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What If? - Emma Gamboa

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Nova

Holy b'moly g'moly holy guacamole-mole—before anything else, can I just say how much I love your thumbnail? Can I? Was that a yes? Jokes on you—this was a completely rhetorical interaction—"I love your thumbnail"—there, I said it. Very tasty comedy. Alright that’s al—no wait—I completely forgot what I came here to do. Let’s talk ‘bout them ideas, shall we?

First, “what if there was a computer virus that wanted to fix things?” Instantly super enjoyable. I mean, you always think of viruses, computer or otherwise, as being innately evil (just look at Covid), so turning that preconception on its head already gives a ton of things to play with. And, it also messes with that sorta “nature vs nurture” idea—y’know? Which is stronger, that inborn ability to destroy, or that desire to repair and fix? And, I mean, whenever you mess with the digital world, you’re always bound to come out with something visually striking.

It’s a “Little Wi-Fi Dude”-kine idea for sure (speaking of, here’s the link to how theirs turned out: https://www.storyxperientials1.com/video-submissions-week-8/a4daba01-6cb8-461d-a2bc-ee16b5cc6662)—makes me curious about a lot of the same things, too—are there whole societies of computer viruses? Do computer viruses have families? Or, are they just solitary lifeforms that manifest from nothing? Is causing errors a part of their jobs? Do viruses ever die? Do they disappear after fulfilling their purposes? What happens when a computer is turned off? What happens if a computer is destroyed? What are anti-viruses like for them? Lol—is CleanMyMac Armageddon for them? If computer viruses have these personified characters, are other things alive as well? Are the different types of computer viruses like different races? Different species? Different careers? Different personality types?

Because the digital world is a subject that people’ve toyed with a lot in recent years, I’m super curious how you’d represent it. For inspiration, I’m just gonna spew out a whole buncha films and games and stuff that y’ might consider lookin’ at if y’ haven’t already… including some only loosely related things. Yea—check ‘em out—if not for this, then just for fun. So, again, for that digital world/tech-y idea, I’d suggest looking at movies like Wreck-It Ralph (both of them), Summer Wars, Belle, Napping Princess, Time of Eve, Origin: Spirits of the Past, Patema Inverted, Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW, Hal, Gattaca, Transcendence, TRON (both of them), Source Code, Edge of Tomorrow, Tomorrowland, and Spy Kids 3: Game Over; I’d suggest watching series like Code Lyoko, ReBoot, Cyberchase, Den-noh Coil, Angel Beats, Robotics;Notes, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Petscop, Diminished, Simulated Dead People, and very specifically season 3 episode 20 of Community (“Digital Estate Planning”); I’d suggest watching DOT96’s “MAKE IT FUNKY NOW”, yama_ko’s “EMOMOMO, and Resh’ “Digital Language”; I’d recommend reading Kid Radd and RPG: An Epic Tale of Dragons and Magic; I think y’ should definitely play Vee is Calling, Ghost Trick, Broken Age, Denpaman, and Labyrinth no Kanata; you might want to look into Kagerou Project (everything but the anime—the anime’s trash). As far as character design, I’d look at Inside Out and Soul, I’d watch the Brain Divided short, and I’d play Pushmo, Katamari Damacy, and Denpaman (yes, I put it in both ‘cuz it applies to both).

Sorry, that was a lot, I know, but there’s really no way for me to condense my aesthetic ideas and stuff down into something decipherable—this is the best I can do.

As far as my own ideas go, I’d love to see the virus interacting with other characters… And, like, not just other applications and processes—it would be fun to have them interact with game characters or characters from videos or even artwork. A world that’s lived in—that’s what I’d want. Course you’re free to throw that sentiment in the dumpster fire.

Anyhow, love it. My brain is vibrating like crazy.

Movin’ on to the dog bakery one—NICE. All for it. Cute animal. Aesthetic bakery. Yum. My mind’s eye is very much into the visuals. All of the people and interactions and—ugh—it makes me so happy just thinkin’ ‘bout it. Actually, there was a submission very similar to this idea in the previous run of Xperiential, but it was a cat café (like, literally—a café run by cats). If you’re interested, here’s a link: www.storyxperientials1.com/video-submissions-week-8/624a2912-84fb-4a70-9dc4-0f9e83f7416c.

Okay, questions, questions. Uh—does the bakery sell, like, specifically bread? Or, do they do pastries, too? Is it a Pâtisserie? And, the dogs, are they jus’ standin’ on their hind legs? Or, have they become bipedals? Can the dogs talk? Or, do they just bark? Is this a world full of dogs? Is a dog bakery normal? Or, is that an oddity? Are there other animal-run establishments? Are there humans? Jus’ some thoughts to naw on.

M’k… idea-wise… I’m a bit conflicted—a part of me would love for this dog bakery to be a super unusual tourist attraction-kine thing that humans would go to for fun, but another part of me would love to have there be a ton of animal establishments everywhere. Now, I wouldn’t want any anthropomorphic nonsense—all the animals should stay biologically normal. But, it would be fun to have the animals live alongside humans—it’d create a really interesting flavor to the society and the culture around it. I’d also love to see outside of the bakery, even if that’s the primary focus. Like, some sort of cool seaside town.

OKAY OKAY OKAY LAST ONE BABY… or, should I say… DESIGNER BABY? Eh? Eh? Eh? No? Okay. But like, hoooh boy—your idea’s RICH with commentary about unreasonable expectations and pressure and all kinds of stuff. And, like, let’s be clear—designer babies? That’s not a comfy topic. Very controversial. Which is FANTASTIC. This is a tangent, but I had a dream once where one character had been genetically modified so much that they became a new breed of human—a “designer human”—essentially a shapeshifter that could take on any desired trait (within reason, of course) at will. Uh, but, that’s copyright me. Or, more like copyright my dreams? Nah, nah—I’m kidding, feel free to steal it—it’s the execution that matters—not the idea—ideas are free real estate. Anyways, great story, great aesthetic, great message—great stuff.

But, this wouldn’t be feedback without some meat to this sandwich. I’m really interested in the design—is it a mechanical child? Like, was the “build” part literal? Not children of flesh and blood but children of an artificial origin? Do they design the children for appearance or for ability? Or, does it depend on the parent? Have all of the parents been designed and tinkered with in the same way? Is this a generational trauma that’s been passed down from parent to child? Are all children this way? Or, is it only some? I see the jester-ish outfit… is this taking place in some medieval time period?

M’k, uh… Thinky thinky… So, just some ideas—I think it’d be fun to have the parents be preparing their child for like, a fashion show? Or, just some other competition or thing that aligns with the parents’ aspirations but not the child’s. And, it would be fun to see how one child’s family life compares with a bunch of other children. I’d also love to have a few children that are just completely normal—not designed or anything… whether they have a loving family or not, I think it’d be nice to have both situations—just to send home the idea that every person has their own problems.

Wow. Oh boy. I talk too much. Anyways, whether you go with the virus, dog bakery, or designer child, I’m super excited. Y’ got a great future ahead of you.

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Tara (1 like)

Wow! Your 3rd one is going to shake up parents all around! Building the perfect child but never being happy. Do some children feel like they can never make their parents happy? Do some parents never really feel proud or feel happy with their babies. I can never imagine the depth of those feelings.

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Yenny (1 like)

Love all of them! But in my opinion the first one is really interesting, you can play a lot with this character in the way that is like a cliche but upside down, like Why a virus would like to fix the things? is this like a society of this virus? Is this virus actually.. making everything worst when try to fix things? Is like a really AWSOME world where this little protagonist can develop and learn. love it! keep it up emma!

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Brady (1 like)

I really liked your "What if Parents Could Build the Perfect Child" idea. It's kind of a universal feeling with parents who want their kid to turn out better than them but sometimes find themselves dissatisfied (that unintentionally sounded harsh, but I think you get the idea. The one thing that I wonder is how the story would play out. What would be the resolution? I think one question you should aim to answer in regards to this What if is how and/or where the perfect child is made.

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Paige (1 like)

I really liked "What if parents could build the perfect child, but they were never satisfied". It is pretty much something most parents wants to try and succeed at but it just doesn't work. It would really be interesting to see it play out. I wonder though if you ended the question at "What if parents could build the perfect child?" That might open up different angles and opportunities for some so "win" or "fail". Nothing was really unclear. Would love to find out how people go about building the child. Would it be through companies, a computer website, so many options!

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Sandra (1 like)

Awesome ideas, Emma! Cute art style, too!:) I think your 3rd idea (perfect child) sounds the most soul-stirring. I wonder how the parents are building the child, are they literally building them and downloading skills like a robot? And is the child able to respond or see how their parents keep changing them? I think this story is one that can be played around with different POVs: the parents or the child's. Great job! Looking forward to see how you develop your stories!

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Melissa (1 like)

"What if...?" question #3 has a lot of promise! It really resonated with me and how some parents hold incredibly high standards for their children even if they do it out of "love." I can see it playing out in many ways, so I wonder which path you will choose to explore. Something I found unclear is how are the children being made? Are they being biologically engineered or are they literal robots (androids?) being made in a factory? Anyways, awesome idea! I hope you choose this one because I'm interested to see where you take it!

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Allison (1 like)

First of all your art is ADORABLE
Second, I think my favorite is the first one because of the conflict. I think that the idea of a computer virus, which is meant to ruin computers, wanted to go against what it was meant to do and try and be helpful instead. It has a lot of potential for comedy (as the virus just bops around trying to solve problems but keeps causing more) but also a deeper theme, as I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who feel like they're not good enough because all they do is mess things up. So there's a lot of room for character exploration as this cute little virus sets out on this journey. I really want to know how that story would end!
I think the only thing that is unclear is HOW a computer virus would try and fix computers. But I think this just leaves room for you to do a lot of fun worldbuilding. What is it like in the world of a computer virus behind the screen? There are a lot of disney movies out there that have done something similar (Wreck-it-Ralph or the Emoji Movie for example). What is a fun way fro you to do it differently?

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Mauricio (1 like)

All three ideas are great, I loved the last one because it can speak a lot about the parents too, how they reflect their fears and desires in these children. Maybe is confusing from where these children come when the parents decide to build them, and how real they are. There are kids that aren't "designed" and can recognize these children?. I think it can be stronger if you dig deeper in the parents who want to design a kid, what they think and how they feel.

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Emmanuel (1 like)

I really like your last what if as it invites us to explore our deepest insecurities and vulnerabilities. What happens to the other children they didn’t want? Are they thrown out? Used as workers? Dismantled and essentially “killed”?
I’d like to know what tone you are going for with this idea. Great ideas!

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Lylian (1 like)

Hello Emma! I really liked your "what if" ideas and out of all three, the last one sparked my interest. I really like the idea of parents being able to build their perfect child because it kinda reminds me of how kids want to meet their parents' expectations of them. It also reminds us of how some parents like to compare their kids to others making them feel as though maybe they are not to their parents' standard making us believe that if our parents want such a perfect child they should just build it themselves. It also makes us wonder, if parents were able to or had the ability to build their perfect child why are they so unhappy with their child being perfect? What changed their minds about having a perfect child? And lastly, something that was a little unclear is the idea of "building" a perfect child. Would that be like a robot or many a life-like android that looks human? What would the procedure look like? Other than that, I really enjoyed your ideas and can't wait to see how you flesh them out!

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Sarah (1 like)

I love the idea of the little computer virus, not only are they really cute, but it's got so much potential for cool visuals and storyline! I want to know what the virus wants to fix. Computer things? World things? Is it going to try to level the world playing field or is it just in it for someone close to their heart? I think it's a great place to push and gather some more ideas and play around! Y'know, really have fun with this since you've made a really cool concept!

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Jalen (1 like)

I love all the ideas, especially the way you drew them. The first one is my favorite. We usually expect viruses to completely destroy the computers software. Some questions i have question, how does the virus "Fix" the computer?

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John-Charles (1 like)

I really liked the first virus idea. It makes me wonder about if the virus is happy being a virus or not. I would like to have some clarification on if the virus is going against its programming or if what it thinks is helping is actually hurting the machine

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Manuela (1 like)

I really liked the first one the computer virus one, i feel it would be very interesting to see how they go around fixing things, taking into account computer viruses destroy things, it makes me wonder if they are fixing something they broke or if they go around their programing and turn those "mistakes" or "damages" however you wanna call it into solutions like a workaround their programming. I think it's a pretty straightforward idea, I feel maybe the unclear thing is the purpose of the virus? were they created to destroy something valuable and refuse to do it? overall a very cool premise

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Manuela

**The initial purpose of the virus**

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Maria Teresa (1 like)

. The most interesting "What if" for me is the one about the parents insatisfied. Because that is what would hapen in reality.
. It makes me wonder of all the things that could cause them to be dissapointed, like being so perfect that it becomes a cold person who doesnt undestand others, and leaves friendship behind after perfection.
. Everything is clear.

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Christina (1 like)

I think the strongest “What If” statement is about the parents never satisfied, because the story is clear and the conflict is apparent—the parent characters’ unmet need will drive the story and build up to a meaningful, emotional ending. I wonder which point of view that story would be told from: the parents or the child? (I also love the computer virus and dog bakery ideas. I would watch all three of these stories!)

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Anna (1 like)

The computer virus is adorable, I would love to see more of her! My only question would be where did the virus come from, and what sort of things does it fix? Programs or actual devices?

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Dariush (1 like)

The computer virus was a great idea! The design for the virus is adorable as well!
I wonder more about the virus since a virus' purpose is to damage or destroy things internally. How does the virus fix things? What's the error?
Parents building a child. Are they real or are they robots?

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Kara (1 like)

Great idea of a computer virus trying to fix things. Would this actually be a vaccine for technology? Or could we create a good virus to get rid of malware? Fantastic renderings! :)

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Jacquelin (1 like)

What was your favorite What if Idea and why? I loved the idea of a computer virus wanting to fix things.
What does it make you wonder more about? It made me wonder a lot about what the virus was thinking. Maybe the virus was trying to fix things but in reality the reason they were a virus was because they were trying to fix something that might not needed to be fixed. My head had a lot of questions about that one so it was super cool.
Was anything unclear? It was a little fast and low so there wasn't any issues with the What if themselves however I had to pump the volume and play it a few times.

Great job!

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Monica (1 like)

A dog run bakery sounds like such a cool adventure right now. I wonder if the dog will eat all the baked goods before any customers ever get a chance to try them?

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Richard (1 like)

I like the “perfect child”idea. There’s so much opportunity for interesting subtext. I don’t find anything unclear about this idea as an umbrella concept for the story, but I look forward to how you might flesh out this idea. How are the children built? Are their consequences for requesting changes? What is the child’s experience in all this?

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Luis (1 like)

I really like the first two "What if" ideas, especially the first one about the computer virus. I find it very intriguing and I would love to know more about what made the virus change his/her programming and how he/she will fix things. The last one is about the perfect child, I think it is interesting but could be considered dark, I also wonder, since the parents can build their children, what are they? Human, toys, robots? Other than that I feel everything is amazing and I loved the artwork for all three, especially the computer virus. Keep up the good work!

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Alia (1 like)

The perfect child idea reminds me of Gattaca, and I think the morality behind that idea would be fascinating to explore.
I would wonder who the dogs would sell to at the bakery. Only animals like in Zootopia or humans or both?
I like the virus idea but it's unclear how a virus, whose whole purpose in life is to infect, would want to suddenly restore. Would it change from being a virus to an anti-virus software?

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Brennan (1 like)

I feel like your "Perfect Child" prompt is perfect for a short film or story! It's a simple premise that has a lot of weight, and could tell a good story with a strong message. The prompt makes me wonder what the purpose of the story is, and what are we looking at as the culprit of the story. Are we looking at specifically the parent's quest for perfection? Or are we looking at the danger of human ambition? Or is it commentary on genetically modifying children? Or all three! There is a lot of room to have fun with this one!

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Chuck (2 likes)

My favorite was the first one, "What if a computer virus wanted to fix things". I can see a lot of possibilities for development. The fact that the virus is going against what a virus is expected to do draws me in. It makes me want to learn why this virus went against its programming/nature and how other viruses might react. The idea felt clear and makes me want to know more.

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Constanza (1 like)

I do really feel you and also loved so much the firt what if! I also wonder if the purpose of the virus was that the whole time, or it was something the virus find by their own! or maybe something completely different I can not even imagine now!

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What If... A computer virus wanted to fix things? Dogs ran a bakery? Parents could build the perfect child, but they were never satisfied?

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