Blog 1 - Creating The Dinosaur who Came for Christmas
Fri 7 Sep 2018
The Babbling Vagabonds team are giving us an insight into how they develop our wonderful Christmas shows ...
Writing a Story the Babbling Vagabonds Way
The Babbling Vagabonds design process starts with the story we want to tell and a big sketchbook. We talk about the story and the scenes within it, the characters and the locations. Ideas are important at this stage and we try not to limit our creativity. It’s very much a collaborative process between the three of us. We are not afraid of being wrong when we voice ideas and to be honest I think the three of us have a very special relationship. We don’t censor our creativity, anything is up for discussion.
Firstly – What’s it about?
Well, I find lots of the conversations we have at this stage start with me saying:
“At the moment… it’s about this kid who finds a dinosaur egg!”
There’s not too much in that sentence to commit ourselves to something that we might get rid of at a later stage. Maybe there’s just enough to trigger a sense of excitement and anticipation.
We’ve learnt a few things along the way particularly about story types. We start to chat about the type of story we think this might be. Is it a quest story? A transformation story? Journey and return? It’s nothing too detailed, we just let ideas play in our heads for a while. Hang about in our imaginations, think through a few ‘what ifs’ and ‘how about’. I tend to go for long walks on my own, that helps my process. From someone finding a dinosaur egg, and it hatching… well, what could happen? What would be fun to see? What trouble would that bring about? Where is that going to take the characters? ‘what if this happened?’
Let’s start at the beginning…or at the end…or in the middle!
Sometimes we think about ‘the end’, or a significant moment that might happen ten minutes into the story. It can be really fun to think, how could that happen?
We can plot out several storylines, and try those out. What is interesting to us might not be that interesting to a four-year-old, or a seventy-year-old.
We watch films, read books, look at pictures and paintings, listen to music. Adding ingredients to our collective stew. Whether they will end up in the final show, we don’t know yet but they might trigger something somewhere.
Eventually, we will arrive at a plot. Nine or ten chapter headings. These are the things that have to happen for the story to work. We call this our ‘Essences’. These are the things that have to happen for the story to progress.
Then we will storyboard ideas. Like a film. Sketch out ideas – how they might look onstage. Sometimes we will bring some actors in to play with rough ideas too. All the time shaping the story, defining characters and events. Adding the ‘groovy bits’. The pieces of the story that adds to the essences, bring the fun, the danger, the excitement.
All this will take place over the first few months of the year. We will share our ideas with the producers, they will pitch in ideas. Nobody ‘owns’ the story – we are all onboard adding suggestions to the journey.
It’s really fun. It helps create a very organic show, that grows and twists and turns with the additions brought by the collaborators.
But if you ask me now…
It’s about this Kid, who finds a dinosaur egg.
Written by Phil Coggins, from the Babbling Vagabonds
Book your tickets for The Dinosaur Who Came for Christmas this December now.