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Who | What | Where | Why | When

Graduate Work - Fall 2020 

Stranger than Fiction - UCLA AUD

Instructors: Natasha Sandmeier and Nathan Su

Team: Alekya Malladi, Gesthimani Roumpani and Yanrong Yang

Softwares Used: Cinema 4D + Octane Renderer, Substance Painter, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Premier Pro.

Following a targeted research on memory, we set out to explore the different techniques of visual representation in personal, collective, digital or shared memory which are characterized by subjectivity, ambiguity, misalignment and/or corrupted data. 

The concept art developed during this course were experiments to suggest the ambiance for the film to follow over the next few months. The film treatment was suggestive of a narrative based on visualization of different types of recorded memory. 

character 02.png

Mr. I

A low-tech and low-tier private investigator in his 50s, living and working alone in The City. He has never had any big break in his job, and has no particular achievements to showcase.

Dr. Desktop (Dr. D)

A self-taught computer engineer around 20 years old, operating a small scale computer hardware store. Miss T (MS-T) is his archenemy.

character 02.png

Mother B

A motherboard (object), used as a component of an arcade game.

Misty Data Corp (MS T)

Dr Desktop’s (DR_D) archenemy. A huge technology corporation that feels threatened by Dr Desktop’s talent and is trying to absorb his business.


Mr I is struggling with his latest case, looking for a burglar who stole valuable artifacts from a wealthy art collector. He is trying to save what-ever is left of his reputation, but his only lead is a witness who saw the culprit running into a dead-end alley. CCTV is of no help.

Fallability of human memory
Inciting Incident

Mr I visits the alley area. This is when he dis-covers what he sees as a clue: Mother B.

A mysterious object in the Alley

Examining clues on Mother B, he realizes she is a motherboard potentially holding important data. He sets off to find who she belongs to, in hopes of recovering her digital data.

Mother board
Dr. D's workshop

Connecting different types of memories, Mr I starts his adventure in all places Mother B has been. On this trip down memory lane, he encoun-ters obstacles caused by memory ambiguity and gets introduced to Dr Desktop. He realizes Moth-er B is not a clue connected to his initial case, but is determined to make this his new case.


With Dr Desktop’s help, Mr I discovers where Mother B came from; an arcade game. Restoring the game’s memory reveals Dr Desktop had with-held crucial information that has now compromised the quilt of memories stitched so far; Mother B embodies an ongoing feud between Dr Desktop and Miss T (MS-T).

The Fued between Dr. D and Miss T

Mr I sets off to discover who Miss T is, in an attempt to settle the feud between him and Dr Desktop.

More clues behind the arcade's machine

Mr I hits a dead end. Nobody seems to be able to put a face on Miss T, and he is running out of time; the arcade will soon be recalled and along with it will go the evidence attached to it. Against all odds and recorded memories, he restarts with a clean slate to figure out what he had missed.

The sceret behind Miss T

Mr I bases his new story line on collective memory and finally finds the identity of Miss T (actual name being Misty Data Corp); a huge technology corporation, set on making Dr Desktop fail by attacking his ego and hoping this will reflect on his job. He adds Misty Data Corp’s memories to the story line, and informs Dr Desktop, who finally finds peace. Mr I marks the case closed.

Objects have memories

Mr I is now boasting the memorabilia he was awarded for solving Mother B’s case and restoring peace. He revisits the alley to reminisce himself of his success (his ONLY success). Suddenly he realizes something: all the memories and knowledge he collected through Mother B’s case are now revealing a completely new clue for his initial burglary case; time for a new ad-venture!

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