Rabbitwinks backstory

We started thinking about Rabbitwinks in June of 2013. Alicewinks had finally been accepted by iTunes as an iBook and we had our marketing started so the logical next step was a sequel. William had noticed that Grace Slick, who boomers like us will remember for writing and performing the song “White Rabbit” with the Jefferson Airplane in 1967, had turned to painting and many of her pictures had an Alice or Rabbit theme. We thought that mixing her modern art work, music and our classic images into a new but companion story to Alice was a great idea.

We produced a demo animation, with a jazz piano riff on “White Rabbit” done by our friend Doug Riecken, and with Brittney Owens animating Ms. Slick’s painting “1965”; which shows the rabbit at the piano, with sheet music of the song. (Unfortunately, since we don’t have her permission, you will not be able to see it—we’re not GoldieBlox are we?) We sent a “term sheet” to her agent outlining the idea. After a few discussions, it became clear that the amount of money required upfront was not in our budget, so we abandoned the idea of using that material, but not the Rabbitwinks idea.

Rabbit at piano
So, we redid that animation with our existing imagery with a photo of a vintage piano photoshopped to look like an illustration. The piano music is by Lucy Broadwood from 1922 (used in Alicewinks as well.) That animation will be posted here shortly, once it is a little more polished. Here is a still.

The current team of Laura Scholl as director, with Dave Neal, William McQueen and Laura writers and Brittney Owens as lead animator was put together in September. Dave and Laura are co-producers. In parallel, we were working the marketing plan for Alicewinks with Silicon Alley Media (Alexandra Levy and Mark Barker). The marketing execution turned out to take up most of our time and resources, including those of Colleen Finley who watches our facebook, pinterest, etc. Laura and Brittney redid the web site and we all focused on getting the Alicewinks story out for the holiday season. (Alicewinks was named a “best of 2013” by Kirkus Reviews and was a finalist for a 2014 Digital Book Award.)

So, with the holidays over, we are back to concentrating on the development of Rabbitwinks.


Rabbitwinks – The Biopic of the Myopic White Rabbit

Alice’s Adventures from the White Rabbit’s point of view

An eBook or a story book app currently in development.

Story by David Neal & William McQueen & Laura Scholl (& you?)

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we read the story of Alice as she follows the White Rabbit down his hole and then encounters the many inhabitants of Wonderland. The White Rabbit appears at several points in Alice’s story, but what is he doing the rest of the time? That is what Rabbitwinks will explore.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

The White Rabbit lives in Wonderland as do the other characters. They know each other or at least know of each other, but Alice is a mystery, an outsider.

As Harold (the name we have given to WR) encounters the other characters there are two possible scenarios, i.e. either that character has already seen and spoken with Alice or they haven’t. The scene will be somewhat different in the two cases, but there are also the individual character’s other interests, such as the Hatter’s interest in time and watches, the Mouse’s fascination with his own tail/tale, and so on.

We may do the story-line both ways and allow the reader to do a “Choose Your path” through the story. That will entail almost twice as much work (or more if it requires an app to accomplish) so it will depend on the time and resources available. We may start with a single narrative line and add the other choices in a sequel or “release 2” version.

Alice is doing things that upset the status quo in Wonderland, such as crying the pool of tears and questioning the powers that be. She also changes size (and maybe other attributes, such as appearance and dress, which is based on the artist’s interpretation that we use in a particular scene.) The characters will be reacting to these things.

Harold is near-sighted. He is almost blind without his glasses. In addition he is “short sighted” in a figurative sense, that is to say, he does not always think through the consequences of his actions and speech.  “Burn the house down” (his own house) he is heard to say, for example in AAiW.

Another point is that we are not going to change Alice’s story. So when the WR and Alice are in the same scene, the dialog will be exactly as it is in AAiW. However, the reactions will be those of the WR rather than those of Alice.

Copyright 2014 Walrus & Carpenter Productions LLC

Character sketch of the White Rabbit

In his article “Alice on the Stage,” Carroll wrote: “And the White Rabbit, what of him? Was he framed on the “Alice” lines, or meant as a contrast? As a contrast, distinctly. For her ‘youth,’ ‘audacity,’ ‘vigour,’ and ‘swift directness of purpose,’ read ‘elderly,’ ‘timid,’ ‘feeble,’ and ‘nervously shilly-shallying,’ and you will get something of what I meant him to be. I think the White Rabbit should wear spectacles. I’m sure his voice should quaver, and his knees quiver, and his whole air suggest a total inability to say ‘Boo’ to a goose!”

Wikipedia puts it this way: “Overall, the White Rabbit seems to shift back and forth between pompous behavior toward his underlings, such as his servants, and grovelling, obsequious behavior toward his superiors, such as the Duchess and King and Queen of Hearts.” For example, in Chapter 4 of AAiW the White Rabbit says to Pat, the gardener: “Do as I tell you, you coward!” and “‘Digging for apples, indeed!’ said the Rabbit angrily.” Whereas in Chapter 12 he says to the king: “‘UNimportant, your Majesty means, of course,’ he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.”

So, the White Rabbit is oldish (middle aged?), and changes between haughty and grudgingly fawning. He is near-sighted (hence the spectacles) and basically cannot see anything at even a short distance. He is indeed “myopic” both literally and figuratively.

As to the rabbit’s name, we have chosen to call him “Harold.” Most of the animal characters in AAiW are not named explicitly, being called what they are: Mouse, Lory, March Hare, etc. Bill the Lizard and Pat the gardner are exceptions to this “rule.” The White Rabbit is not given any other name by Lewis Carroll. The King refers to him as “Herald” when commanding him to call the first witness, so we have jumped on the name as a pun.

How rabbitwinks will be created

Rabbitwinks will be created interactively. We will be posting drafts of the storyline here as well as prototype animations and original graphic elements. In addition to the story, we will discuss the characters, scenes and so forth. Also, we will be on the lookout for voice actors/actresses to use. In particular, the voice of the White Rabbit will need to be chosen. We will be looking for a ‘name’ voice artist. Suggestions welcome at any time.

Users of this site will be able to comment and make suggestions. Anyone who’s suggestion is accepted will get an acknowledgement in the actual products. If you get really involved, you might even get a writing or illustration or animation credit, who knows? You could get a voice part. We’ll find out as we go.  All suggestions that are accepted will be copyright  Walrus & Carpenter Productions LLC, so don’t contribute unless you agree to that.

copyright © 2014 Walrus & Carpenter Productions LLC