Gay Man's Health - The Story

So the story for my Gay Man's Health film goes as follows -

  • Men are in club
  • Two of them are talking about hooking up
  • One displays his tick alerting the other they are HIV negative
  • The other displays a ? telling the other that he doesn't know what his HIV status is.
  • The first looks concerned and displays some math that says a tick + a ? = (scribbles)
  • The first one then looks upset and asks why a tick + a ? can't = <3 
  • To which the first one flat out tells him it can't by using a stop sign
  • We then pan to the next set of characters who are having the same conversation but things are going well for them.
  • Both characters display their ticks and then a love heart appears over their head that says they are a ok to move forward.
  • panning again we join a character moving through the space scanning the area for someone he's interested in. He moves past a character who already knows his HIV status is bad and ignores him
  • And then another who has a "?" to display
  • He then passes a character sitting at the bar looking rather distraught. We then stay with this character for some time.
  • He is staring down at his phone expectantly - the phone displaying a loading style "..."
  • He then displays a very distressed scribble telling us that he thinks his night is ruined and he should maybe just go home because
  • but then an envelop appears on his screen telling him he has mail
  • He opens the mail and his demeanour changes entirely he's happier now and much more confidant. 
  • He signals to the bar man and then gestures off screen
  • We then see the man from early resting up against the opposite side of the bar.
  • A drink slides into screen with him and he accepts it gesturing a thank you to the first man
  • The first man then flashes him his tick and the second man returns it
  • They both then leave together after confirming a <3
  • The slogan "you're sexual health status is important"
  • "to both you and to others"
  • "make sure you know what it is"
  • "GMH" appears


Like I mentioned before this storyboard was born out of no where this was completely organic and I actually love so many things about it. I like that I didn't let myself think to hard about it to begin with because I feel like I captured the completely organic nature of flirting quite well. I really liked the style of the characters. They're basic level of design allows them to be very expressive. With the message of the film being very obvious as to state it at the end I feel like overly complicated characters aren't going to take a lot of unnecessary time to create and animate. They don't have to be that complicated so why make them that way?

In term of the camera shots I wanted to make this film quite stylised which is why I chose lintless characters (I think they're really soft and with the background I think it clashes less) and I picked that bright pink and purple gradient background. I love working with bold colours, it's very me. I think they grab your attention and as this film is most likely to be watched on phones and tablets then I want to make sure you can really see what is going on with the characters. So I took a screenshot of my concept art imbedded in this site to see how the characters were holding up on a device screen and here it is:

(screenshot from my phone)

Everything was entirely legible and I could see the legs and arms against the background very clearly. Which I was worried about. So that was great! I made the character blue because that's the colour that gay man's health are. So that's really it on character design just now. Sorry it's a bit all over the place haha. I was making decisions because of other influences and things so it made the narrative here a bit all over the place.

Ok so heading back to the story. I quite like it for a first storyboard. I think it got all the points down. I did spend a few days on it and it developed along the way so although it's a first storyboard it's a refined storyboard. I felt like once I had characters drawn that had expressions and real character to them, that they knew what they were doing and it was driving me. Where as before I really did have no idea what I was doing.

I think to be honest a lot of this has a boy who turned yellow influence. Jared played it to an audience of prospectus students at an open day one day early this year and it's been playing in the back of my mind ever since. I love video games, especially the quirky ones. And I felt like the boy who turned yellow had a real video game vibe about it. Plus a quirky cuteness and I think that is featuring quite highly in the development of this film. The characters are styled part way between them and the work of Jotaka who's an illustrator I really love.

(Illustrations by Jotaka)

(The boy who turned yellow - Gavin C Robinson)

I dunno what to tell you guys I love playing up the nose on my characters!

I've derailed a little bit but pulling us back to looking at the story. I feel like the ticks and the stops and the hearts are like checkpoints you need to reach in order to go all the way, like when you used to play an old crash bandicoot game and you'd jump on a checkpoint box and some confetti would go off and things. I feel like it's got that kind of vibe. Or if it doesn't yet that's something I'd like to bring to it because I want it to still feel fun. I want people who are watching it to not feel turned off by the idea of checking their partner or their own sexual health status before they can get anywhere. I can imagine it's a bit of a mood ruiner but it's import and and if I can push the point that it doesn't have to ruin your night and that it can still be fun then I think the film would have all the elements then that I want it too. That's why I like this game element in this film. It's a bit fun and reminds you that that's what this is meant to be. 

The last thing I wanted to do with this film was guilt anyone or make anyone feel scared or isolated and I feel like my chosen narrative does that.

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