I started off trying to think of possible storylines for the concept. It was a hard one because it required me to consider what message I wanted to convey regarding the relationship between money and happiness, as my character Maroon goes to buy smiles (happier moods), or metaphorically, happiness. I didn't exactly want a "social message" but it was a profound topic, and I needed some direction I wanted to go in - whether its the cliched "money can't buy happiness", or "it will come find you if you stop chasing it" or that "its a drug that will consume you" (yes, the mind goes into weird places thinking about this sort of stuff!) Of course all this had to be in a comical, or "light" way, to keep it easy to watch, as it is a heavy topic. 1. Making other people happy - The first idea that was hovering in my mind was that he goes to the store to buy smiles, and they are never enough which makes him keep buying he until runs out of money. He then looks for alternative means to get money so he could go back to the shop to buy some more - beg, borrow, steal. Like an addict. To end it, I was thinking he could see a kid or a girl crying outside the shop and give them the money instead, so they could buy smiles to make them happy, which ends up making him happy without the need to buy anything. But then I realised that there is very twisted angle to it that he is getting other people addicted to it rather than actually finding a solution to it. Here is a rough draft of the storyboard for this line:
I wasn't very fond of this idea as it didn't give any solutions in the end.
2. Its not money, and the pursuit will make you crazy - One angle that I really liked (which is not exactly comical) was Maroon having withdrawal symptoms after he is unable to procure money to buy more smiles. Splitting in another direction from the previous storyline, I was considering that after he keeps trying to find money unsuccessfully, he sees this big pile of money in front of him. He is surprised and obviously starts to walk towards it to get some. Then suddenly, the pile starts to move as he gets closer. Maroon starts following it. It ends up in a wild goose chase. We are then at the edge of the cliff, and the money all falls down from the edge. Our character is very seriously contemplating whether he wants to jump off after it, and he does. Then there are two possible endings - Either A, on his way down, he sees the beautiful world around him and snaps out of it, but its too late and the fall kills him. Or B, that on his way down he sees the world, and right before he crashes, he sees other happier versions of him, 5 or 6 or them that he was always trying to be, and they are all stretching out their arms with smiles on their faces to catch him into death. I suppose to say that what he couldn't achieve in life, his hallucinations made it seem like he is doing so by dying. This would possibly be a statement on suicide. Obviously, the interpretation be open and would lie with the audience's perspectives.
As much as I liked this version, I don't have the means and the time to do justice to it, and at the same time have something good to show in my 3d reel. It would require really good effects when he is falling down the cliff and observing the world. But I will definitely consider creating it when I have some more expertise!
(To be continued..!)