Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » Durian Workshop – An insider’s perspective


Durian Workshop – An insider’s perspective

on August 28th, 2009, by ben

Well, I am at the airport about to begin the long journey back home. Nathan’s hugging has caught on with most of the team now. I thought I would take the time to give a bit of an insider view as someone who is joining an Open Movie team for the first time and has also never been to Amsterdam.

The city itself is fantastic! It is familiar enough to feel like home and different enough to feel like an adventure at the same time. The people (mainly the team) help a lot with this welcoming feeling. However, this isn’t a tourist blog – we have travelled from our respective corners of the globe to make an awesome movie!

The main thing I have taken from this week that will be hopefully be as uplifting for the community as it was for the team is that storyline will be king. I’m not just saying this to calm any fears about the story being weak just because there is action – we are all genuinely pouring a lot of ourselves into the story to have it as strong as possible right from the start. We scheduled in several sessions at the beginning of the week to make sure the story was discussed, but from day one nearly all our spare time seemed to naturally come back to story discussion. How would characters react to certain events? Why would the world we are creating work in such a way? What would be the most logical yet engaging way to tie all the various plot points together?

During these times we began to watch the first of many clips and short films as examples come to mind. The language barriers can sometimes be less of an issue than the creative ones – ie. making sure we are all on the same page with a certain concept. For the most part, it seems that our collective ideas on what we envision ‘Durian’ to be are already quite consistent which is an amazing feeling.

Of course you have seen in previous posts that there has been much discussion on other aspects of the project such as development targets, team roles and so on – but each discussion comes back to the story concepts in some way with a resolve to make them stronger.

Epic fun – Epic win! 🙂

– Ben

6 Responses to “Durian Workshop – An insider’s perspective”

  1. BetaSector Says:

    It must be hart for you to travel that long, but I envy the team for the mood. As far as I see from my point, it is hard to get a family-like team like the Durian team is.
    I wish this project will help the Blender community to reach a higher level, and even Blender itself 🙂

  2. Becca (RedJay) Says:

    Thanks for the post Ben!

    It sounds like a lot of fun. I can say that just waiting as an outsider, so to speak, waiting for the workshop week was a long wait and it’s already gone! Can’t wait for the start date!

    Now I need to find some money around here somewhere to get the dvd….. 😀

  3. Nixon Says:

    Hey Ben,

    thanks for sharing your feelings on how its goin on with durian!
    I imagine it as a huge adventure camp with a lot of talented and nice people.
    Hope you will have lots of fun and get some impression on the dutch way of life in that time too.
    I’m way excited on how durian will go public and how it will be when its done.
    I’m very positive on story meeting action…after all thats the classical way of entertaining in movies. With Nathan ‘Huggy Bear’ on the team i bet theres gonna be some love in that movie too:D
    I can’t wait to get the dvd (…this will be the longest period of waiting for something to hit my mailbox in my life:D)
    However enjoy your time in amsterdam with that huge team, while we go out and spread the word of the coming of durian!

    Thanks and kind regards to everyone on the team!!!

  4. D Says:

    Hi, I’m a nobody who’d just supported you guys by ordering the DVD!
    I had a small idea that I wrote on my blog a while ago, which I’ll paste here:

    I do have one idea for the project that I think would make it even more awesome than it already is seeing. That is, the language that the characters in the movie use be Esperanto. I know only of two other films that had been filmed exclusively in Esperanto, so firstly, it would make this project even more special in this regard.

    The language I suggest, I think would be appropriate because it was created to be an international language that fosters peace and international understanding; in the same way, this open source project knows no international boundaries, and was initiated for the advancement of open source software in mind. Another reason is because the language inspires a sense of otherworldliness, familiarity, phantasy and concreteness all together, which would suit a fantasy movie such as this one.

    The reason why I haven’t suggested this yet to the production team is that I don’t know whether they would take to the idea, nor whether if it is practical to attempt to acheive a convincing performance in this language using the limited time and resources they have.

    But this is something to discuss!
    Look up Esperanto on Wikipedia if you want to know more about its background. Plus, watch a clip of Will Shatner speaking it in Incubus:

  5. Ben Dansie Says:

    Thanks all for the comments so far. We did get a chance to experience some of the Dutch way of life, (many places including the institute don’t open before 10am which is awesome) but being a multicultural city this also included things like Thai and Indian restaurants.


    As for the language of the film, that is dependent on two main factors – the story (specifically it’s locations) and the actors. Some actors are quite multi-talented in the language department, but an actor trying a language or even an accent they can’t naturally manage has the potential to sound really forced. Keen to avoid that personally.

  6. Campbell Barton (ideasman42) Says:

    Thanks for the post, since I wasn’t there Im glad you guys are off to a good start, the team getting on together is totally important, and guessing you wouldn’t make this post if things didn’t go so well,

    Your description of Amsterdam matches pretty much how I found it, becomes a home away from home 🙂