Sunday, October 16, 2011

Canadian Premieres For Paper World!

Paper World Festival Trailer from Blair on Vimeo.

Here's my new trailer for my short Paper World, which after a success Los Angeles debut will be playing in two back to back film festivals in Toronto Canada. The Regent Park Film Festival is a free children's festival, with my short Paper World scheduled to screen on Saturday November 5th, and The Reel Asian International Film Festival will screen Paper World on Thursday November 10th at 1:00.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Windy Day

It was officially declared a Windy Day, and all three of the Paper children, Beedi, Slip, and Ingres stood peering gloomily out the waxed paper window of their rather thin abode. Though Windy Days were rare in Paper World, they nevertheless did occur on occasion, and on those days when gale force nor'easters bent the construction paper forests parallel to the ground, and howled and shook the Garamond Expressway like a crepe paper streamer, it was best to stay indoors.

Paper people of course had no fear of death or major disability, but rather avoided Windy Days as a matter of logic: gathering one's bits and pieces after they had become dislodged and scattered around the landscape was a major hassle.

Why it was only last week that young Beedi had misplaced her right eye, causing a major disruption in the lives of the Paper family. Beedi had a vague idea as to where the missing ocular recepticle was because she could still see out of it, but trying to get a toddler to communicate that information in an intelligible manner was another matter indeed. In the end, the missing sequin was located inside the Palm Foul's hut, under the roosting bum of a cheeky chicken. The location of the missing eye solved the mystery as to why poor Beedi kept repeating the phrase "I see yellow" ad nauseum.

No matter. A bit of glue fixed everything.

As the Paper children stood shoulder to shoulder indoors, feeling the sway of their home against the strong breeze, they grew bored and began to fidget. A Paper World house, being the thickness of a saggy envelope, leaves little room for movement you see, forcing it's inhabitants to shuffle past one another like cards in a deck. With the exception of sleep, all other activities were held out of doors....but not today.

A bolt of tinfoil suddenly streaked across the sky, causing the paper kids to jump involuntarily.

I could of course tell you where the next bolt of foil lightning hit, how it started the engine of the old Preambulator, and how Slip ran outside to investigate.....

But that dear readers, is for another day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strolling Under The Sea

The Paper World beach lies just beyond the three tiered chaos that is the Garamond Expressway, that circular highway of traffic that spins around the skyscrapers of Patropolis, squeezing all of that urban sprawl into one neat grouping of buildings.

Bimini Beach is of course, made of sand paper, and ranges in texture from the coarse 60 grit dunes, to the finer 220 grit beach where families play and bask under the warmth of the smiling tempera sun.

If however, the sun is too strong for one's papery flesh, it is equally fun to lift the corner of the Cellophane Sea and slip beneath the irridescent blue waves, for the beach slopes gently downwards, and after a few minutes of walking, the blue canopy of the ocean rises up over head, the yellow sun, now a cool green orb shining weakly through the aqua waves above.

It was here under the shimmering ocean that our hero Slip misplaced his left foot after a protracted conversation with a construction paper octopus made him late for his dinner. Scurring home past papier mache rocks, and undulating tissue seaweed, Slip's stamp foot lodged under a sharp outcropping of cardboard coral and pop! he was hopping home on one foot.

I could of course tell you about the scolding he got, and how he was almost sent to bed without his helping of his mother's famous confetti and crayon shavings casserole...

But that dear reader, is for another day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Waiting For Slip

It had been almost two weeks since Slip had gone missing, and the authorities of Patropolis had all but given up hope of finding him, their Sudoku patterned paper patrol cars no longer searching the streets. Although he was prone to wandering, Slip always returned home almost fully intact, save a missing foot on occasion, for it was natural, he was only a wee thing. As in our world, paper children tend to leave things behind, their small centers of gravity and their unusually large heads making them prone to tipping over. Parts scatter, legs detach. Life goes on.

As paper folk are modular, the replacing of one's papery peripherals is a fairly easy task: one has only to fill out a form for the missing limbs, and Central Supply would usually deliver the appropriate pieces over night. This of course, was the reason why Slip had two differently patterned stamp feet, why one arm was slightly shorter than the other.

Every night since his disappearance, Manilla Paper stood on her washing platform with her phosphorescent lantern well past bed time, partly in the hopes that Slip would see the beacon in the darkness, partly because she was too worried to slumber. I'm sure, dear reader, that you can relate to Slip's mother's worries, that crepe paper knot that lay like a lump in the back of her throat. It wasn't that Paper World was a dangerous place per se, but Scribbles were more prone to leaving the sanctuary of the woods under cover of darkness, and one could never trust the unpredictable nature of a Scribble.

Manilla turned and looked behind her. From inside the Paper residence, the bickering of children could be heard, and she sighed, gathering up her paper towel apron around her knees as she delicately prepared to climb down from the washing line platform. Perhaps her youngest would return tomorrow.

I could of course go into what happened next, how Scrap the origami dog began to bark, and how, far off in the distance over Paper Mountain a sudden burst of light attracted Manilla's attention...

But that dear readers, is for another day.

The Embossing Parlour

Three streets north of the warf at Cellophane Sea, on the corner of Helevetica Avenue and 3rd Street, sat the embossing parlour, that place where salty dogs, and persons of ill repute had their paper hides stamped with all manner of fanciful, and some might say, sinister designs.

In our world, getting tattooed is a right of passage, and as of late, a rather fashionable accessory for many youths or persons of the creative class, but in Paper World, stamping patterns onto one's body was still a very unseemly activity. Getting "'bossed" was certainly seen as a very low class and subversive act, and so, when one encountered a highly stamped individual in Paper World, one couldn't help but wonder what would have possessed them to turn their otherwise flawless flanks into living anaglypta. People, it would seem, even when made of paper, do strange things.

Unbeknownst to the majority of the population, Slip's father Kraft had just such a rose pattern stamped into his upper arm, kept hidden by his foolscap sleeves from all but the most immediate members of the family.

Why did an otherwise upstanding citizen like Kraft Paper have such a mark, and what was the secret behind the symbol of the rose?

That dear readers, is for another day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Junk Drawer

It began to rain. A light splattering at first that danced delicately across the tender tulip leaves in the garden, and then, after a few moments, the clouds opened and a driving shower struck hard against the tiny house, rattling the salvaged window panes in the kitchen. From deep within the recesses of the junk drawer, that no man's land just to the right of the old kitchen stove, Washi looked up from her work momentarily as a lightning flash lit up her world....she continued to fold.

It was especially nice paper, this blue and white gift wrap that had been brought to her by the origami mouse who served as her scout. Up the wooden ruler the mouse would scurry, and out into the great beyond of the house, to look for papery supplies to keep her mistress entertained. The gum wrapper mouse had been out of the junk drawer on many missions since she first came into the fold so to speak, and had gotten to know the tiny house quite well. Paper could be found in abundance if one knew where to look: in the office down the hall, or sometimes scattered on the far side of the counter past the kitchen sink. The difficulty of course, was the quality. Was it the right sort of paper? Only mistress Washi could say.

It had taken Washi weeks to sort out a space in the back of the drawer, room enough to lay a square of paper down so she could properly fold, for the junk drawer was crammed full to the brim with all sorts of interesting, yet vaguely useless items: a keychain of the Eiffel tower, a pile of old cassette tapes, bus transfers, empty bottles, and broken crayons all littered the landscape - all items too useless to have lying about, but too valuable to throw away.

Into this drawer Washi herself had been thrown - but that was a long time ago.

Three more folds to go, and a gentle pull on one particularly flat bit, and Washi's newest creation was finished. The creature shook it's blue and white damask patterned head, and delicately stood up on new and gangly legs.

A giraffe.

Washi clapped with delight.

I could of course tell you about what happened next, the calamity that rattled the drawer and buried poor Washi under a mountain of trash...

But that dear readers, is for another day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Dog Named Scrap

The little boy with shiny blue eyes lived just over the hill and a few minutes journey from Scrap's home, or rather, the place where Scrap waited for the return of his owners. Scrap routinely saw the boy with the yellow shorts walking to school, his arms splayed straight outwards in what appeared to be a world wide embrace, but Scrap knew the real reason for this posture: paper people were notoriously afraid of getting creased.

Scrap himself was nothing but creases, a series of origami folds which gave him dimension and volume - a rare object in the land of the flat. Many citizens of Patropolis viewed Scrap as an oddity, and gave him wide berth on those occasions when his former mistress Washi had taken him with her to watch the sailing regatta on the edge of the Cellophane Sea. That however was many years ago, before Washi Chiri and the rest of her family suddenly vanished from the landscape, carried away on the wind, rumor had it.

The boy with the shiny blue eyes was cut from a different stock however, and lately had taken to crouching down on his accordion legs to speak gently to Scrap, swinging his upper body in a half turn for a gentle petting.

How did Scrap wind up living with the boy with blue eyes, and why did Scrap's papery fur begin to molt into a pattern resembling sheet music?

That dear readers, is for another day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Viewing Preambulator

For those of us in our world who get a particular thrill in ascending and descending snowy slopes with bits of wood attached to our feet, the ski lift is an ideal, and time saving device. From the safety of a swinging seat, one can view an entire snow capped vista spread out before oneself, before hurtling body and boots down slope to repeat the process. A bit futile if you ask me, but then again dear reader, you didn't.

In Paper World, the rough equivalent was the old viewing Preambulator, a large hulk of a device which sat in disrepair for generations, it's mildewing papery apparatus snaking up Paper Mountain to the edge of "The Blur" - a ski lift of sorts for the morbidly curious. As the residents of Paper World were not especially equipped for sitting down without unsightly creasing, the preambulator worked on the property of adhesion: a sliver of tape would affix to the forehead, and hey presto! you were sailing up towards the summit.

The view from the top of the machine was constantly changing, as was the view from the rectangle in the sky that lead to The Blur. At times it was a blinding light, mere moments later, shadowy colors would race across it's surface. Fascinating stuff.

The Preambulator had unfortunately been decommissioned decades ago, after the great mishap of '22, in which a paper motor had gone haywire, flinging three paper residents through the great void in the sky. A Japanese paper doll family I believe.

At any rate, the device had been shut down, and over the years, as paper vines grew up around it's cardboard structure, it lay mostly forgotten. Until, that is, our hero Slip decided to take it for a spin.

I could go into the account of his disastrous ride and subsequent adventure thousands of millimeters below the threshold of Paper World...

But that, dear readers, is for another day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chapter Two: Her Name Is Washi

Although she lacked the essential components that would normally make up a face, Washi went about her daily business unfazed; eyelessly, noselessly, and mouthlessly (if these are even words) getting on with things - for she was a woman who liked to keep busy, a woman of accomplishment.

Washi's head was in fact a flat plane, completely devoid of features, and yet despite her lack of the traditional sensory input devices, it could be argued that she knew a great deal about what went on around her, for her slightly concave face acted like a sort of psychic satellite dish, concentrating the details of the world around her and beaming them inwards towards the back of her consciousness. Washi could not only sense where she was in the physical landscape, but she could also tell that the house in which she lived was indeed just a house, and not "The Blur" that the superstitious Paper World residents were so afraid of. And yet, Washi was keenly aware that the house was no ordinary building, for in amongst the various bits of furniture and kitschy bric a brac were "hot spots", areas of intense energy that signaled that despite ordinary appearances, not everything in this little bungalow was what it seemed.

Parts of the original house you see, had been places.

But that dear readers, is for another day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter One: A Gathering Storm

Slip peered anxiously out the semi opaque waxed paper windows of his paper house, his gaze fixed on the cumulus papyrus clouds that had been gathering near the summit of Paper Mountain for the last couple of weeks. He blinked his blue sequined eyes rapidly, a tell-tale sign of his nervousness.

Something was not quite right.

Normally in Paper World, the weather (if one could even call it that) was fairly consistent - blue skies, happy white clouds, and a gleeful sun beaming down upon the landscape, but lately things were different, strange, the air shivered slightly, as if the very foundations of Paper World had a slight case of the goosebumps . There had been more and more sightings of Scribbles in the past few weeks then there had been during Slip's entire life time, and as everyone in Paper World knew, the Scribbles were nocturnal creatures one rarely saw during daylight hours, if at all. And yet, something was disturbing them, pushing them to leave the safety of the woods, closer and closer to Patropolis. Everyone knew that it was illegal for the mis-shapen Scribbles to live in close proximity to paper folk, for this had been the law for hundreds of years, ever since the boundaries between nature and civilized Patropolis had been set by Queen Crepe IV those many years ago. The Scribbles were rumored to be deformed and insane, not fit for civilized society.

Why, it was only yesterday that Slip's aunt had reported two sets of paper pants missing off her clothes line to the local authorities, and this after she had spent nearly three hours painstakingly cleaning pencil smudges off them with a shard of pink eraser. Theft in Paper World. It was unthinkable.

Slip blinked again, and furrowed his brow in thought. Something was happening up on Paper Mountain.

He would have to check it out.

But that dear readers, is for another day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slip's Favorite Snack

Every morning Slip starts his day with his favorite cereal, eaten dry of course, for moisture is disastrous for the constitution of paper people. If time doesn't allow for a bowl of flakes, a loose leaf reinforcement dipped in glitter makes for a quick donut like treat! Though his family have been raising paper palm foul for generations on their farm just outside of Patropolis, they are bartered as pets, and certainly not as food. Even if it's a tiny turkey, an extra hand around the house is always a welcome addition!

I could launch into the anecdote about the time that Slip forgot to milk the paper cow, and the disaster that followed, but by Glue that would take at least another twelve paragraphs.

That dear reader, is for another day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Paper Folk Travel

Here Slip demonstrates his preferred method for long distance travel, though of course this is only an example as the envelope and postage are vintage and fit only for use as a cottage or cozy retreat. How does one get mailed without any money for postage, when the people of Paper World simply barter for all that they require? Those clever creatures have found a way! Simply reverse the destination and sender address, climb into an envelope, and wait for someone to throw you into a mailbox. Even without postage, the post office is legally required to "return" the mail. Scandalous.

I could go into the disastrous fax machine caper of 1992, in which Slip's forbearers very nearly took over the planet by dialing clones of themselves to the four corners of the globe....

But that dear readers, is for another day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An X-Ray Image Of A Typical Paper World Resident

Modular body parts, floating bones, and a comparatively tiny brain makes for a happy boy! After his capture during his fourth outing from Paper World, Slip was analyzed by the country's top scientists. The conclusion: ignorance really is bliss. The actual mode of conduction for the electrical impulses that power the various limbs of paper people still remain a mystery, as paper is a notoriously poor conductor of energy. Take them apart, scatter the pieces, mulch and pulverize them into tiny bits - it appears that paper folk are virtually impossible to kill.

How did scientists come to this conclusion?

That dear readers, is for another day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Blur

The first residents of Paper World, those crepe paper and macaroni studded pioneers who migrated from the outer regions of The Great Bulletin Board, often spoke in hushed tones of "The Blur" the vast outer world that lay beyond the safe and snug A4 boundaries of Paper World. The Blur was an immense place full of terrifying noises and colors, so massive in scale that one couldn't focus one's sequined or confetti eyes on the sheer magnitude of it all. It was a land inhabited by bellowing, shrieking, sticky fingered giants: The Fleshies.

The Fleshies were a greedy race, and took great pride in capturing and displaying the hapless mixed media men and women of Paper World as trophies, pinning them with steel spikes through their paper hearts to The Great Bulletin Board itself, or magnetizing them onto the front of Antarctica, that large, humming, rectangular metal box that stood in the center of The Blur - the focus of The Fleshies universe. It was rumored that since it's first colonization, Paper World itself was merely a fixture on Antarctica, but as people who ventured out of Paper World never returned, that scandalous half truth could never be confirmed.

Regardless, up in the paper firmament, just near the summit of Paper Mountain, hung the rectangular void in the sky that led to The Blur. It was a continually shifting mass of lightness and darkness that was terrible to behold, yet impossible not to notice, for everything in Paper World was oriented facing in it's direction.

Why was it there? What was it's purpose, and more importantly, what had befallen those who were foolish enough to peek over the edge into the void and lose their balance?

But that, dear readers, is for another day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ritalin And Apple Juice

The rules of construction inside Paper World naturally followed the inherent logic and experience of it’s six year old creator,(albeit a six year old soaked in a heady combination of Ritalin and apple juice) but regardless were fairly easy to grasp if one really thought about it for a moment. To accurately recreate the frame of mind, the brain buzz that a hyperactive child on this particular class of drug would have had, I would recommend imbibing three double espressos and a muscle relaxant, or, if one could get one's hands on it, the original formula for Coca Cola - that turn of the century tincture which was first laced with trace amounts of cocaine. I digress.

All objects inside Paper World were fairly flat and devoid of physical dimension, in fact the third dimension really didn’t exist much at all unless it was convenient. Objects in Paper World had front perspectives which were pretty and brightly colored, and as these objects receded nanometers deeper into the landscape (in a backwards motion of course, for the front was always on display), they automatically shrunk in size so as to give the illusion of greater depth. One hates over crowding, even in Paper World. Not all objects shrunk equally, for certain things deemed of importance to the almighty reasoning of the hyper creator remained larger than others, regardless of their placement in the landscape – therefore adult citizens of Paper World were always larger than the children, sometimes comically so, towering over trees and cities, and so too were rabbits.....and ducks.

But gentle readers, I am getting ahead of myself, for on that first morning, just a quarter past nap time, as Paper World lay drying on the vaguely smug looking retro 50's dining table in the kitchen, it was of course, completely unpopulated - no cities, no rabbits, no ducks, no nothing. The western migration and colonization from the great bulletin board took place centuries later in Paper World time. No, in those first moments following the act of frenzied creation, while the skies and clouds dried and the rivers and oceans filled with unintentional color mixed wonderfulness, Paper World quietly soaked up ideas from the newsprint below.....

But that of course, is for another day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paper World: Genesis

High up on the front of a vintage hipster refrigerator, in that place of honor where people who have chosen to replicate their DNA display the sometimes dubious creative output of their progeny, hung a primitive landscape, a finger painted forest festooned with splotchy flowers, clumsily rendered apple tree, and a smiley faced sun beaming down in crooked tempera benevolence upon the landscape. This then, was Paper World, and although it was rendered on slightly crinkled A4 scrap office paper barely .0001 of a meter thick, it was indeed a world alive, as real as any act of creation can be once loosened from the imagination of it’s creator and given physical manifestation.

Paper World had order and form, unseen rules to bind it together, and although the sense of perspective was skewed and primitive at best, locked within it’s molecules, deep inside the pulp and paper fibers of it’s very foundations lay the intention of what it should look like; the reason for it’s being; the spark that gave it life.

I’m certain that if you could interview the six year old who finger painted this world into existence he or she would no doubt go into great detail about the scene and what lay behind it, not grand themes or bullshitty symbolism of course (for children are far too literal and sensible for that sort of nonsense) but the world behind the opening vista, the paragraphs beyond the title page, the contents inside the idea: the invisible landscape.

Although it was thin and rather flammable, Paper World did indeed have depth, for if you could cross beyond the row of flowers bordering the bottom edge of the A4 paper, you would find that the green and yellow smears of the grass dropped off sharply, and ran down the steep edges of a mountain valley, through thickets and brambles, over rocky promontories and cliffs, and eventually, into an alpine meadow that gradually smoothed out into a rolling river valley. On the edge of the valley was a city ringed with circular highways, bound up tight like a bunch of paint brushes in an elastic band. Beyond that, a cellophane ocean, stretching out as far as the paper eye could see.

Morning came, snack time passed, and as Paper World dried and it's flimsy foundations buckled up and heaved into hills and valleys (as cheap paper is wont to do), all manner of creatures sprung into existence...

But that of course, is for another day.