Wow, I think I actually forgot about this one. Not completely, as soon as I remembered the whole jist came back in a moment, but I haven't thought about this one is quite a while, on any level.Sweet Summer Jazz
was another entry in my short list of ideas I thought would make a better movie than written story. Concieved around the idea of music (more specifically, "Everybody Wants to be a Cat"
(yeah, I know, two links in two posts in a row, but I love this song) it was during the time when Disney wasn't putting out animated musicals any more (Home on the Range
sucked and I don't acknowledge it), and all the CGI movies that came out that hand music was always pop songs inserted for a montage or to be "the song from that movie".
Also, the whole thing was kinda, sorta, but I'll deny it later, based on getting "Everybody/Cat" inserted into the movie. But I digress.
SSJ was about a teenage girl, Calli, travelling from a small town to a big city. She's a big jazz enthusiast, and wants to be a band sax player. She also had a cat who was going to be named after a musical term, but I never decided on one.
She has an uncle who own a jazz bar, who and his band are based on the cats from The Arisocats
; the cat family also have human cameoes. She'll be staying with him above the bar, but she also wants any opportunity to play. Her uncle has no problem with that, but she will need a band at least; he can't just let her solo from the start.
There's more slapdash as it all goes along. Calli finds a street performer playing drums on the sidewalk. She likes what she hears, and asks the girl to play something with a steadier beat. Calli pulls out her sax and begins a small music number of getting the band together; those two and a few others are pulled together and just make their band right there on the sidewalk.
I never planned most of this out, it was many a lot of quick scene flashes and hints of music rolling in my head. There was also I lot that I thought was too remiansiant of other movies I'd seen. Later there was going to be a battle of bands, though not as a main challenge, and later a shot to get some radio play. There was also a rival band, who were more just antagonists (possibly a love interest for Calli, I forget). As I said, nothing really solid.
I remember part of the end, mainly because I knew it'd be the hardest selling point of the story. Calli would die before the end (not right before the credits, but it's not what one would call a happy ending). She'd be hit by a car and her death would pretty much break up her band, but still inspiring them to continue with music.
The idea was to be in the spirit of Miyazaki, where there is no real villian to defeat. Challenges and obsticles, yes, but nothing really sinister. Calli has a competitive spirit, and wants to prove herself despite being yound and not exactly knowing what she's doing. She also plays a mean sax solo. But at no point since this started mulling around my head did I ever see a true villian. One would just seem out of place; the story is Calli and music, there was never a need to have someone trying to stop her. Beat her to the finish, yes, there's a rival, but he's not someone who's out to "defeat her at all costs", he just wants to win the prize as much as she does.
One scene that I see pretty clearly is the funeral. Not much really, but the rival/love interest is asked to, and starts playing a small number to close things off. He starts solemn, like he was asked, but turns up the rhythm and beat, knowing that she was never big on downer music like that.
The whole thing is still really segmented, and to flesh out a complete story would take some doing. But I still like the idea, if only because I love jazz and the story itself goes against most conventions of what an animated movie needs to have.