Implicit Meaning & Narrative

Parallel Narratives

Taking inspiration from a short shown at the Dublin Animation Film festival, I suggested to the team about using a split screen to show parallel narratives that merge into one at the end. This went down really well as we could do a lot more creative stuff with this technique.

Consecutive stories with different perspectives.

So we tried to break down the script into the most important factors, using the inverted pyramid technique:

picture1RAF Hunters and Navy Buccaneers carried out an air attack on the Torrey Canyon in March 1967. By dropping napalm, rockets and bombs on the ship wreck to fight against the oil reaching the Cornish beaches. A bird-scientist arrived to help rescue the birds contaminated by the oil.

We could tell a story through a bird/seal/unexploded bomb’s perspective.

We then applied the hero’s journey to see what narrative we could come up with.


Gianni took our ideas and made a draft of a script:Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 16.14.32.png

I then went and played about with it to create this thing:

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 20.00.00.png

There’s still not a lot of narrative to it, it’s just an interesting way to display events.

We seem to be sold on the idea of telling the narrative from a bird’s perspective as they were among the wildlife affected by the disaster. Marine life was also affected but with a bird you can go above and below the water.

Jakub had the idea of a white seagull entering the oil and becoming a black oil covered seagull -or- a crow/rook/raven to represent death as those birds are symbols of. This could also work with the split screen technique as we could have the seagull in one panel and the black bird in another and then join the screens to reveal it’s the same bird.

Implicit Meanings

What question do you want to ask the audience? What lasting impression do you want to make? What do we know today we didn’t know then? Why are we still relying on these fossil fuels?

“If our growing addiction to oil was not questioned, our methods for tackling spills were. ” – the guardian.

Ok so our radio script reports the bombing of a leaking oil tanker to try and save the coast and wildlife. Man’s attempt to clean up his own mess just makes matters worse. Gianni used a metaphor which I thought was excellent – If you break something you can put it back together but it’ll never be the same. I think that’s quite a strong message to put across in our narrative.

Some pro-eco messages I liked:

Love this:

The focus here is on the script with minimal animations to emphasis key points.


Applying the broken metaphor to our bird’s perspective idea we could have something along the lines of a white seagull landing on the surface of oily water and turning black as it’s being covered in oil and we think it’s dead but at the end we see it again but it’s now grey. For the black/grey bird we could use really emotive techniques (slow, empty whole-screen shots).

We could follow a bird as it flies through the beautiful coastal area of Cornwall and ends with a horrific view of a burning oil tanker and oil everywhere. The scenery would just get worse and worse and darker as the bird continued. We would get hints such as planes flying past in the background.

Similar to that a seal could be swimming around the seemingly ok ocean floor and discovers the wreck and that the oil is still leaking out. Looks up the surface of water is on fire, interesting colour scheme.

As for the planes and bombing of the ship, that only makes things worse. We could use this to make a climatic build up. Quite a few bombs missed and when they did sink the tanker, they set fire to the oil. We could go from an oil covered ocean to an ocean on fire. There’s also the coast line we could incorporate some shots of waves hitting a beach and the waves turning black.

So the message could be that if you break something you can put it back together but it’ll never be the same and we could express this through man’s chaotic attempts to clean this oil spill up and the fact that they achieve their goal but it’s still a mess.


As the radio script talks about the oil tanker, the threat to the beaches, the air strikes and the conservation of birdlife, we could cover another aspect visually that’s not mentioned but still relates to the event. We could go for a message such as: How long can we do this to our oceans for?, and use time as a way to explore our narrative options.

  • Time lapse of the oil on the coast, the manufacture and end of the oil on the tanker
  • Show all the things the coast has survived: weather, earthquakes, wars, people

We like the idea that we would use the bird as the only wildlife within the short. Showing the ocean without animals then the sky with just clouds would make the audience anticipate some movement and we would deny them this. Then we would introduce our bird.


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