Steampunk Myths and Legends Entry: Gabriele Rossi


Gabriele Rossi is entered in the “Steampunk Myths and Legends” update: View Challenge Page

Latest Update: Finished Video: Final


hi everybody!

I’m Gabriel, I’m Italian and this is my first entry for the challenge.

I am working in a team for the video challenge, these are the members:

Massimiliano Pareschi - Director, 3D & VFX Artist, Compositor
Dario Spinelli - Animator, 3D & VFX Artist, Compositor
Daniele Bonaiuti - Graphic Designer, VFX Artist, Compositor,
Gabriele Rossi - Editorial/Pipeline Manager, VFX Artist, Compositor
Marta Monelli - Concept Artist, Matte Painter
Davide Elli - Storyboard and Concept Artist
Carlos Zarattini - Sound Designer

other friends will probably join the team during production, I will update the roster as it grows.

ok, I know it’s late, we spent a lot of time researching on our subject, writing the story and studying characters and environment before we decided we could actually do this… :slight_smile:
in fact we’ve been confronting since the first days of december and now we are ready to share with all of you what we did up to now.

our story was inspired by the legend of the Golem, telling the story of Rabbi Loew, who created an animated being entirely from inanimated matter to defend the Prague ghetto. (for reference)

we are going to produce a trailer. the title is EMET.
we first wrote a background story, a sort of treatment for an ipothetical full length animation movie, that provided us the guidelines for the script of the fictional movie trailer.

you shouldn’t need to read the full story to understand it, or at least that is our goal… :slight_smile:
the trailer will not cover all the storyline we imagined, we intended it as a sort of introduction to some of the themes you’ll encounter watching the movie.

I’m posting the background story and the first release of the script.

a shotlist and a detailed storyboard will soon follow, along with studies for characters, locations and final rendering.

thank you all and good luck!



it’s the golden age of industry. the world is ruled by science and by its best known symbol, the steam engine. everything, men and things, is big, huge, larger than life. it’s the age of inventions, incredible machines designed more to surprise than for a specific use, a sort of enormous and wonderful progress clock ticking with steam power.

we are in jerusalem. in this future, coal and steam have won their fight over oil and gas. because of this, the middle east is a very different place from the one we now know. the world has never been divided and jerusalem has developed as an enormous hub of cultures, old religions and home for people from everywhere. this metropolis is constantly stealing land from the desert, becoming bigger and bigger and more and more chaotic every day. in its skyline you can see tall skyscrapers merging their silhouettes with factory chimneys, churches, mosques and sinagogues. you’ll never see the top of these buildings, as they are constantly fading in a thick smoke of coal. a hot desert sun sometimes radiates through the black clouds, streaking the air with its golden rays. thousands of zeppelins and balloons are drifting in the air, in a city where the desert sand carried by the wind covers all the streets and junctions, making land transport almost impossible.

prayers from the muezzin on high minarets are mixing with the cries of the baboons from the desert infesting the city in search for food. orthodox jews, long bearded friars and punks wearing colored turbans fill the streets with their faces darkened by coal, mixing with people of all kins and religions. in the course of the years the whole city has become a huge marketplace: lively and colorful but also filthy and dangerous.

with this background, our main character, elias, lives his story.

he is an incredible inventor, responsible for most of the city technological improvements. he is the chief engineer in jerusalem, working as a consultant for all the biggest inventions of the time. he is young, enterprising and in love. with his wife, visionary architect, he developes constantly evolving projects. their masterpiece is meant to be a new house concept, a sort of big habitative machine, where automation helps men with all their needs. while his wife is designing the house, elias inventive power is focused on a new source of energy that should supply the power needed to run the huge machine: a small but everlasting heat generator, allowing endless steam production, which he refers to as “the lantern”.

sadly, during the building of the house elias’ wife dies in a lab accident caused by the unstable nature of one the first prototypes of the lantern. from that moment on elias quits his day job as chief engineer and throws himself deep into his work on the house to lighten his pain. finishing the house becomes the only purpose in his life. his genius, streaked with a vein of madness, ends up originating his greatest idea: the creation of a humanoid drone, built from scratch with brass, hardware, pipes and steam, designed to help him in his task. for endless months elias works on sketches and blueprints in his lab, until he creates, with his own hands, MUD (the Multiple Utility Drone). MUD, though rough looking and incomplete, is an incredibly complex humanoid robot. MUD is an unbelievable work of cleverness, knowledge and wisdom, reflecting the passion that drove its master during its creation in its every detail. elias developes a new prototype of “the lantern” to be used in the creature, which then becomes its lifeblood, the everlasting flame keeping the robot alive. with the torah-shaped lantern in its mouth and a wheel dial on its forehand spelling the word EMET (jewish for “truth”), MUD is the first golem created to serve and protect his master.

nevertheless, as all new works, MUD is not perfect. even though with its help elias succeeds in finishing the work on the house left undone since his wife’s death, his temper becomes worse and worse and he hardly tolerates the weird behavior of the creature. actually, MUD is not the perfect and obeying helper the inventor thought he had designed: with its unnoticeable gestures, reactions and iniatives MUD seems to be developing some sort of self consciousness, of free will. dissatisfied with these flaws and eager to refine his knowledge of robot design, elias begins to focus his research on the improvement of the single aspects of the design for a more complex creature. so he starts drawing and building simple mono-functional droids, to help with the thounsands of duties needed to keep his automated house clean and working. while the house gets crowded with all these new small and specialized robots, day by day MUD becomes less and less useful, until it ends up abandoned and forgotten in a corner of the lab without any more task to attend to.

years pass while elias continues to improve his technique, rapidly becoming the world’s greatest robot-maker. elias is now old and he doesn’t dirty his hands anymore: the robots he designed are building things for him, now without any flaws or imperfections. elias has also become rich, thanks to his inventions now widely used in every factory of the city again, but he still lives tormented by the memory of his wife and obsessed in keeping his house tidy and functional as a homage to her.

though, after a while, he found a new meaning to his life: recreating the experiment he made while building MUD, using all the knowledge acquired and his improved technical skills: a fully functional, perfect and flawless humanoid helper, capable of learning multiple tasks, just as he intended MUD in the first place. he then makes his perfect mono-functional robots work on this idea for a long time, until he unveils his masterpiece: ASH, the Automated Steam Helper.

ASH is big, shiny, beautiful and a brand new release of the lantern burns in it.
ASH overwhelmes MUD in every aspect: it’s faster, stronger, more accurate and, most of all, much more obedient.
ASH never asks questions, ASH obeys and executes every task without a flinch.
ASH doesn’t even have to learn anything, because it was flawlessly designed and programmed to perform the duty of keeping the house tidy and functional.

MUD sits in a corner, silently watching how its evolved successor succeeds in every task.

the house has never been so neat, ASH is managing everything to the point of perfection.
ASH is also re-scheduling the mono-functional robots to perform their job even better. More than that, it even builds new ones itself.
ASH organizes, plans, executes.
ASH is flawless.
ASH eliminates everything threatening its house, its perfect house.

soon elias discovers that this perfect machine is driving his life in a direction he could never have imagined. according to ASH’s simple logic even the inventor, along with dust, plants, insects and animals, becomes a threat to the perfection of the house. and this only because he lives there, creating disorder and garbage everywhere.

in an extremely short time the whole situation degenerates. a dangerous conflict emerges when elias tries somehow to prevent ASH from becoming the only ruler and master of the house, maybe of the whole jerusalem. ASH is out of control, elias needs something to stop it before it’s too late.

at the precise moment when the inventor is close to risking his life in order to stop ASH, MUD reactivates itself and hurries to help his creator. even with its imperfection, MUD holds a sort of conscience within itself, which is the result of the passion and the emotions its creator put in his wonderful first highly needed and inspired work. MUD was the result of a real need of a person who lost everything in his life and who put all his heart and efforts in something that he wanted to be real and alive. MUD now realizes that its main duty wasn’t the building of the house, but rather keeping elias’ life together.

the two golems fight hard, but ASH’s power is too strong for MUD that is overwhelmed and its lantern severely damaged. not all is lost, though.
in the end MUD, thanks to its “creative thinking”, wins, just by turning the dial wheels on ASH’s forehead from EMET (truth) to MET (death), thus deactivating it once and for all and saving the inventor and his house.
unfortunately MUD’s lantern is now unstable and dangerous because of the damage and elias is forced, much to his regret, to deactivate it too.

elias is now safe, and he finally understands the incredible value of the passion he put in his creation of MUD, his real masterpiece. he realizes that everything that came after it was a mere technical improvement, and that technical perfetcion had little by little become his only aim and an end in itself. ASH was never evil, it was only too perfect, hollow.

technique without passion had nearly ruined the inventor’s life, a lesson he paid dearly for.
elias decides to cling back to the passion that first moved him in the first place and so he restarts designing something that could improve men’s life without replicating it, MUD’s broken lantern on his desk as a warning and motivating symbol.

the door of the lab closes behind him when he goes to bed, everything is dark and silent. slowly a glimpse of light sparkles in the lantern. MUD is still with him.


fade from black, establishing shot of a road in a big middle-eastern city. sand on the ground, smoking pipes, wrecked buildings. merchants, orthodox jews, long bearded friars and punks.

camera slowly lifts up, a baboon is screaming on the edge of a terrace. a shop sign enters the frame: “jerusalem hardware LTD. brass, pipes, spare parts.”

over the sign a breathtaking view of the whole city. skyscrapers, minarets, churches, chimneys, sinagogues. zeppelins, ballons and black clouds. the golden rays of the desert sun are piercing the clouds.

cut to black.

video signal turning on. a sort of holografic homemade movie look.
a weird man is turning on the camera while saying: “this is the good one, i feel it…”.
he sits and looks into the camera, then says: “experiment 218 starting now, drone code F309.”

he grabs the camera and puts it on his head. (subjective) he looks towards a desk. a brass and glass made cylinder is burning with red light on it. cut.

fade in. a complex machine screwing bolts on a sleek and modern metal surface. fade out.

back to the holografic look, subjective. the cylinder in his hands, the man lifts his head up. we see a big brass robot standing in front of him dangling held by leather straps. the head of the robot is open and we can see pipes and glass in it. he brings the cylinder towards the robot’s head. cut.

fade in. the man, much older and with a long dress, is walking along a dark corridor with stone walls. fade out.

subjective. the man settles the cylinder into an opening on the robot’s forehead and closes a lid with a circular dial wheel. cut.

fade in. machines assembling a newer and more complex dial wheel on a metal surface. fade out.

subjective. the hands of the man manually set the dial spelling EMET (אמת), jewish for “truth”. rumble, the water starts to boil, the man slowly walks away. steam blows from the ears of the robot. its eyes open and light up. the man stumbles, the holographic camera falls from his head to the floor, framing him standing paralyzed in front of the robot.
the robot speaks: “what are your orders, master?” in jewish. the man jumps and screams of joy: “I did it! It’s wonderful! this is all for you! for you only…”. the camera goes in and out of focus, then cut.


 February, 3rd. 2109
     first activation.

the camera moves backward and we can see this was a looping holografic projection framed on a wall, like a photo album. the camera then rotates around the head of the same robot. it’s standing still, right in front of the projection, as if it wass watching the projection over and over. we are in a huge dome, made of copper, brass and glass, with walkways radiating from the center. after seeing the face of the robot, light from the projection reflecting on its face, we hear footsteeps, the robot slightly turns its head backward and the camera lifts up. at the other side of the dome the older man is entering through a doorway.

from a low angle perspective and then with a left to right dolly we follow the old man as he walks down the walkway towards a big metal console with pipes, valves and dials all over the surface.

cut to the console from a zenithal point of view, the man enters the frame and approaches it. he activates knobs, levers and dials, he presses a big button. all the pipes start blowing steam.

the camera slowly descends over the console and tilts upward. a gust of steam fills the frame and after fading reveals a new huge and shiny metal robot standing a few feet in front of the console in the center of dome, while the first one is still on a side, looking paralyzed.

this robot is noticeably bigger and much more polished than the first one and is sustaind by a complex structure of metal poles and robotic arms.

we cut to a medium shot of the robot while two mechanical arms lift up a cylinder like the one in the first robot but shining with blue light. the cilynder is inserted and a shiny dial wheel, the complex one we saw before, closes on it. a third arm turns the dial to spell again the word EMET (אמת).
steam blows, a big rumble and the eyes open and light up.

music explodes.

four rapid handheld shots, separated with black cuts:
-the second robot pointing its arm, explosion.
-the scared man backing up and stumbling, terror on his face.
-the red cylinder burning hot in the head of the first robot and close to explode, steam everywhere.
-the two robots running towards each other, ready to collide.


title: “EMET”



sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


sketches and studies for M.U.D. , our first robot!


This is a first release of the storyboard.
We still miss the ending and we will soon post a much more detailed one.
Colors are a fast reference for the graphic treatment and color correction: red is for the matte of jerusalem in the beginning, green is for the holografic-homemovie-flashback, blue is our main storyline.


Along with the first release of the storyboard here is the shotlist we are working on. We still have to evaluate a couple of shots and the entire ending, but for now this is it!
We plan to shoot an actor as our main character and some props, everything else will be CG.We will update the shotlist as soon as we finish an animatic to check if the timing is ok!Here it is:[b]


Establishing shot: from the detail of a road in Jerusalem (sand on the ground, smoking pipes, wrecked buildings around) we slowly lift through shop signs and we end up with a panoramic view of the city. cut to black.

Crane LOW -> HIGH, tilt HIGH -> LOW.


Elias is standing in front of an holografic recorder, sits and announces the experiment looking to the camera. He stands up and puts the camera on his head (subj.) e points to the desk where the lantern is lying. Video noise, cut to black.

Frontal FIX, medium shot, handheld subjective.


Fade In. Machines screwing bolts on a modern metal surface. Fade out.

Macro FIX on the mechanical arm screwing.


Elias lifts the lantern and looks up. he brings the lantern towards MUD

Elias’ subjective, COWBOY -> CU on MUD.


Fade In. Elias walks along a corridor with pipes and stone walls.

Dolly IN following elias or feet sideshot or low-angle frontal fix medium shot


Elias puts the lantern into the golems head and pushes the dial back. Cut to black

elias’ subjective CU on MUD


Fade In. Machines are assembling a similar but much more complex dial. Fade Out.

Macro FIX on the dial wheel.


Elias manually sets the dial spelling the word EMET and activates it. MUD wakes up alive and stands waiting for orders. A surprised Elias stumbles and the camera falls on the floor.

Elias’ subjective CU on MUD, then backwards CU -> MS then camera falls on the floor 90° clockwise. lowangle FIX Head-to-Toe.


MUD is standing in front of a holografic picture on the wall looping the movie. MUD turns. Elias is coming from a corridor at the end of the lab.

bacwards from the picture, CU of MUD, revolving around it 270° counter-clockwise, crane UP, pull focus on BG corridor.


Elias enters the lab and walks along the walkway towards the center of the room. MUD is watching, waiting for orders.

low angle L -> R dolly from the door.


Elias walks along the walkway towards the center of the room.

COWBOY side shot dolly L -> R


Elias stops facing the console and starts the sequence activating valves and levers. He pushes a button and the pipes start blowing steam. In front of ASH a small mechanical elevator lifts the lantern.

FIX zenith over console. then crane DOWN + tilt UP then dolly forward reavealing ASH Head-to-Toe


Two mechanical arms lift the lantern and carry it towards the hole on the golem’s head. A third arm sets the lantern in place, the dial closes e automatically activates. ASH opens its eyes. Cut to black.

MS -> ECU of ASH following the lantern then on the eyes.


ASH points its arm. SSomething explodes.
Cut to black.

Handheld MS


Elias walking backward, scared and stumbling.
Cut to black.

Handheld counterzoom on elias MS -> CU


The red lantern glowing and flashing in the head of MUD.

Handheld CU


The robots run towards each other.
Cut to black.

dolly R -> L from MUD to ASH




hi everybody,
these are two options for the logo of the trailer.

we wanted to explore something more connected with the world of the myth we are referring to.
that’s why we created this strange fantasy alphabet that has a sort of “antique jewish” flavor, without using the actual one to avoid any kind of misinterpretation or disrespect.

the second logo is the one we’ve been using up to now, which has a more “ancient hi-tech” look, with a small reference to the eyes of the two robots.

which one do you prefer? what do you think?


This is what we went through defining the style for the eyes of the first robot, MUD.

Any suggestions?



rough modeling for the dome-laboratory where A.S.H. is being built.


Hi guys , very interesting start here , i love the steamrobot!!
I’m looking forward to see more. :applause:

Forza ragazzi spaccate tutto!



Hi guys!
Really great job by now!
I’m so looking forward to see the progress!