Working within the time-based medium of a book trailer, I devised a motion graphics representation of the award winning science fiction novel Ender's Game which embodied the story and psychological intrigue that only the book could capture.
Ender's game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. Having previously fought off two alien invasions, Earth is preparing for an impending third invasion by enlisting and training young and brilliant children with the potential to save their planet. The novel follows Ender Wiggin (a boy who shows great promise) as he journies through the trials and psychological challenges of rising through the ranks of the military. With the human race said to be running out of time, Ender's tactical genius is pushed to its limits as he just may be Earth's last hope.
Though it had its theatrical release in 2013, the novel Ender's Game remains a renowned story for its compelling narrative and depth of interpretation. Although the film might capture the visual spectacle of ships and explosions, the challenge in adapting Ender's Game as a visual medium is about delving into what the novel is truly about: the internal struggle and psychological challenges Ender faces, being Earth's last hope.
After beginning with a session of rapid brainstorming and sketching out ideas, I realized the real value in adapting the book would be diving back into its story myself and picking out its essential elements.
Instead of simply reciting the events through an expository voiceover as the movie trailer did, I sought to find key moments and insightful dialog which encapsulated the tone of the story. I began reading through the story again. I highlighted dialog and noted key moments until I found the perfect quote of Colonel Graff inviting Ender to attend his battle school (a pivotal moment in the book).
With any time-based project, audio plays a key role. Drawing from the audio book narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, I began pairing the elements of the story with music and narration to illicit a mood of foreboding choice.
Ender Wiggin was bred to be a solider and once accepted into the academy, he spends every waking moment training in battle simulations. These training exercises and psychological worlds consume his life and everyone around him. As such, the trailer utilizes retro vectorized and distorted computer graphics, to create a cohesive visual aesthetic for the entire sequence.
Making up a large portion of the novel, the battle school is a central setting of Ender's growth. Within my aesthetic, having the battle school spinning through space would make the computer simulation feel more convincing and give it a sense depth and space.
However, with my limited technical knowledge, I was unsure how to produce a convincing three-dimensional animation. But I did not let this stop me.
Leveraging my existing knowledge of 3D, I took to the only software I knew: Sketch Up. Creating 3D models, I experimented with the setting to find a wire frame style. Realizing I could save so much effort and time by simply recording my screen as I rotated and navigated the space. Though it required a fair bit of editing to smooth out the multiple cursor drags, this added character and a unique style of depth rendering.
As a trailer for the award winning science fiction novel, Ender's Game, this project encapsulates the essence of novel.
Combining layered narration from the audio book, interwoven with various aspects of the narrative and the visual world of computers and military simulations the story is set in, the trailer slowly builds interest and intrigue eventually growing to a crescendo, inviting both Ender (and the reader) to join them on this journey.