Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Frozen: A Study

I'm on Christmas break and "Do you want to build a snowman?" is everyone's LSS. I love Frozen's songs. And I have a feeling a lot of women my age can relate to being both foul and fair while wishing someone would realize that they have frozen hearts worth mining. I love the concept. I love the idea. I love the messages they were trying to impart. But is it just me, or is Disney storytelling getting a little... lazy?

I'm not trying to bash Frozen, let's get that straight. I love Disney and I think they should continue making 3D movies with songs. What I am about to say here are merely my observations and opinions and does not in any way mean to demean the film. I think it's a good study, though, of a good concept that wasn't developed properly.


For one, Elsa was a character with such potential, but I don't think they set her motives and emotions down very clearly. She's free. Free from what? Nobody was trying to control her. Her parents? Show that some more. Make the audience feel the suffocating control over her life as heir. Play on her guilt some more.

She says she's letting go. What is she letting of? Her not being able to use her power? Show that she liked her power in the first place. That way there's a conflict, an internal struggle going on. The whole idea of having to play the good girl has so much emotional potential. They should have used it some more. She had this whole glamorous transformation, but it was all clothes. It never translated to her powers or her attitude. Given the story, the song shouldn't have been "Letting Go." It should have been "Shutting In." She wasn't defiant, as the song would have us feel. She didn't rise like the break of dawn.

For a character, she never really decided to do something that was not based on her fears. For a character, she didn't really grow. And the way she suddenly realized love was the answer at the end of the film, then automatically suddenly knew how to control her powers was one of the points I particularly referred to when I said the storytelling was lazy.

Then there's Anna. She was portrayed as the happy spirited girl who was supposed to be needy for love. She wasn't needy for love. It wasn't quite shown, anyway. Yes, she keeps trying to reach out to her sister. But show some effects. Show how this has affected her. If, as they imply, her sister's shutting her off gave rise to a complex, show the complex.

In storytelling, we have what we call the "Sho" or the support stage. When you show a fact, the next stage is to support the fact. When you present the character as a damaged character, support that statement by presenting some situations that show him in that light. So if you want to show Anna as a girl who is hungry for love, present that fact and SUPPORT that fact with some situations. As a result if her being alone, she was presented as a girl who would jump too quickly into a relationship: the one with Hans. Okay, it was presented. Where's the support? What is the implication of jumping in a relationship too quickly? You get burned? What if we added an incident in the past where she was burned when she jumped in without thinking? That will give Elsa's words more weight, wouldn't it?

The love story was an afterthought. She didn't really long for it. It wasn't presented as something she sought after as a result of her sister's reclusiveness even though that was supposed to be the intent. Anna has been going after Elsa's attention for the longest time. Why the sudden shift to a man? This needs a trigger.

Let's go to Kristoff. Kristoff loved the ice. He was fascinated with the snow as Elsa and her family rode by at the beginning of the movie. When Kristoff and Anna saw Elsa's ice castle, Kristoff was fascinated with the workmanship. They didn't use this information very much. Imagine if Elsa suddenly encounters this man who thinks her powers are awesome. Wouldn't it be such a refreshing change for Elsa from how her parents always regard her power as something to be feared? I don't know what the writers originally planned, but I can't help but think the Frozen Heart song was supposed to be a foreshadowing of a relationship between the ice queen and a man who is fascinated and a bit afraid of what she can do. And only a man who knows the art and science of ice can appreciate the beauty and power of it.

I'm sad for Hans. It felt like he was discarded. It felt like the writers suddenly changed their minds about who to give to Anna, but since part of the film was already animated, it was decided to conveniently get Hans out of the way by turning him into a bad guy at the end of the film. The character isn't consistent. He was fun and sweet and maybe a little naive in the beginning of the film. Then suddenly, he was ruthless in his ambition. Inconsistent characterization. One may argue that he was hiding it. But even if you hide motive, personality will come through. Let him be more than willing to take the power Anna gave him as the one in charge. And go beyond. Do things some people would question if the sisters would allow should they be running things.

Again this is just my opinion, but I think the story team should have sat down and threshed out the story a bit more.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What to Expect from Komikasi in 2014

Merry Christmas, dear Readers! Whew, 2013 has been quite an eventful year. Before anything else, let me just say thank you to all of you for being part of my year, for the friendships, and for supporting Komikasi's various endeavors. It still warms my heart when, at the mention of Talecraft, people's eyes light up as they tell me they play my first game. May the coming year bring you joy, love, and an adventure that would allow you to take people on a journey of epic wonders as awesome as the lights in your eyes.

I'd like to share with you a little bit of what you could expect from Komikasi in 2014. For those who don't know, we've incorporated this year. We are now Komikasi Games and Entertainment, and we intend to live up to that name. We're going to be more active with Talecraft this coming year, thanks to Maita Lu, my dear sister, who is going to take over most of the control for the Komikasi card games. We'll be taking Talecraft to more schools so, if you'd like us to give Talecraft workshops at your school, get in touch with us. We'll also be bringing back the Talecraft Summer Workshops. Let us know on the Talecraft page what topics you're interested in. But we're seriously toying with the idea of giving fictional language as part of the workshops. Wouldn't you want to learn Elven and Klingon? For those who have been asking for Boosters, that's the aim in 2014. Towards November. Stand by.

Flirt will also be under Maita's domain. And we'll be doing a lot more play sessions. Send us a message via the Flirt page if you're interested in knowing how to play the game by being part of a play session, or if you'd like to volunteer to lead some of the Flirt play sessions. If Talecraft is my regal eldest brain child, Flirt is my playful second daughter. I haven't taken her out and about in the world so much yet so, be kind and support her. :)

We released Starstruck, our first mobile game, last year. I apologize for the quietness and for the crashing. We've updated to accommodate for the new OS versions so the newest update shouldn't crash anymore. But also expect another update early January. We've submitted it to the App Store already, we're just waiting for approval. But this coming new update comes with an exciting new level: a fight with a beautiful actress who can afford to buy you, your friends and, well... you get the picture. Game and comic artist Josel Nicolas will continue bringing us new and funny art for this hard-hitting action game.

Feel free to share your favorite actresses and their idiosyncrasies with us via the Starstruck page. We'll be updating the game with more new characters and new levels throughout 2014 so watch out for it.

We've also got another game out, just now: Cat-catch. Originally designed by Likeman creator Rasel Reyes, Cat-catch is a cute little mobile game about cats escaping from a basket. And you have to make sure they don't run outside! Featuring Rainbow cats and Grumpy cats, Cat-catch will keep you occupied catching these little critters. It's a free game on Google Play.

We have just released the Android Beta version of our newest app. Behold, Eyetem. Think Instagram, but you've got six shots. No, it's not a video. You control the shots by dragging your finger over the image to go to the next. So, it's like stop-motion animation. Some people call it scenes. We call it multi-shot images. Eyetem is a social network for multi-shot images. Do try it out. We're having fun with it. Imagine what you can do with it and lechon this Christmas.

Help us out by trying it out. We're still in Beta so we appreciate emailed feedback. The iOS version has been submitted to the App Store, and we're just awaiting approval. We urge you to download Eyetem and get creative with it. We made the tool. Show us what you can do with it. And don't forget to Watch us on Eyetem. Look for Komikasi Games in the Explore section of the app.

The one app I'd like you to watch out for next year is Epic Nomz. We at Komikasi believe in fellowship. We believe in meeting together and spending time with each other. That is why we have the Komikasi card games. Epic Nomz is our mobile app that also advocates the same belief. Especially in this day and age where social media is said to contribute to the decline of deep relationships, we thought some of our apps ought to aim to bring people together and adventure together. Epic Nomz does that. It sends you off on food adventures, but you need a party with you. It's currently in development but we're slated for Beta release in February 2014. If you'd like to be part of the beta, like the Epic Nomz page and sign up to be notified at

Last thing to watch out for is the Komikasi Eclipse line. Remember we called for submission for branching stories? Well, it's for a line of games we're developing. The first story game of the line is currently in production. It's a bit early to tell when exactly it will be out, but definitely next year. I'll keep you posted.

Komikasi is really going full force this 2014. And we'd like you to journey with us. So come, join in our adventure to touch the world. Talk to us via our pages. And talk about us and our work, that we may be able to sustain Komikasi and keep creating.

Merry Christmas to all of you. We wish you dreams.