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After roughly half a year in the making, Dr Ratty is finally here. Standing at nearly 20 minutes long, it is my biggest project so far. I have done more-or-less non-stop Flash animating for nearly two years and I am taking a break from it for a while, so if I ever do release anything else on Newgrounds after releasing this cartoon, it will be a very long time before I do.
Dr Ratty is a tribute to the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi TV show ever made, with the first episode being released over 45 years ago, and although the original run ended 20 years ago, it had a revival in 2005 which has continued to this day. My cartoon isn't quite a spoof, as although the violence is so excessive it's funny and there is also some quite humorous dialogue, it's a generally serious film.
The plot is simple - alien robots come down to Earth and loads of people get killed. Ratty, the blue mouse of the title, wants revenge. It's more eventful than that, but that is the basic idea. He is just a child, who killed his real parents a couple of years ago and got adopted by a cat and dog named Mango and Fred. I can't explain much more than that about the film, otherwise it will spoil it for you. Because of its length, it will be released in four parts which range in length (the biggest part will be seven minutes, the smallest two-and-a-half minutes).
It is the first film I've made to have a proper script. Also, it has several voice-actors, some from professional backgrounds, involved in the film. Ratty and Mango, the two most prominent characters, were voiced by Clare Hemphill and Kate Donelly. They are professional actresses and scriptwriters from Scotland, having co-wrote a TV show called Cracked toghether as well as having starred in various TV shows and films by themselves, such as Taggart and Trainspotting, a film directed by the recently Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle as well as being generally considered to be one of the greatest British-made films ever made.
Kicking off November and ending this week are two new cartoons from me - "Ratty's Weekend: Saturday" and "Ratty's Weekend: Sunday". I've submitted the first one today! It's @ http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
A developed story with something to grip the audience is always an added bonus for a Flash film. You can't have a very developed story in a film that is one-and-a-half minutes long, normally, but you should try to grip the audience. A good way to do this is have a mixture of dialogue scenes and action scenes. People often think good action films have 20 minutes of mindless explosions in them. The truth is, that is not the case. The 2007 Transformers film is a good example of a film where the action scenes are a bit too long and excessive and many people who watched the film lost interest during the intense, long, explosive scenes of action. Titanic, meanwhile, kept the interest going even during the hour or so of mindless action as the ship was sinking, because of the fact that there was always a focus on the characters saving eachothers lives and their reactions of the boat plummeting to the sea, unlike in Transformers where it was almost a destructive fireworks show with no focus on characters.
In terms of Flash films, though, a good example of keeping the interest going with a mixture of action scenes and quieter scenes is the Brackenwood series. With the exception of the Yu Yu, which was just a three-minute action scene, although the films have no dialogue other than the noises the animals make, the Brackenwood films have a mixture of scenes such as Bitey jumping through the trees like Tarzan and scenes which are more quieter, such as characters getting annoyed with one another.
If you have never thought much about story structure and things like that, I hope that that has interested you.