My WoW midterm combined with my Fairytales in the 21st century midterm.  I came up with the concept of my story in Fairytales and used what I learned in Wow to begin executing. That being said I think it is far from done.  I have about 1/2 of what I envisioned for this project completed and it’s something I definitely want to keep working on.

The myth I was originally interested in interpreting was the Babylonian myth of the goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld. It starts off saying she was the goddess of heaven and earth but wanted to put her ear to the ground below.  She descends through seven gates to the Underworld and meets her sister, Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld.  At each of the seven gates she has to give up an item of clothing that gives her power (or her sense of identity) and arrives in the underworld naked. Her sister kills her and she is lost for a while.  She is eventually reborn and returns to Earth to claim her throne with more knowledge and sends someone else to take her place in the Underworld.

I wanted to make my 21st century interpretation of this myth one based on the Jungian idea of individuation.  The descent to the underworld  represents of her journey into her unconscious where she encounters her ‘shadow-self’.  

The goal of Jungian psychotherapy is “individuation,” which means the integration of our unconsciousness (shadow) with our consciousness (ego), which is what allows your complete Self to emerge.

So before she descends she is only conscious of her Ego and she has to give up her ideas of her identity to encounter her shadow, only once she has encountered, faced and accepted her shadow self does she begin her path to individuation.

Her sister represents her shadow self, the gates are represented by the tunnel of videos where she gives up her ideas, her sister killing her is the loss of her self as she knows it, her rebirth is the beginning of her individuation and becoming her full unique Self.


My tunnel scene is complete but I need to complete the forest and union levels.  I put in jpegs in the video to hold in where I’d like them to go. Video is super choppy because my laptop is about to die with Unreal and Screen capture – without screen capture it runs smoothly,

WowMidterm from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

I “storyboarded” out the levels by staging everything in 3d space with stickers…photos to come


First draft of final script.

“The only journey is the one within.” – Rilke

Forest Level

Opening shot in forest. See trees look down and see body. Or look up and see trees. Try out camera movement if makes nauesous.

Once there was a girl that wanted to know more. She ran Heaven and Earth but knew little of what lay beneath. The Underworld was vast and mysterious. It whispered secrets in sleeping ears and left memories of shadows.There was a weight she felt in the forgotten secrets. So she decided to descend.


Walks down to a cave. There’s a door which she knocks.


But one can’t simply decide to descend.


She knocks again.


Going deeper is a process.  


Door slowly opens.


There are seven gates to the underworld and one must arrive bare.  


Cut to black. 


Underworld Level

Videos in Gates:

Will – put your hands up

Ego – get lost in the crowd

Mind – lose your mind

Sex – getting old shriveled

Illumination – knowledge – eclipse,lights

Magic -cults

Godhood -complete destruction


Walk up to a hand that serves as a boat.  Boat slowly takes you through the tunnel.  

Space Lady major Tom plays for entirety of tunnel.  You can look around but you can’t change the direction or the pace.


Boat exits tunnel.  Rides up to shadow-self.


There’s no guarantee of a welcome.  There’s no guarantee of return.


Shadow-self does execution motion.

Body/camera falls to the floor. Cut to black.


VR camera in middle but no body attached to it.

Here footsteps coming from in front and behind of you.

White and black selves running full speed towards you.


She ran into herself in the darkness.


Upon impact everything turns white.
Wake up in forest. Same as first shot.  Pulls out and you see she’s’ golden.

Inanna’s Descent

I want to make a story based off the Babylonian myth of Inanna’s descent into the underworld.  This combines with my Fairytales final. End goal this would be a first person VR experience but for now a 3rd person video would work.  The story is that she goes into the underworld against the advice of others in order to gain knowledge that she can bring back to the world.  There are 7 gates to the underworld and in each gate she must leave something behind.  Each gate represents something like Ego or Will.  I’d like to make the tunnel out of old videos with a symbol that represents giving that up.  For example Will is all videos of people putting their hands up.

copsHands copy


So your surrounded by this footage when your walking down the tunnel to the underworld.  When she gets out she meets her mirror image.  I’d like to make them opposite colors. They move towards each other. A death and rebirth kind of thing.  I’m not sure yet if I want to continue the story from there.  


Whirl pool that leads to a tunnel to the underworld
My first draft of my underworld
Above ground – neutral no sense of time period. Character will be rigged and colored





I ran into a lot of problems on my first iteration of the underworld. I originally wanted the whole world to be made of water and to take place at sunset. I made a few rookie mistakes that caused my program to crash continuously. I imported 3D models of skeletons I found online but failed to realized they were all rigged. After placing 8 of them in the scene my unreal wouldn’t open without crashing – making it hard to fix the problem.

2 days later I was able to open it long enough to delete the skeletons and then I changed the landscape to gold for good measure. Then I decided I didn’t really like my version of the underworld anyways and decided to start from sketch.

Over the weekend I’d tried a VR experience in a trippy mirrored world where your a robot with people dancing and praying to cats and you shoot cats of your hands. I loved the mirrored visuals in the world. I realized that this was what I liked so much about the water and maybe I could just use a mirror instead and it would take up a lot less of my computer’s energy. I played around for a bit and realized I could almost achieve this with a sky filled with clouds and highly reflective marble. It wasn’t exactly mirrored but it actually worked better.

With this new color palette I reverted back to my reference images and was struck my the one with hands coming out of the wall of a tunnel. Very creepy. But I wanted to make my world beautiful too like the reflected cave reference.

I found a 3D asset of hands (this time making sure they weren’t rigged or animated) and made a black and white version. I then planted them as foliage throughout the world. In my opinion the final effect was mysterious, disconcerting and beautiful and evoked everything I wanted my version of the underworld to. In this whole process I think I did my first application of my teacher’s advice of thinking smarter not harder in Unreal.

Underworld_Landscape from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

La Llorona

Llorona from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

Now this is a true story.  It happened to my friend’s aunt’s boyfriend.  She showed me a song he wrote about it.  I think his name was Paul.   Paul moved to San Francisco in the 70’s.  He was a musician and wanted to make it big.  Straight off the bus he went to Golden Gate Park.   He spotted the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen sitting under a tree near him.  He pulled out his guitar and started playing hoping to get her attention.  A crowd gathered around him but she didn’t even look. At nightfall some guys came up to tell him they dug his music and offered him a place to crash.  Paul asked them if they knew anything about the girl.  They happened to know a lot.  All three of them had tried to win her over themselves.  Her name was Maria.  No one really knew where she came from. She sold drugs in the park most days to keep herself afloat. All the men wanted her, and some women too.  But all you could really do was buy drugs off of her. She thought her beauty granted her enlightenment and she was above everybody else.  They told Paul not to waste his time, she wouldn’t be into him.

But Paul couldn’t get her out of his head.  He went to the park everyday to play his guitar hoping she would notice him.  Eventually his hard work paid off and she granted him a date.  He found out later that she didn’t even care if he was a good guitar player.  She just thought he was almost as good looking as her so he must be enlightened too. They had a whirlwind romance and eloped.  I think they got married in that famous chapel  in Vegas. When they came back from their honeymoon they moved in together and for a while thing’s were going really well.  Paul doted on Maria and they spent their days laying in the park.  But after a while Paul missed making music.

He joined a band and spent all his time jamming with them.  They started playing these crazy parties where everyone would drop acid and dance all night.  This drove Maria crazy, she was so jealous of how much time he devoted to his music.  He was always on tour and she felt abandoned.   He was back in town one time for this big Halloween party and Maria just snapped.  She gave Paul’s band a whole batch of bad acid and they all went insane.  None of them ever came back from their trips.   Obviously Paul thought she was crazy and left her and left San Francisco.  She took the rest of the bad acid herself and disappeared for a while. A few years later people started seeing her at parties, she was always high and crying for Paul.  Apparently she goes around shows recreating that night and offering bad acid to anybody that’ll take it.  Honest to God, true story. That’s why you should never take drugs from strangers, you never know where it’s coming from.

Anne Sexton’s Cinderella

Out of all of the Cinderella readings of this week I was most intrigued by poet Anne Sexton’s Cinderella. It offers a much darker view of this pervasive fairytale and mocks it’s simplistic ending. In class we talked about how one of the attributes of the fairytale or the folk tale is that they  usually use sparse language, are non-descriptive and offer no psychology behind it’s characters motivations.  Good is good and evil is evil and how each character came to be good or evil is never questioned or discussed. In Transformations, a set of poem’s based off of Grimm’s fairytales, Anne Sexton casts a shade of grey over the characters and offers alternate interpretations and endings of the tales.  As a poet she doesn’t shy away from visceral descriptive language either. Snow White is beautiful but stupid, repeatedly not learning to accept deadly gifts from strangers.  Briar Rose, is depressed and suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse .

Cinderella is more of a lesson on the irrationality of happily ever after. Cinderella starts off with an introduction addressing our new ideations of “happily ever after” winning the lottery, marrying rich or making it big.  Then we get the known Grimm Cinderella story.  Cinderella is emotionally abused by her step-mother and her step-sisters.  However her father remains living in this version and completely neglects Cinderella allowing her to become the maid.  He showers the others with gifts and gives Cinderella a twig.  Cinderella makes it to the ball with the help of her magic tree and it’s birds. She captivates her prince who embarks on a quest to match her left gold shoe to it’s owner.  Again for him the only thing that matters is the size of his dream woman’s feet.  He’s excited by the “lovely feet” of Cinderella’s two sisters and happily departs with both of them before realizing they mutilated their feet to fit in the shoe.  Cinderella’s is a perfect fit.  Then they live “they say” happily ever after.  Sexton uses language to denote the superficiality and improbability of this.  Cinderella and the prince “like two dolls in a museum case” never deal with all of the unpleasantness of life.  They never fight. They never age. They never get bored.


I’ve read the poetry of Anne Sexton before and I’m a fan of her confessional style and her poetry (also why I chose this Cinderella story). I know that she struggled with depression for years and began writing after she was first institutionalized.  She supposedly first began writing poetry as a form of therapy.  Transformations turns fairytales on their heads introducing taboo topics like incest and suicide and it is interesting to approach them knowing Sexton’s background (she was said to have dealt with sexual abuse herself).  She was beautiful and intelligent.  She was a model before eloping with her husband. She suffered from multiple mental breakdowns and eventually took her own life. There was no happily ever after for her, not even close.  I can imagine her reading Grimm’s fairytales through her own disillusionment and taking it into her own hand’s to create a more “realistic” version of them.

In some of our other reading’s different scholars talk about the flexibility of fairytales and how they could adapt to address issues of a time or in a community.  Sexton took this to the extreme and used them as an outlet to express her dark world.  Hailed as a feminist poet maybe she also made them as a warning to other women.  Unrealistic expectations are said tp contribute to depression.  To me Cinderella, at least the Disney version that is most prevalent in today’s culture, is the epitome of unrealistic expectations.