Presenting Concept Trailer For Poptropica: Explore. Collect. Come Watch!

Poptropica Movie Title Card

Hello everyone, and I’m back with a huge surprise to give you all! But before I begin, I might as well explain what all this is. Yes, this is technically the second part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: my script to a film adaptation of the Poptropica franchise! And in case you don’t know what I’m exactly talking about…

Head to Part One of this post for more!

But if you’d prefer a summary, I discussed the case for a Poptropica movie or television series, why it doesn’t seem terribly feasible or even reasonable right now and why it ultimately should happen. I also provided a teaser as to what’s in the script.

In Part Two, I was initially going to discuss the script in its entirety, but then something really made me change my mind. And that was an exchange I had with Slanted Fish over her posting Part One on the Poptropica Help Blog. She told me how she really liked the idea of actually making the movie as a fan made project or web series, and I gave it much thought. I want to give a reminder: that I am an aspiring children’s book author first and foremost, not an animator. However, things were happening in which everything just seemed to be falling in place. It’s interesting that I took a required animation course in college this semester, and for a previous course, I did a full-on animation with self-done voice work and imported sound effects as a final project, even if it was quite tedious. But I did not yet learn how to digitize my artwork at the time, which was not the case for this animation course, in which I learned the basics of animation and animated my digital art for the first time.

For the course, I got new resources to help me cut the time it takes to animate or at least make the job easier. But I know that if I were to actually make the film, it would be the most ambitious animation I would make yet. I am considering the full extent of my animation abilities (which again, isn’t my number one art field) compared to what the fanbase would expect from something like that, and because of that, I’m not entirely sure about going ahead with it. But since I was entertaining the idea of making the movie, for my final project, I decided to try something interesting: to make a concept trailer for the film. This is not an official trailer, which I would make once a good part of the movie is finished and I had scenes to pull from to craft a true trailer together, as the professionals do it. I made this concept trailer to at least find some common ground between how I feel and giving the fanbase what they want.

The trailer that I made for the course was actually a shorter version of the trailer that I am presenting here. It was quite positively received, with some of my classmates even saying that I am capable of making a web series given its length. It was later screened at the end of the semester with the work of every other student from all the animation classes, where it was also received quite positively. I also aced the course, but there’s one important thing I’d like to point out. Most of the people who saw that version of the trailer were either unfamiliar with Poptropica, or they were former fans that are unaware of what’s been happening with the game since they left. So these were all things that I was thinking about when it came to presenting this final trailer to the actual fanbase for the first time. Granted, I’m still confident it will be received well, but I get it if you don’t like some part of it for whatever reason.

So even if the fanbase likes it, and you want me to make the movie as a web series, I hope you understand why I can’t actually do it, at least right now. At that point, it won’t even be because of my confidence in myself as an animator. It would simply be because it’s not my priority. I shouldn’t have even been the one to make this thing, and I always envisioned this movie and this trailer as more of a statement to officials on what could and should be happening for this property by now. Yes, I did not forget the possibility of getting help, and I’m sure that I would likely get help as a way to encourage me to change my mind. But I didn’t really plan to spend my entire time off making the movie, as I have other projects that I really want to focus on continuing and finishing as again, an aspiring children’s book author. The frames in which you see “This Summer” are merely for presentational purposes (it’s also an attractive season for movie releases). Who knows though, maybe I do get the attention of officials, this actually becomes something more and the game is restored to its former glory and then some. And if not, hey, never say never I guess. Maybe I will eventually make this thing for whatever reason, and if and when I do, I’ll keep the contacts of whatever help I get until then. But this is it for now.

So with that being said, Back Lot Island presents to you the concept trailer for Poptropica: Explore. Collect. Come Watch!

Hope you enjoyed the trailer, and I get it if it didn’t visually please you like I hoped. Still, I had a good time making this trailer and bringing my childhood to life before my eyes, even if the pressure of meeting the deadline for the shorter version put a huge toll on me. I’m sure that there were things about the trailer that may have confused or surprised you, so I might as well discuss certain things regarding the trailer’s production:

  1. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of just making everyone look like Poptropicans right away as depicted in the graphic novels, because that simply doesn’t make too much sense. It may make sense in the respect that this is the only way we’ve seen these characters so far, but canonically speaking, humans just can’t look like Poptropicans. Unless maybe there’s some kind of point of view thing there, but I haven’t figured it out yet if that’s the case. So while they were on Earth, I decided to redesign the characters in my art style, as I have been doing with many other characters. (This also really surprised the audience during the screening.)
  2. All the voice acting is mine, in which I did my best to shift the pitch of my lines accordingly during the editing process. Granted, I still don’t imagine the characters sounding like this for the most part, and I don’t want it to set the precedent for how they should sound. For me, as long as I got the dialect correctly enough (the way a line is spoken, not the pitch), it would be okay. Nonetheless, I have gotten some praise for my ability to voice act before during this one summer course in which I read aloud an excerpt of one of my books. And I am actually interested in the idea of professional voice acting with good enough resources and the right roles.
  3. The film is supposed to take place before the events of most of the island quests – only the Monkey Wrench Island and Mystery of the Map island quests are intended to be depicted. I did this as a way for the film to set up a hypothetical TV series in which the episodes would mainly adapt the island quests and subsequent graphic novels. I also did this to feature the other villains of Poptropica lore that deserve to be the franchise’s first movie without making the film feel cluttered, while still giving Octavian the spotlight as the main villain of the film. This is why you see Binary Bard as Mordred, and Dr. Hare in his Rabbot Suit from the Dr. Hare’s Secret Lab mini-quest. (I know that the mini-quest takes place after the events of the 24 Carrot Island quest, but I reworked the story behind that suit so that it was the original model of the bigger, more famous Rabbot before Harvey built it. If the TV show were to make an episode about the mini-quest, it could be a more powerful duplicate.) Captain Crawfish doesn’t have too much of a backstory or prior design, so I stuck to his current design.
  4. You may notice many other elements from the game and graphic novels littered throughout the trailer. Some were pulled straight from the game, while I completely drew others from scratch.
    • Among the ones I drew include:
      • Oliver’s kitchen as seen in the final Poptropica graphic novel, The End of Time, when Sandy is having her talk with Oliver
      • The one-and-only blimp and the Red Baroness’s plane, which fly by the mountains in the Mystery of the Map graphic novel
      • Backgrounds from Monkey Wrench, 24 Carrot, Astro-Knights and Mocktropica Islands
      • The Protectors’ hovercraft and their mansion as seen in The Lost Expedition and The Secret Society
      • Captain Crawfish’s ship, which took forever to make but was incredibly rewarding after I finished it.
    • Among the ones pulled from the game include:
      • Some of the Poptropica island icons to depict the Poptropica skyline
      • A prior version of the game’s map, which I used to animate Octavian’s map
      • If you look closely at the science project that thrusts Oliver, Jorge and Mya into Poptropica, the text that reads “Can Cyberspace Allow Travel To Other Dimensions?” is of one of the same fonts that are used in the game, CreativeBlock BB. The font is also used in a couple other places throughout the trailer.
  5. Since I didn’t have a film studio for where one would appear in a true trailer, I made up a possible production company in Naimoli Entertainment. Of course, that has the potential to be something in and of itself. If I keep making animated videos such as this, I could continue releasing them all under the Naimoli Entertainment banner.
  6. I dedicated the trailer to Mitch Krpata, Lance Fry and Nate Greenwall at the end, given that I intended the script to be for them. I consider it a gift for all they have given us during the time they’ve been at Poptropica to make this trailer possible. And if this becomes something more, I’d dedicate the movie to them, too.

In case you didn’t notice them, there were also a few Easter eggs I littered throughout the trailer.

  1. On Oliver’s desk, you can see the first installments of various children’s book series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, Magic Tree House, Galactic Hot Dogs and Timmy Failure, as well as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Figured out what they all have in common yet? They’re all books that eventually got adapted into Poptropica islands!
  2. When Oliver, Jorge, Mya and Amelia are flying over the Poptropica skyline, the islands shown are in the order of which they were released. They are also all the islands that are either featured in my movie script, were going to be featured in the script at some point, or are just there because I felt like it.
  3. The scene in which Oliver, Mya and Jorge are fleeing from Captain Crawfish on the Viking longship is the same exact concept art from the now rejected Poptropica animated series that was close to being made that I linked to above. It actually appears in Who Is Jeff Kinney?, which I used as the reference. While working on this trailer, I knew that I had to animate that concept art and give it the love it never got. 😉

Well, that’s all I have to say about this ambitious project. Although I didn’t write much of the script as they take nearly as long to write as books do, I did finish writing a description of the plot, and I absolutely love it. I have no doubt that this would be some movie, and regardless of where it potentially goes, I would be super excited to see the final form that it takes for sure.

Thanks for watching, and pop on folks. 😉

1 thought on “Presenting Concept Trailer For Poptropica: Explore. Collect. Come Watch!”

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