The desire to tell stories and create fantasy comes at a young age. Having an imagination unrestricted by social expectations and a naivety to dream up impossible combinations is a quality that adults strive for and very few can achieve. Georges Méliès, one of cinemas pioneering directors took us on a Voyage to the Moon in 1902. Michel Gondy and Bjork ventured into the forest of human behaviors.
Nowadays, technology has granted us even greater abilities to travel through time and space. Before these creative tools turn into weapons of vanity in teenage life, we wanted to use them to empower children with the skills to help imagination trump narcissism.
A Superhero Origin Story
During my studies in film and screenwriting, I needed cash. A friend of mine told me about this great job she had where she adorned glittering dresses and acted ridiculous all weekend – making more money than our peers pouring pints. Studying Australian cinema at the time, I had Pracilla sized dreams of being part of the next Strictly Ballroom, so this shiny job in entertainment sounded perfect.
Everyone will have a job interview in life where they walk in and are immediately overwhelmed with an urgency to escape. Imagine that situation but in a tiny blocktower flat, with a 7-foot tall South Australian man, taking you into his bedroom to try on a Spiderman costume. Those who know me appreciate that this isn’t the strangest place my curiosity has led me so I obliged and thus began my eight year career working for Andre the giant at Superheroes Inc. – Sydney’s Premiere Children’s Entertainment Company.
I busted through the doors of the rich and famous, doing more than 700 parties dressed up as Pirates, SuperHeroes, Jedis and Soldiers and the occasional “special request” – reporting back to Andre at HQ with insights on how we could improve parties, develop inventive narratives, improvise hilarious gags that never fail and the secrets to guarantee a tip at the end.
The company grew, and my studies ended, but Andre and I continued working together, developing new concepts for parties and events. In the drawing room, there was one concept that would re-emerge time and time again. What if we merged green screen film-making with a live interactive children’s party?
WORKSHOP AND FLOP
We began experimenting with our friends and family, trying to construct the perfect balance of fun and function. We wanted the excitement of kid’s parties applied to a film set. Cue crickets. As anyone knows – filmmaking is long, with a lot of waiting, disappointing retakes, frustrating technical issues and unmanageable egos.
We struggled, stumbled and had some genuine surprises. But the breakthrough moment came when the lumbering Andre walked in with a tiny book, half the size of his palm. It was our first copy of ‘You’ll like this film because you’re in it’ by Michel Gondry.
This memoir of how Gondry had built his own interactive film workshop became the how-to manual which laid the foundations for how we could make our film-party-thing happen. We found ways to improve on it, adding and removing, testing and measuring until we eventually came up with the perfect storytelling experience.
But there was still one major issue, Gondry was permanently set up in a New York art gallery with staging, props and film lighting. How could we achieve that!?
Through a lot of trial and error, we began designing a portable, greenscreen studio, which would get us as close as possible to a Hollywood chroma studio. And thus – the Keyube was born.
This mobile film studio would pop-up in living rooms, shopping malls, back gardens and sporting events.
We would adapt the studio to create event photo booths which would print out images instantly, creating billboards for fanzones, signed memorabilia, birthday cards – and even a time capsule for a now defunct nightclub. We will check back in with that one soon.
We developed an app which would instantly transfer files from the system to an iPad which patrons would enter their details to be sent their photos – turning the creative experience into a data point.
We expanded the narrative universe by writing templates which would lead users through different worlds, creating our own digital assets that extended the playspace out into intergalactic territories, pirate coves, villainous mountains and city skyscrapers.
As technology gets faster and smaller, Superflicks has evolved again and again, taking its format into Zoom during the pandemic and mobile for the TikTok generation.
If you would like to learn more about Superflicks, get in touch by booking a meeting here.