I was recently invited to Disney Interactive, which is housed in a small and unassuming business park nestled between neighborhoods, schools and a freeway, Inside, it is a hive of frenetic creativity. This surprisingly intimate team of creatives have been fast at work on multiple projects which have just been unveiled to the world at the D23 Convention.
The first of these projects is Vinylmation’s new web-based serial, Blank: A Love Story. The webisodes tell the story of a small Vinylmation character aptly named Blank for the fact that he is a plain white, plastic figure with no identifying markings. He is an anomaly from the mythical Vinylmation factory that assigns identities to each plaything. But he is not alone. He meets his the love of his life, Bow, who is also lacking in the paint department save for one pink bow perched on her round, sculpted head. No sooner do they fall in love than she is whisked away by the Tractors, a group that maintains order and solidarity in the Vinyl world, and sent of to be destroyed. Thus the plot is in motion for an adventure through this strange, stop-motion world of adventure, danger, and romance.
Full disclosure here, I must admit, I am not a fan of Vinylmation. I find it to be an unnecessary piece of merchandising that I have no use for. However, I know that many people love Vinylmations, collecting and trading them. When invited to come take a sneak peek at the first three webisodes of this series, I was hesitant, but went anyway.
Disney Interactive gave us a tour of their facility and gave us a preview of three upcoming episodes of Blank: A Love Story. The art direction and intentionally rough stop motion animation lures you into a world familiar to anyone who sat, playing with their toys, as a child (just about everyone). The whimsical developments pull you along, coaxing suspension of disbelief by way of its unpretentious look and feel.
Speaking with the production team, we asked where the whole idea came from to begin with. Was this some mandate from corporate? Quite the contrary.They claim the Vinylmation property was purely organic.
According to one producer on the project, someone on the team was playing with a figure one day and took it upon themselves to shoot a small episode. After sharing it with the others on the team, they knew that they had something interesting. Disney Interactive then sent out an order for a huge box of Vinylmation to play with and to create a possible storyline. It was Disney Interactive that presented it to Disney, and of course, they loved it.
There is a surprising amount of emotion and storytelling that they squeeze out of these nondescript pieces of plastic. It is a real testament to the talents behind the project that they built something so entertaining from something so very simple. Take a look at Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story. It’s entertaining, charming, and nice fuel for the imaginative child in us all. Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story premieres this fall.
Take a look and let us your your take on this new project . . .