Thursday, December 10, 2009

Matilda and the Mortician

Matilda and the Mortician is as hard of a show to describe as it would be to pitch. It's about a young girl living in the late 1800's in Oakwood USA. She moved to the town when she was a baby but was always fascinated with her next door neighbor Geoffry, the town Mortician. When I say next door neighbor I mean that his was the closest house to hers. When she could walk she would wander to his workshop and ask him little kid questions like "Why does it smell in here? Do these objects have to be sharp? Why don't you have a wife? Does my hair look better when I hold it up like this? Why do I have to leave? Why did you lock the door?" She's a naturally curious girl who loves to be helpful and loves to make new friends. She often wonders why not many people get alone with Geoffry.

Geoffry has been a local to Oakwood for as young as 7 years of age. His father was a mortician who worked hard making revolutionary embalming techniques and high class coffins. The family got rich by associating with only the high class clients and promoting death with luxury. Geoffry would travel all over the world with his father pitching to those clients until he lost his father to tuberculosis, when he was 16. His mother died of the same illness when he was 4, so the family fortune was left to him. To regain his footing, he took the business back to Oakwood and continued pitching to high end clients but caters to the locals to pick up extra funds.

He invented a cooling storage system that allows bodies to be kept fresh longer, by locking them up in a brick chamber filled halfway with water, where a pump sucks out all the air and stops the body from decomposing (there is a more complicated science to this device that I think is possible for 1800 technology, but I need to do my research) . He created a patent for it and makes a lot of money selling the design out to other mortuaries across the country. He is a genius in his field but being surrounded by country bumpkins usually makes him as the odd man out.

He has a few other friends outside of Matilda, who is self appointed. A tombstone designer that has a similar history to Geff, but more complicated. She is an only child to another talented designer who was crushed to death suddenly by a big slab of motor. Because the father had no will, the lawyers had found a way to stop the family from owning the company after his death. He would need a son to pick up the company rights, so her mother staged an elaborate scheme to turn her daughter into a long lost son in order to keep the business. So now many years later, Geff is the only person who knows the long lost son is the daughter.

There is a local carpenter who is the picture of perfection. He's got huge mussels and a big bushy handlebar mustache. He helps Geff out with putting together coffins and making repairs to the workshop. Usually he's busy building house around the town and helping out the other locals, he's a bit clueless about life, often too trusting. Geff's accountant is always there to point out the good and bad about Geff's business and rarely helps out in the shop ( as the smells will make him gag). Bruno is the russian grave digger. Big, strong, and possibly brain damaged, Geff is the only person who can talk to him like a civilized person. Bruno is usually paranoid and superstitious about a lot of things, causing Matilda's imagination to run wild. Geff doesn't like leaving anyone alone with Bruno, he's not a trust worthy man.

The show idea was created during my highschool years when I was learning about the influenza outbreaks, and how kids would play among the coffins, singing cute little songs. The image of that it's quite how life is in general, how kids tend to make a game of everything even when adults will see something grim. Matilda sees Geff and wonders why people avoid him, he's just another person who needs more friends then anyone else. The show it's self is a mix of a few different ideas. Tenchi Muyo was a big influence as Geff was only pestered by two girls of the town. The mayors daughter, a nice homely girl who loves him for his mysterious ways, and a rich snobbish girl who wants Geff for his money.

The pivotal episode of the show would be about a fancy wedding in the 1880s of a rich and famous oil man. It was so extravagant that the weeding ceremony took on for 3 days. They bought up the whole block of a New York hotel and turned it into a gondola ride for guests to be brought into. There were elephants, swans, and all sorts of exotic animals and dancers to entertain guests (this is based off a real event, but the facts escape me). The nice guy that he is, Geff invited Matilda and her family to attend. Of course The Mayor's Daughter and the Snob girl were invited as well and the whole event it the two of them trying to win over Geff's heart.

While the show has this since of sqewy romance to it, it's also about superstitious events and creatures like witches, aliens, voodoo, and zombies. These are the elements to make the show odd and unique, but most of the show I've visualized as an educational and historical character piece. Because of these two conflicting elements I've been unsure about which network to pitch the show to. I could make it child friendly and make it more about Matilda's growing experience and the creepy people she meets, or I could make it more adult by focusing on Geoffry's morbid lifestyle. It's not a show ment to be on the edge action, rolling on the floor laughter, or dark and gory all the time. I feel that if I can pitch it to PBS, I could have it be a historical piece of fictional entertainment. Otherwise I can't really think of a network to pick it up.

You can also see just how visually different this show is from the rest of my cartoons. It was kinda blocky when I started drawing it but I've changed it to be more real then the other stuff I do. I still don't feel that I've mastered how I wanted it to look, because I want it to be very animeish, but not animated as stiff as usual animes can be. This show wouldn't need to last very long either because it has an ending.

The show has gone through some major changes since I 1st created it, but much like Toby's story I've never really gone too much into the deeper elements of the characters and plots. They're all in my head and I'd really like to know what you'd like to see more of. I've had a few people interesting in this idea even though I've never gone into a lot. Here is a great picture done of my characters for me by an artist on DeviantArt, idgiebay.
I thank her a lot for giving me this great piece of my characters.

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