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Journey of the Spark

Journey of the Spark - 10 Minute Preview
Creator(s) Violet Ridenour
Transcript Available
Status Unreleased
Voices Meredith Sims
Madeleine Robison
Mirisha Lottich
Amanda Gonzalez
Emily Koch
Type/genre Adventure
Drama
Show connection Friendship is Magic
The Return of Harmony
A Canterlot Wedding

Journey of the Spark is an upcoming audio drama based on the first two seasons of the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Formerly envisioned as a full-length animated film, the series is written, directed, and produced by Violet Ridenour, making her directorial debut.

Since its first public announcement in 2012, Journey of the Spark has garnered public attention and accolades from both members of the Brony community and the show's staff, including the show's original developer Lauren Faust. The project is also notable for being one of the most ambitious fan projects in the community for its large scale and scope, its dark and emotionally complex story, its large musical production values, and its art direction.

On September 17, 2014, it was announced that, due to legal issues, production on Journey of the Spark as an animated film was ceased and the project would instead be released as an episodic audio drama.[1]

Summary

Journey of the Spark was set between the second and third seasons of the Friendship is Magic continuity. In the film, Twilight Sparkle (Meredith Sims) causes a rift between her friends that forces her to run away, feeling as though her friends can never forgive her.

During her self-exile, Twilight learns that this bout of dissension and confusion between the girls has caused Discord (Reagan Murdock), the spirit of chaos and disharmony, to once again break free of his bonds, allowing him to plot the end of harmony for good and rule Equestria. Guilt-stricken for the events she has caused, Twilight agrees to a deal with Discord that will forever separate her from everyone she ever loved.

Now, as things begin to look grim, the rest of the Mane 6, including Spike, must venture beyond the reaches of Equestria to find Twilight and rekindle their fractured friendship if they wish to restore the Elements of Harmony once again.

Trailer

In the trailer shown at BronyCon 2013, the problem starts when Twilight fails to protect an Equestrian city from a dragon.

The trailer also shows Discord taking over Canterlot, Princess Celestia badly injured, Spike begging Twilight to come home, Fluttershy in danger (trapped in a net over lava), Twilight falling off a tower, and finally Discord starting to form an alliance with Queen Chrysalis (Natalie Van Sistine).

10-minute preview

At Midwest Brony Fest in May 2014, the production team screened the first 10 minutes of the film's animatic, which was uploaded onto Youtube on July 8, 2014. The video was shown again at BronyCon on August 1, 2014, and includes sequences with completed animation.

The preview opens at Queen Chrysalis' castle, where the queen is alerted to her changeling minions' discovery of Discord. Infiltrating the gardens near Canterlot, Chrysalis meets with Discord's petrified form, who speaks to her as a disembodied voice. She asks for his help in taking revenge against Twilight Sparkle for thwarting her earlier conquest of Canterlot, but Discord notes that he is unable to help her unless freed from his stone prison. The two conspire to secure his freedom by turning Twilight's friends against her, thereby breaking the Elements of Harmony's connection.

In Ponyville, Twilight receives a letter from Princess Celestia inviting her and her friends to attend the Royal Archmage Coronation ceremony in Canterlot. The six friends make their way to the event, happily musing over what they will do there. ("On Our Way")

Two additional animatic clips were screened alongside the 10-minute preview at BronyCon, the second of which was uploaded on August 7, 2014 with the preview. In the first clip, Twilight has been foresaken by everyone for causing "something awful" to happen to Princess Celestia. She follows Celestia's voice to the statue of Discord, who convinces her to run away. In the second clip, Twilight's friends confront the newly freed Discord in Princess Celestia's throne room. As Discord taunts the ponies and Spike over Twilight's disappearance, Applejack and Rarity demand he give them a chance to find her. Discord accepts the challenge, and prepares to lay out the rules of their new "game".

Casting

JOTS Theatrical Poster v06

2014 Production Poster by Hayley Nelson

Casting for Journey of the Spark began in early June 2012 when Ridenour heard voice actress Meredith Sims' voice demo as Twilight Sparkle for the fan game Fighting is Magic. Sims had always been Ridenour's first choice for the character as she was incredibly impressed with the emotional range that Sims had given off in her demo reel. Ridenour stressed to her team that she wanted actors who could deliver believable and emotionally resonant performances rather than actors who specialized in imitation. Upon contacting Sims, Ridenour attached a lengthy pitch of the film to convince the actress to sign onto the project. Sims accepted and was cast as the voice of both Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy.

Following Sims, Ridenour and co-producer Edward Marmet started casting popular voice actors and actresses within the community with additional help from Sims such as Reagan Murdock as Discord and Jen McGregor as Princess Celestia. Although not a fan of Friendship is Witchcraft, Ridenour hired Jenny Nicholson as the voice of Rainbow Dash after becoming impressed with a voice sample of Nicholson's from the series. On May 18, 2013, Ridenour announced that Nicholson had to back down from the role due to a change in her schedule. She was replaced by Emily Koch, known for her role as Rainbow Dash in Zachary Rich's Double Rainboom on June 19, 2013. Other voice acting veterans such as Kira Buckland (Twilight Sparkle in PONY.MOV) signed on to voice Princess Cadance along with newcomers Sarah Williams and Michael Carney signing on to voice Rarity/Princess Luna and Shining Armor, respectively.

Longtime collaborator Mirisha Lottich was brought on board to voice Applejack after a series of successful collaborations with Ridenour. Additional casting was held on the Voice Acting Alliance forums. Notable cast members that were hired from the forums included Lauren Collis as the singing voice of Princess Luna and Sakasa Jinei as the voice of Spike.

On June 23, 2013, Sarah Williams announced on her deviantART page that she was dropping out of the project because she said it was "time to move on and focus on different things which will help launch me into life as a successful and independent person". She did wish Ridenour and team good luck for the movie. Her voice of Rarity has been replaced by Madeleine Robison and Luna's speaking voice was filled in by Hannah Trusty (who voiced Princess Luna in Silly Filly Studios' Snowdrop), who also voices Cheerilee.

Following the release of the trailer at BronyCon 2013, it was revealed that Natalie Van Sistine will voice Queen Chrysalis. The role for Lauren Goodnight and Lauren Collis (second role) hasn't been announced yet.

Recently Emily Fajardo (voice of Pinkie Pie) has dropped out of the project and had her friend Amanda Gonzalez complete the voice. Then they cancelled the voice appearance of Princess Cadance, Shining Armor, Cheerilee, Princess Luna's singing voice, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle. Michael Carney who originally voice Shining Armor now is voicing Applejack's cousin Braeburn. Scootaloo was recasted to Sabianna C. Augustin.

Production

Development

Journey of the spark concept art by ellybethe-d56nf39

Concept art drawn by lead concept artist Sarah Williams, based on Ridenour's dream.

Journey of the Spark began life as an audio drama back in November of 2011 when director Violet Ridenour (formerly Eric) had a dream involving the Mane 6 (minus Twilight), Princess Luna, and Spike walking on a log over a gushing waterfall. She stated that the dream became the basis for a concept that she was forming which began the development for Journey of the Spark's story.

Before the decision was made to base the story off of the Friendship is Magic continuity, Ridenour originally based the story off her improvisational parody series My Little Pony: The Brony Edition and planned for it to be a three act musical voiced by herself and four other friends. However, due to the lack of material and difficult story development, Ridenour made the decision to base the story off of the first two seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as the series' third season had not yet been aired. Before long, the project began expanding and loyal fans of Ridenour's parody series began signing on to help bring the story to life. The demand for the project's release and the increasing scope of the story lead Ridenour to begin production on the project, this time as a full-length animated feature film.

Writing

Journey of the Spark was written by Ridenour and five other individuals. Although the film's story takes inspiration from the first two seasons of the original series, the story is its own completely separate plot from the show's original storyline. Ridenour has stated in multiple interviews that her reasons for distancing the film from the show's official canon was so that her story could appeal to a much wider audience away from the show's massive online fan base. According to the cast and crew, the script-writing process for the film took an entire year to complete starting with conceptualization to the ending of the first draft, with the draft being completed on November 8, 2012.

During her interview with BroNEcast, Ridenour said that Journey of the Spark was meant to be her envisioning of an "ultimate finale" to the original series, stating that "in order for the story to work, we had to make the film less free of consequence". To add onto her statement, Ridenour said that the film was written with a much darker tone than the show, stating that she wanted the film to be able present more adult and mature themes to children in a respectable manner. Ridenour cited films such as The Secret of NIMH and The Dark Crystal as the main sources of inspiration for the film's tone and sense of emotional storytelling.

Music

For the film's soundtrack, brony musician Forest Rain has written eight original songs for the film's soundtrack, with lyrics provided by musician Jeff Burgess and the vocals being performed by the film's original cast. Journey of the Spark's original score is written and composed by Dennis O'Keefe and David J.D. Quezada. Additional Music Production including mixing and minor orchestral cues are done by Michael Nicolosi.

The film is set to feature a fully orchestrated score performed by a live ensemble. Dennis O'Keefe, one of the main composers behind the film's score, is organizing the orchestra for the project.

The film's original soundtrack is expected to be released sometime before the film's release and will be available for download via Bandcamp and other media sites.

List of songs

  • On Our Way
    Sung by: Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy

List of cast

Additional voices

  • Karla Wilks
  • Cody McCullough
  • Tara St. Michel
  • David J.G. Doyle
  • Kira Buckland
  • Michael Carney
  • Violet Ridenour
  • Hayley Nelson

List of crew

Writers and producers

  • Violet Ridenour - Writer, Director
  • Edward Marmet - Co-writer, Executive Producer
  • Kyle Suter - Co-Writer, Lead Film editor, Producer
  • Jonathan Sirois - Co-Writer, Executive Producer, Story Editor
  • Eric Schneider - Co-Writer, Film Editor, Story Editor
  • Michael Carney - Producer
  • Jordan Rivero - Assistant Film Editor
  • Meredith Sims - Co-Writer, Lead Story Editor
  • Ashton Bono - Production Assistant

Sound and music department

  • David J.G. Doyle - Voice Director
  • Dennis O'Keefe - Composer, Orchestra Contractor
  • David J.D. Quezada - Composer
  • Forest Rain - Songwriter
  • Jeff Burgess - Lyricist
  • Michael Nicolosi - Additional Music Production
  • David Larsen - Sound Designer
  • Oscar Lopez Mata - Sound Editor
  • Michael Cini - Sound Editor


Art department

  • Charito Domingo - Art Director


Visual development team

  • Evan McCarvill - Lead Concept Artist
  • Celia Doup - Lead Concept Artist
  • Jude Surin - Concept Artist
  • Michel M. Prins - Concept Artist
  • Ina Eklund - Concept Artist
  • Jin Woo Yeon - Concept Artist
  • Joy J. De Souza - Concept Artist
  • Andrew Byers - Concept Artist

Storyboard team

  • Charles Moss - Lead storyboard Artist
  • Jennifer Seggio - Storyboard Artist
  • Beryl Olson - Storyboard Artist
  • David B. Sholl - Storyboard Artist
  • Sean Krause - Storyboard Artist, Animatics
  • Julia Serdyuk- Storyboard Artist

Vector artist team

  • Hayley Nelson - Lead Vector Artist
  • Andrew Bolanos - Vector Artist
  • Michael Smith - Vector Artist
  • Jean Paul Crisologo - Vector Artist
  • Jorge Garza - Vector Artist
  • Matthew Wolbach - Vector Artist
  • Ariel Perez - Vector Artist
  • Andrew Schmidt - Vector Artist
  • Kryzsztof Skurski - Vector Artist
  • Andrew Byers - Vector Artist
  • Daniel Thacker - Vector Artist
  • Kelsie Snyder - Vector Artist

Animation department

  • Erick Osborne - Animation director
  • Jake Sloan - Animator
  • Dylan Reynolds - Animator, Puppet Builder
  • Joao "ZeBalas" Torre - Animator, Puppet Builder
  • Connor Bensley - Animator
  • Emilio Brena - Animator, Puppet Builder
  • Lucus Yun - Animator
  • David W. Lawrence - Animator, Puppet Builder
  • Elliot Clark - Animator
  • Hank Edwards - Animator
  • Nathan Pattison - Animator
  • Madeline Eldry - Animator, Puppet Builder
  • Curtis McElroy - Animator

Videos

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic ~ Journey of the Spark Storyboard Animatic Scene 1-002:49

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic ~ Journey of the Spark Storyboard Animatic Scene 1-0


A storyboard animatic featuring Meredith Sims and Reagan Murdock.
Journey of the Spark - Promo 1 Animation Test00:57

Journey of the Spark - Promo 1 Animation Test


An animation test.
Journey of the Spark BronyCon 2013 Concept Trailer02:39

Journey of the Spark BronyCon 2013 Concept Trailer


BronyCon 2013 Concept Trailer
"On Our Way" Original song from Journey of the Spark!02:33

"On Our Way" Original song from Journey of the Spark!


"On Our Way" - Original song by Forest Rain
Journey of the Spark - Promo 2 Animation Test01:44

Journey of the Spark - Promo 2 Animation Test


Another animation Test.
Midwest Brony Fest 2014 - Journey of the Spark53:17

Midwest Brony Fest 2014 - Journey of the Spark


Midway Brony Fest 2014 featuring 10 minutes of animatic footage (12:38)
Journey of the Spark - BronyCon 2014 Teaser Intro01:06

Journey of the Spark - BronyCon 2014 Teaser Intro


BronyCon 2014 Teaser Intro
Journey of the Spark - "Discord Returns" (Animatic Preview)01:35

Journey of the Spark - "Discord Returns" (Animatic Preview)


Another storyboard animatic featuring Reagan Murdock, Emily Koch, Mirisha Lottich, and Madeleine Robison

Derivative works

A fan fiction based of the project's movie script was released on fanfiction.net in August of 2015. The fan fiction was written by LordMalevar063.

References

  1. Jonathan Sirois (2014-09-17). JOTS Ceasing Production as a Film, To Become Audio Drama. Celestial Spark Studios. Retrieved on 2014 September 18.

External links

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