I kinda feel like October is the unofficial start to the winter Holiday Season. Holidays are a funny thing. In western culture they're generally supposed to be a time of celebration, but the reality is that they tend to be a time when the ghosts of our past come back to haunt us. The opening scene and song to the film I'm working on is appropriately titled Haunted Holdiay and aptly sets the stage for the hauntings to come for our protagonist Elanor Sharpe.
Elanor Sharpe is a non-binary character parallel to Ebenezar Scrooge, and they are a successful bionics company owner. Hence, the title of the film A Bionic Holiday Ballad. I've largely based this character on what I like to call my "inner Scrooge." My inner Scrooge is the part of me that holds on to attachements, is haunted by the past, anxious about the future and as a result has developed toxic behaviors as coping mechanisms. A Bionic Holiday Ballad is a story of how Elanor learns to let go of the past, embrace the present and not be a slave to their anxiety about the future. It is really a story about mental health recovery and how spirituality can play a significant role in that recovery process.
Because spirituality is a very significant theme in this film I decided to invent a ficticious religion on which the Holiday in the story is centered. The Holiday is simply called "The Holiday" and the central figure is referred to as "The Great Spirit." I purposely have kept it ambiguous and have refrained from referencing any specific religious doctrine. I want the core spiritual theme to be an inclusive one that works for all people. I want people to make The Holiday their own and connect to the idea of the Great Spirit in their own personal way.
I did however create a symbol for the central religion mostly because I'm working in a visual medium and incorporating mystical geometry into the overall design will make the look of the film more destinctive. I was inspired by the number 5 because it's a foundational number in several different faiths. It was a challenge to create a symbol based on the number 5 that represented the core philosophy of the Great Spirit and not have it look like a pentagram. I settled on two pentagons. The outer pentagon represents a human and the inner pentagon represents the Great Spirit connected to all of us. The idea of the second symbol with the colors is that when we embody the Great Spirit we will find love, hope, new beginnings, peace and unity.
Connecting to my spirituality in a personal way has been an integral part of my mental health recovery process. There are certainly other areas of my life that I've had to address as well, but one of the things that I've learned through the various mental health programs I've accessed over the years is that our spiritual, physical, psychological and social health are all connected. I've learned the importance of balancing these areas of my life and nurturing my needs in each of these areas.The creative process for me nurtures both my psychological and spiritual needs. Creating for me is a divine power and connects me to something greater than myself. On a purely psychological level, creating helps me process my emotions and express what's going on inside my mind.
Doing this first illustration for A Bionic Holiday Ballad has been a journey of self reflection. It is for the opening scene in the film where one of the central characters confesses that he feels that his Holiday is haunted. The idea of a haunted holiday isn't new but definituly resonates with me. For years I was unable to celebrate Christmas because of a heartbreaking incident that happened during a Christmas celebration. The ghost of my Christmas past came back to haunt me for several years afterward until I was finally able to let go and lay that ghost to rest for good.
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