April 01, 2012

'Why "The Last Run" is not the last...'

This year will mark the fifth year of The British Railway Stories on Youtube. In five years, we've seen eighteen episodes, and as you may have guessed by the title and end sequences of the episode last week, that was the “final” episode...of the model incarnation of this series.

After five years, I've put the models to bed. There were such restrictions with the set: I couldn't take the engines away from Copley Hill enough. There has not been enough space, or time, money and talent to produce a way of making the OO scale models compete in an increasingly crowded Youtube scene. I want this series to go above and beyond “what can be done” elsewhere, and if that means moving into CGI – so be it. It is the characters, their story-lines and my direction which makes them what they are, not necessarily the medium.

I mean, in the last three years we saw four episodes in the model format. FOUR. Two episodes a year. It was clearly not good enough. Development became painful. Yes, I had certain things understandably get in the way. The English degree had to come first, as did my health at one point, and now, with a full time and then some, job, the series was taking a back seat.

It has been disheartening. I have had all of these scripts - and yes, there were 30 episodes written, ready, planned, storyboarded, even lines recorded - but none of the last twelve were film-able in the time, space, and energy that I had.

Moving the series to CGI (as is quite likely at this point in time) will offer up a new dimension. Episodes can be made in batches more easily. I have experimented, quietly, in Trainz (but the final software is likely to be a mix of Train Simulator 2012 software and purpose built models to function within that game's basic framework), and the possibilities of CGI are enormous. Imagine Copley Hill, Leeds Central, many of the stations in-between and King's Cross and top shed, recreated in CGI...the possibilities are endless.

Particularly when added into the mix, I can adapt the software to run a specific graphics engine and colour palette, thereby tying in the films much more closely to the artwork of the upcoming first book (and hopefully, future instalments).

Will we see old episodes return? Yes. We will see the original Episodes 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 return in the new format, in various forms. The others are not good enough and will be replaced by the original intended scripts in a few cases, and all new story-lines in others.

New characters are planned, new and specific historical locations which were not possible in the model format, and perhaps the thing which has me jumping for joy, faces which can be much more animated than their white clay alternatives.

Above all, I am making The British Railway Stories for 2012, not 2007, as it was when it first appeared on Youtube. The models have served us well, but the characters and their story-lines will be better served in a new, less restrictive format.

So once again, I say, firmly - “this is not the end. This is the end, of the beginning”.

These are the stories we tell...


Anonymous said...

Whilst it's sad to see the models go, it's good that the intended vision for the series, and these characters, will live on through a less restrictive CGI format. This, indeed, seems to be just the end of the beginning. Exciting times. :)
I must ask, though - will some of the unused scripts (eg. from the original version of 18 through to 29) be adapted in this new format?

Anonymous said...

While I will be sad to see the models go, I am very glad to see the series turn a new leaf.
(to be honest im just glad its continuing, i love those engines)

Anonymous said...

Will gronk appear in other liveries like on your brws site and will "tornado and the last run to cross" still exist in the new format?

Bram of BramGroatFilms on YouTube said...

Out of curiosity,are you still going to provide all the voices yourself for the new format?

Larger Seagullane said...

To add to that will you change the destruction of the original Sir Ralph Wedgwood to match what really happened?