Creating New Worlds: Ian, Franky and Christian’s SSP

Full map of the world of the Children of Vasae'ah
Full world map, illustrated by Franky

Some Senior Signature Projects change the world. Others actually create one. Enter the world of the Children of Vasae’ah, and Ian, Franky and Christian ‘14. Ian and Franky first began crafting this realm four years ago, but never dreamed that this would become part of their coursework. Says Ian, “It was one of those things where you look at your friend and go, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do this for our senior project? Wouldn’t that be fun?’ And then it turned into, ‘We should do that.’” So, after enlisting their friend Christian, the trio dove in to make a compelling, engaging and totally new universe.

For their SSP, the team concentrated on building a firm foundation for their world; however, creating an entire mythology, landscape and language was not an easy task. It required not only creativity and imagination, but also significant research. “For this project, I read a ton of source material – 30 or 40 books – and used those to think out our mythology, before taking specific events and writing those in more detail,” notes Ian.

An illustration of the mythology surrounding the world's creation
Franky’s illustration of the mythology surrounding the world’s creation

The emphasis on mythology was instrumental for the project. “The point of this is the story…the way to teach people, to show people, is through the story, so I concentrated deeply on the mythology,” explains Ian. Christian agrees: “Mythology is so important in this world because it’s the history. It’s instrumental in everything everybody does; it’s completely intertwined with their lives.” Ian adds, “You could never understand the culture without an understanding of their mythology.”

Franky’s illustrations complemented their tales and provided a visual representation of the world. Because, as she notes, “the art is only as good as the story,” they worked together to find the perfect “look” for their world. “We would take each story and sit down, and while [Ian] spoke I’d be drawing…we’d nitpick all of the details, and then I had creative license to create an image that would tell that story.”

To tie it all together, Franky and Ian turned to Christian, who coded and designed a website from scratch to highlight the stories and illustrations. As Christian says, “There was a lot of back and forth about how we were going to display everything…I’ve always been an avid internet user, so I thought, why not learn how to code a website? It just seemed like the most efficient way to display the information.”

The names of the creators - Franky, Christian and Ian - in the language of the world
The names of the creators – Franky, Christian and Ian – in the language of the world

An interactive and in-depth website is especially important for this trio, as SSP is just one stop on their journey (movie producers, take note!). As Franky explains, “If we’re thinking big picture, if we’re thinking about Avatar or Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, they all started here. This is the foundation for books or movies; our story is translatable to a lot of different kinds of mediums. I’m thinking of this as a jumping off point to other areas that we can explore.” All three team members are looking forward to continuing their work. Says Ian, “As far as ‘finished’ goes, we’re all still looking at this project as a work in progress. I know there’s a whole lot more writing I want to do…there’s a lot of story to be written, and more characters to discover.”

Discover more yourself – visit their website and then stop by their booth at the Senior Signature Project Exhibition Night tomorrow night, June 10, for more. The SSP Exhibition Night runs from 5 to 7 p.m. on Bay’s campus; all are welcome.