I was an action figure kid. I had a big blue box full of them, all from multiple franchises like Doctor Who, Star Wars, Power Rangers. I played with them for years, enacting my own stories with epic plots and huge battle scenes.
One weekend, a friend of my father’s came over and showed me a moviemaking software, which came with a camera. Digital Blue Movie Creator was designed to introduce primary school children to animation and filmmaking. That weekend changed my life. I made countless animations with that software using action figures, army men, cuddly toys and even my own characters I made out of plasticine. For months my father’s friend would bring the camera over, let me keep it for a few weeks, take it back only to let me borrow it again until finally, at Christmas that year, he gave me one of my own.
Not many people know this but I actually had another YouTube account before I started MetalicoOfMeltron. Among the many films I made, a lot of them were Doctor Who themed, featuring my stop-motion Dalek toys. I was attracted to the Doctor Who fan film community on YouTube. So towards the end of 2008, I made my channel and uploaded my fan films.
It was in the middle of 2009 however, when while running the channel and enduring secondary school, that something magical happened. I discovered a film, a film that would have a profound, life-altering effect on me. That film was David Lynch’s panned 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune.
I’d watched many Sci-Fi, Fantasy epics at that point but Dune was unlike anything I’d seen. It was a space opera yet it was artsy, dark, political, disgusting, beautiful and overall amazing. To this day it remains as one of my favourite films.
So, I had an animation software, a ton of action figures and an inspiration. In my head, a fantasy took shape. A Sci-Fi epic set on an ice planet. It would be big, visual and weird just like Dune. Instead of giant worms there’d be giant sharks. Instead of a floating, repulsive baron there’d be a monstrous, alien general. Instead of a fictional spice being ‘the most precious substance in the universe’, it would simply be water. This epic would be called ‘Icesica’. This was a fantasy purely because I didn’t think I could do it. It was too big, it would take forever to make. The fantasy stuck with me for months until one afternoon, at age 13, I got out some cereal boxes, cut out some doors, got some figures and started animating.
My original plan was to make a trilogy; three episodes chronicling a civilisation’s struggle to overthrow a tyrannical empire, a bit like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There was no script. I improvised the whole plot, stealing characters, lines and images from Dune, with no knowledge of story structure.
After months of animating scenes, voicing scenes, animating them again because they were no good, I finished ‘Episode One’ and uploaded it to YouTube. It was the same process for the second episode, only longer. ‘Episode Two’ was uploaded mid-2010. The audience I had on the channel wasn’t that much bigger than the audience I have now but they were certainly loyal. They enjoyed the Icesica episodes and couldn’t wait for the third one.
Unfortunately, my audience wouldn’t see ‘Episode Three’ or any more videos because, in October 2010, I deleted my account.
There are many reasons why I shut down the channel; one of them being boredom. I was cranking out a lot of videos and was, rather naively, expecting a much larger following. Since that never occurred, I didn’t see the point of continuing. The main reason however, was that my peers at school were discovering my videos. This resulted in some unwanted attention. It was difficult to make videos knowing I had a rather unpleasant audience, hence I deleted my account. However, despite having no platform, I continued with Icesica.
I noticed that ‘Episode One’ was 5 minutes long and ‘Episode Two’ was 12 minutes long. These were not the runtimes of Sci-Fi epics. Being a naïve 13-year-old I was hoping these episodes would be over an hour long and, when watched together, would be true 3-hour saga. I abandoned my original plan and focused on merging the two episodes together, making Icesica into a single film. As I re-watched the episodes I spotted more mistakes, more scenes that had to be done again. By the end of 2010 I was 14-years-old, I had now been working on this thing for over a year. Once the two episodes were bound to my liking, it was now a case of finishing the rest of the film. By the summer of 2011 Icesica was complete.
I felt fulfilled and proud. It was done. It was finally done. This fantasy that’d been born from my love of Dune was here, in the flesh, ready to watch.
Why it has taken me this long to get the film online I’m not sure; a combination of fear, procrastination and lack of time. I had many nightmarish fantasies about all my hard drives dying and Icesica being lost forever but now I will no longer be haunted by such anxieties.
Looking back at the film with the experience and knowledge that I have now, I can say with a smile on my face that it is god awful. The animation is too fast, there are countless plot holes, subplots are started but not finished, the dialogue makes no sense (in terms of both logic and grammar) and the music ranges from sounding distorted to so loud you can’t hear what the characters are saying.
Despite the many flaws I still feel that Icesica, for what it is, is quite amazing. It is an expression of many weird and bizarre passions. Passions for epic battles, giant monsters, political waffle, a panned 80s film. It’s an ambitious and pretentious film that shouldn’t have been made, yet it was. I’m proud of Icesica and I am happy that it’s finally out here in the world, for people to see.
I hope you are amused, impressed and entertained.