New page on this website: Mythologies


In PASSAGES, the heart of the conflict is the philosopher King of the Gods, Sum’o’s, desire to experience giving birth like a human in his quest for transcendence.. His youngest sister, Sum’a the Enforcer hates humans because they have developed spoken language; one day during a confrontation, she accidentally kills a human. Sum’o’s older sister, Sum’i the Arbiter, is interested only in maintaining balance through observance of the laws, traditions and principles handed down by their ancestors.


“Night” is the identity chosen by The First One, who comes into existence out of the void of light and immediately hates being alive. This video exploring her character and developing her subtext is my second experiment showing her struggle to escape existence into a black hole. CREATION is a mythology based on Mbombo, the creator god in the religion and mythology of the Kuba of Central Africa, who created the world by vomiting various parts of it. I am in the pre-production phase of CREATION, composing a live action storyboard through a process of creating and uploading pre-production worldbuilding, story and character development videos. CREATION is shot splitscreen and chromakeyed; and montaged with shots from the natural world. There is no dialogue (vocalization and singing are improvised) and the movie will be subtitled and or intertitled as necessary. The sound of the world of the story will be gathered as much as possible from the characters’ movements and mixed with found sounds to enhance the ambience.


SEQUENCE 13 combines animation and live action an experimental, greenscreen art film inspired by the Central African creator god, Mbombo, who created the world by vomiting it. There is no dialogue. The soundtrack is original, minimalist music. The characters in SEQUENCE 13 are The Second One, a creator god who begins vomiting all the parts of the Universe, and one of his/her hatchlings. This is my first movie in which animation is a dominating component.

THE HARPY TRIBUNAL by Sylvia Toy, excerpt (rough) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

A goddess disagrees with her sisters about The Humans and is put on trial for treason.


The Cape Experiments by Sylvia Toy are performance art events improvised by a large, greenscreenable cape, the environment, my husband, Michael Lewis, directing behind a handheld camera, and myself. These scenes were shot in Cold Creek, Nevada USA, which is located in the Toyabe National Forest near Mt. Charleston.

Advertisements

Updated page: Lucy, The First Human

LUCY, THE FIRST HUMAN by Sylvia Toy (remastered rough cut) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

 

TITLE: Lucy, the First Human by Sylvia Toy (remastered in 2017)
YEAR: 2017
SPECS: 23:44 minutes, 16:9, H.264, AAC, Color/Stereo, Silent/No captioning
COUNTRY: United States

On Tuesday November 24, 2015, the 51st anniversary of Donald Johanson’s discovery of Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) at the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia, my ‘Lucy, the First Human’ trailers on YouTube got a total of five hours of airtime. That means my Lucy came up in searches and someone probably shared her. That is a real thrill.

LUCY, THE FIRST HUMAN is video art/microcinema crossing genre into nonlinear science fiction fantasy. The subject matter is paleoanthropological. The setting is a barren, shadowy, womb-like or cave-like environment. There is only one character in the movie. She is based on the hominid, Australopithecus afarensis.

This movie is composed of a series of improvisations of what the first human would do, think, feel, and how it would develop. The solitary female character is like an infant, mostly sleeping in the beginning. In her waking hours, her primary interest is herself until things begin to suddenly and surrealistically appear in her “cave.” She gradually is drawn out of her self-absorption into the real world.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT, November 30, 2016

For about a minute (3 years, actually, I think), I had a fiscal sponsor so that I would be eligible to apply for grants as an artist. I think I applied for three grants in the first six months of my sponsorship. I did not get even a nibble of interest in my proposals, which I expected to happen, having been competing for exhibitions, gigs and cash as an artist for most of my adult life and thus knowing rejection is part of the artist’s life.

I suppose I could say that I gave up, even though I maintained the sponsorship just in case while feverishly creating work that I spend (not that much cash outlay on, really) most of my waking hours making, somebody else magically appeared and offered me a grant that I needed a fiscal sponsor to administer.

But I could also say that since I’ve mostly paid for my own work and dealt directly as an independent artist with art dealers, collectors, theater producers, casting directors, video art curators and film festival administrators, that nobody is my boss except me and I am not beholden to anyone except my husband who is periodically inconvenienced by stage sets all over the apartment.

Anybody who puts their work “out there” is participating in the System no matter how much they might rail against it – as I will never stop pointing out that art dealers, curators and producers would not have anything to do if artists stopped making art or just didn’t play with art dealers, curators and producers anymore.

Independent artists, even ferociously independent artists like me – who would rather fail and or be repeatedly rejected than take commissions, fill out forms and reports, create and justify budgets, follow protocols that exist primarily because of bylaws nobody’s ever read since the person who wrote them, and commingle with patrons – are just as much part of the System as those folks who get all the grants.

The System is anybody considering your work at all for any reason and to any end.

VOICE, Director’s Statement by Sylviatoyindustries (Color/Stereo, 09:57, 2016 USA)

an-introduction-to-voice-by-sylviatoyindustries-%e2%92%b8-2016

Still, VOICE Director’s Statement

VOICE, A PERFORMANCE ART MOVIE was 3-year long project. Pre-production began the summer of 2013 after my homeless neighbor George’s middle of the night arguments with his voice named “Robert” woke me up every night for weeks. I cannot get back to sleep in the summer because summer is bipolar season for me and I go manic.

While I wondered as I always do by the beginning of July whether I would ever get any sleep again or instead would feel 125 mph forever, I started listening to what my neighbor and Robert were saying. Robert was angry and aggressive; George would plead with him to leave him alone and often cry, then try to fight back, and finally, as the arguments grew shorter over the passing days, by morning George would be saying over and over, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” George had won. He had coped with demon Robert and won himself back. It was a powerful lesson.

Proposal for live performance of “THE HARPY TRIBUNAL” 

The Harpy Videos By Sylviatoyindustries

Returning to occasional live multi-media performance seems to be on my path, though I enjoy all the aspects of making movies not to continue to spend most of my time making movies.

The Cape Experiments by Sylvia Toy

THE CAPE EXPERIMENTS by Sylvia Toy (No. 1) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

The earliest known example of “kill one’s darlings” was in Arthur Quiller-Couch’s 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures “On the Art of Writing.”: “If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

THE CAPE EXPERIMENTS by Sylvia Toy (No. 2) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

I made the cape in these videos for my character, THE HARPY. It was quite a lot of work and took 3 times as long to complete as I originally thought it would, nearly an entire workweek. I had to consider whether the cape was a darling that needed to be killed. Now, in search of new back stories, I will be experimenting with the cape, however, following it around to discover new stories.

THE CAPE EXPERIMENTS by Sylvia Toy (07-31-2016) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

The July 31, 2016 Cape Experiments were directed by my husband and frequent collaborator, Michael Lewis. Having never before tried to greenscreen images in real environments – especially not outdoors in San Francisco, which is so beautiful and green for an urban area – I am very pleased with the clips Mike Lewis and I shot today of “The Cape.” There are stories to be made and our experimentation will help me find some of them. I have received very provocative and helpful feedback from my network of artist-peers.

The Cape Experiments by Sylvia Toy, Second Pass (Color/Stereo, 09’30”, USA, 2016) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

KILLER JANE, a movie in story development –

KILLER JANE by Sylvia Toy: STORYBOARD, Act One (Version 2) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

KILLER JANE is a short feature currently in story development. Jane, the protagonist, serially dreams that she has shot & killed a man. The dream always starts moments after she commits the murder. Jane never sees her victim; but she knows he was a man who was a stranger.

Currently, I am creating backstory to establish the conflicts on which the KILLER JANE and its subtexts will be built.


I create story primarily by improvising monologues on camera while in character. For 17 years as a solo stage actor, I played scenes in which two or more characters were having a conversation. When I realized that my characters told their own stories better than I could write them, my actor took over from my sadly mediocre writer. I rarely have “block,” but I do find that I have to let a character live for a while before he or she starts telling me the story. When I had to let go of my (to-date) favorite character (an actor sadly unavailable) and, so, had to create another character as Jane’s antagonist, I had to wait for a new voice to start talking to me and tell me when to turn on the camera.

Jane and I have been living together for months. She began her life inside my head and on camera as a fairly vivacious forensics specialist. As I continued to improvise her nightmare and develop the monster who shadows her after every murder, I saw more potential for conflict is her being a straight-laced, clean living Plain Jane who doesn’t even date, let alone date strangers. As of this week, she is a Trusts & Estates attorney.

Daphne, Jane’s secretary/confidante/BFF, is Jane’s antagonist. Daphne is a go-getter who thinks she’s at least as smart as any lawyer. She hates rich people, especially Cleo, Jane’s client/confidante/BFF. Cleo is a wealthy woman with whom Jane went to school, who wants to divorce her husband with the smallest payoff that’s legally possible. Cleo treats Daphne like a servant.

In every profession, there is hierarchy; and class as well as level of education differences among people in the Law can create the kind of drama, nonsense and stuff that stories and dreams are made of. If you wondered why there’s always been so many lawyer dramas – well – or is that redundant?