey’ and used his writing to see how stories and narratives are created in a formulaic way as well as his assessment and evaluation of character archetypes. ‘The Writer’s Journey’ was created with Joseph Cambell’s ‘the hero with a thousand faces’ as it’s influence and had a major impact on story telling. The film industry and Hollywood inevitably tapped in to the usefulness of this book as it, “Exposed for the first time the pattern that lies behind every story ever told’” Vogler discovered that all world stories and myths are basically the “same story retold endlessly in infinite variations”
The heroes’ journey is a story, which is universal and remains constant through out theme body and message. “Our personalities divide themselves into those characters (archetypes) to play out the drama of our lives”
There are twelve points in the “writers journey” which act as a map for the hero’s journey within the story, one of many ways to get from start to finish, but this is a proven, flexible, durable and dependable map. In many variations certain sections/points/steps can be swapped in order and removed if needed.
With in Unforgiven these 12 steps are very clear.
1 THE ORDINARY WORLD
Many stories take the hero out of the ordinary familiar world place them in an exciting and unfamiliar environment.
2 THE CALL TO ADVENTURE
The hero is presented with a problem/challenge/adventure to undertake. Usually the Archetype of the HERALD appears at this point.
3 REFUSAL OF THE CALL
This is the heroes fear or reluctance to undergo the adventure.
The MENTOR can only go so far before he has to leave the hero to face his challenges alone so that he can complete his character’s potential.
5 CROSSING THE FIRST THRESHOLD
The hero is ready and commits to the adventure agreeing to face the consequences of dealing with the problem posed in the call to adventure.
The first threshold marks the turning point between act one and two in the three part story arc.
6 TEST ALLIES AND ENEMIES
These tests help him “learn the rules of the special world”
7 APPROACH THE INMOST CAVE
The hero comes to the edge of a dangerous place.
8 THE ORDEAL
‘Here the fortunes of the hero hit rock bottom’
This is the moment after the ordeal. The gratification of undertaking the Ordeal.
10 THE ROAD BACK
This is the cross over into act three were the hero must deal with the consequence of confronting the ordeal.
Reborn victorious after his challenges the Hero is resurrected as a better character than he was before.
12 RETURNING WITH THE ELIXIR
Allowing the ordinary world to share his reward the Hero is shown to be Just and good.
Clint Eastwood is probably one of the most knowledgeable artists when it comes to the Western genre. He knows all the iconography, imagery and cinematography, which goes into making and excellent Western and Unforgiven, is no different.
“Clint Eastwood himself plays William Munny, a former gunslinger who is now living a peaceful life as a farmer with his two children. However, life is very difficult for Munny’s family, as since the death of his wife the family has been facing financial problems. One day a young man calling himself “The Schofield Kid” (Jaimz Woolvett) appears looking for Munny. The Kid tells Munny about a bounty offered in the town of Big Whisky, and offers him the chance to join him as hired gun and split the reward between them. While Munny’s days as a murderer are in the past, he decides to join him after thinking about the farm’s problems, but not without calling his old friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to join them. However, Munny’s past as a notorious thief and murderer will return to haunt him in this last mission, as the Kid shows a true and honest admiration for Munny’s fame as a gunslinger, even when Munny himself considers his past as villainous.”
Unforgiven uses a lot of iconography, which is which frequently, recurs through out the Western Genre. I analyzed several of the characters in Unforgiven but in particular I looked at, ‘Strawberry Alice,’ ‘Delilah’ and the other Prostitutes through out the film.
The women show some innocence even though they are prostitutes. This means that the girls fit into the stereotypes shown in Voglers, ‘The Hero’s Journey,’ because Delilah embodies the damsel in distress or ‘The Maiden’ who is in need of rescuing and aid from a male protagonist. Munny and his friends come to kill the cowboys who hurt her to fulfill this role. Thus following the usual story line shown in, ‘The Hero’s Journey.’ Showing the call to adventure and the completing of the quest.
In a way this film is like traditional western films because it’s all about getting justice for women and protecting them from the men who have wronged them or wish them harm. The quest for justice taken by Alice and the other prostitutes is like the quest for the ‘Holy Grail’ in the way in which they are ultimately seeking their hearts desire. Usually once this type of quest is completed however it turns out what they strove to gain was not worth the journey and the character can become disillusioned and finds flaws in all aspects of their life there after.
Initially our group thought to look at the violence in the film as a part of the graphic and the importance guns play in the development of the story.
I made a short practice video from a few storyboards as a rough outline of a possible graphic piece based on the film.
Another member of my group (Shelly) took this simple animatic and made a short flash animation based on the same idea, where a cowboy would pin up an anti gun violence poster and another man would shoot this poster 9 times to signify each of the 9 men Munny kills even though he is against killing anyone through out the majority of the film.
After talking with some of the second years we found that this idea for a graphic was probably not removed enough from the film. When they showed us some of their work from a similar project the previous year we felt that we were thinking too much about the story being told in Unforgiven and not enough about the characters in Unforgiven. At this point we felt we should look at a character that plays an extremely important role in the film even though she is never seen as she dies before the Story begins. Munny’s wife (Claudia) has had an extreme influence on his character. In order to examine her character and their relationship better I began working on a short story that was going to act as a prequel to Unforgiven in order to better examine the relationship between Munny and Claudia.
We also looked into the idea of how Munny’s relationship with his wife affected his relationship with alcohol because drinking seems to play an important part in how Munny perceives himself and he associates drinking with his old life before Claudia made him into a better man.
This idea of combining their story and how it affected his alcoholism led us into looking at designing labels themed around whiskey that also examined the relationship between Munny and his wife.
We looked at a lot of variations for the label and experimented with different colours and uses of imagery and symbolism.
We found that blue simply didn’t work well with the colour palette of Unforgiven so we disregarded it as a colour choice.
We also looked at symbolism while we were designing the label. We researched how roses of different colours represent different kinds of love. A red rose can represent a mature love, which has endured through many years, while a pink rose represents a new love or a love, which is recovering from pain. We also found out a black rose can symbolize and unhealthy love which has been twisted into something unattractive.
The tree sis a very important symbol from Unforgiven as it is where Munny is first introduced to us as he buries his wife beside it in the film’s opening sequence. We examined a few different ways of including this imagery while keeping the design fairly marketable as a piece of work.
This why for our final design for a whiskey bottle label we chose a red colour palette which complimented the films colour scheme and we used the scene from the beginning of the film showing the grave of Munny’s wife beside the tree.
We really enjoyed looking at the symbolism involved in our designs and so we felt we could make this into a two part graphic and animate a symbolic piece and personify a rose as Munny’s wife and show how her presence affects Munny’s relationship with alcohol.
It was this idea of created a highly symbolic animation using symbolism and Western Iconography that led us to what ended up being our final graphic, which we submitted.