Friday, 27 February 2015

Fantastic Voyage: Research and initial thoughts

So I narrowed down my research and picked the slime mold. I feel like the other three examples we can choose from are way too malicious and serious, and after my last script for the previous project I feel like I need something more positive to focus on.
The thing that triggered everything for me was the youtube lecture of Dr. Peter Klappa saying that when starvation occurs, the amoebas mold together and turn into slime. This gave me the idea of a village full of amoebas that eat happily all summer and co-exist in a peaceful place (maybe on top of a tree trunk?) until the food runs out and they need to form a different organism in order to survive. I really like this idea of transformation and I think there is very rich narrative in outside stimuli that trigger the good qualities in a community. So perhaps the amoebas are a bit selfish at first and egoistical but they soon discover that they need to work together if they want to survive.

 This video explains a lot about the slime mold, as points of interest:
-Scientific Name: Physarum Polycephalum (a lot of character names could be derived by those two words).
-Largest single cell organism on earth.
- Primitive life forms with sophisticated talents.
- Slime molds can solve simple mazes.
- Slime molds love oat flakes
-Constantly pulsating, almost resembles breathing (maybe breathing can be the sound for the slime mold?)

In this video, the narrator, mentions that slime mold forms mostly in Autumn, which is perfect for my little story, the citizens can have feasts all summer and when the first leaves start to fall in the distance, hunger strikes and the slime mold forms.

I love the direction of this video, it represents the slime mold as "more" than just a mold, it touches upon powerful words which the viewers can relate to - intelligence, self-sacrifice, the music is powerful in its simplicity as well and I love the black and white, "grainy" quality of the video.

A picture of the amoeba before the transformation into a slime mold:

The art direction I want to follow is definitely from the game "World of Goo" where you need to solve puzzles by combining "slime balls" into a bigger creature (or a bridge), the style and music are just perfect for the tone of the animation I want to create too:
 ("world of goo" screenshot)

and here is a quick trailer for the game:

Slime mold amoeba:, (2015). Slime Molds. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2015].

"World of Goo" screenshot:, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2015].


  1. Hi Vlad

    These are some interesting thoughts. I like the idea that when winter comes all the amoeba decide to get together in order to survive.

    Your research indicating that slime moulds can eat oats and are capable of movement is very interesting, so having them all share their food when they congeal (when things start getting cold they could start hugging?) is definitely a logical direction to take with the story.

    Just a warning: If you're going for children as your target market, having the slime pulsating and breathing could potentially come off as a bit creepy.

  2. Thank you Mark!
    If the art direction gets the green light i would use similar sounds as in the game I suggested, it will not be heavy breathing, but gentle and exaggerated high pitch breaths of air :)
    Thanks again though :)

    1. Okay that could work. Still not sure on the pulsing, looking at the timelapse BBC video you linked it looks as though it's a gradual pulse, slow enough to maybe be missed by the human perception of time.

      It's cool that you found it out though, makes the stuff look really alive!