Interview with Claado Shou
Name: Andrew Lee Triplett
Tracks: Revelation of Fire, The Third Guru
Claado Shou has taken three years of screenwriting classes, and was inspired to do screenplay for the CT movie right out of high school. As the creator of the project, he's been there from the beginning.
1. When did you first conceptualize the project?
Well, the project was announced October 15, 2004, and I had begun recruiting mixers in late September, so…I probably thought of the entire thing around mid-to-late August, and immediately began work on the script. It all just sort of hit me at once, really. I had been poring over Relics of the Chozo for a while, trying to make up a remixing contest (the horridly-failed TBMC, for those that were around) and playing Chrono Trigger, when BAM…someone smashed a light bulb on my head. It was instant.
2. About the script…what was that part of the project like?
Writing the script was very freeing. I took the Chrono Trigger game outline, the one on the Chrono Compendium, and then I erased all of the aspects of the game that weren’t necessary, or that detracted from the cinematic experience (a lot of the more childish humor, for instance) in order to leave behind the crème-of-the-crop in terms of scenes. Then, I went to work with that, making up dialogue, giving the movie a very distinct feel that wasn’t necessarily present in the game, one that has been reinforced by the soundtrack itself.
3. You and your script have gotten a lot of flak about the absence of Ayla and Robo, though in later edits you included Robo in a much more limited form. How do you explain that choice?
This has been the main reason behind a good portion of the Chrono Trigger fanbase not embracing my script, but it was a necessary choice in the end. The inclusion of Robo (in his full form) and Ayla (in any form) would increase the length of the script by at least an hour, introduce all sorts of new subplots, and generally confuse the main point of the story, which is not time-traveling, but rather, defeating evil. Though time travel may be the way it is accomplished, it is not by any means the plot within the movie.
4. Onto the project, was organizing the debut tough? How’d you get initial remixing support?
The debut wasn’t all that much work. After I had a good idea of what the movie was going to look and feel like, I simply started from what I knew best…the OCReMix WIP forums. Sephfire, Rellik, Emperor, and several others were recruited from that area of the site with no real trouble, and then I looked to other people with larger names, such as Unknown and DarkeSword. You wouldn’t believe how amazingly easy it is to find good help when you have a good idea, and when you can explain yourself and show some impressive work off. The script was a major seller for remixers, I think.
5. Was it tough picking out select tracks from CT’s expansive library?
When I was first making the OST listing, I wanted to have select tracks for each song, and that seemed like a good idea at the time. I picked them according to the way the Chrono Trigger soundtrack made them sound emotionally, and how the scene was supposed to play out, trying to put together the puzzle pieces before I saw the puzzle. However, I soon realized the error of my ways, and along with other things (such as no piano usage, one set of soundfonts, and strict time limits), it was dropped.
6. What’s your favorite track so far?
Wow, this is one hell of a loaded question. I would honestly have to say, simply from my own involvement in them, that either Track 16 (“Schala and the Queen” by ellywu2 and pixietricks) or Track 25 (“To Far Away Times” by Reu and pixietricks) are my favorite, and that is mainly because of the many weeks we spent organizing lyrics, translations, music, singing, mixing, and other various things involved with getting a song made. I even sang the lyrics myself for the sake of pixietricks’ getting them in there right, and I pray to God she won’t let anybody else hear them. They’re horrendous. However (and this is a HUGE “however”) every song is excellent, which is an assessment I hope that CT fans everywhere will share.
7. Run into any massive problems?
Massive? Nope, can’t say I did. There was that whole thing with my absence for two long stretches, but those issues were resolved, and the project just kept on truckin’.
8. What considerations did you make regarding track length?
Well, the general rule of pen for screenwriting is that one page of script is equal to one minute of screen time. Using that base equation, I estimated track lengths solely on what portion of the script they would cover, and not much else. If there was going to be a gap in the song, such as a cinematic pause in music or some other thing, I covered it in the song length by subtracting that uncovered portion, but otherwise, it was a very simple process. I left it entirely up to the remixers to see that it be done properly, and, well…they did it.
9. What do you hope to achieve with the project?
I can’t give you something concrete like “increase the CT fanbase” or “do CT some justice”. It isn’t as simple as that. I love orchestral movie soundtracks, and Chrono Trigger struck me as the best candidate for one, so…there you go. I wanted to do game soundtracks and movies alike some justice. Damn, that was rather concrete, wasn’t it?
10. Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?
Warm, not so much. But fuzzy…*scratches stomach lining*
11. Now, you had to go to boot camp for awhile. Did being away give you any new ideas or directions for the project?
Yes, indeed, it did. It was during boot camp (“Basic Training”) that I gained back my love for the project, my drive to do something with it, and my urge to complete it quickly. It was also during Basic Training that I conceptualized the idea of having lyrics in the piano finale, and then it all came together when I heard pixietricks’ “Prayer”, so thar yar.
12. Are you ready to become a great figure in Chrono fandom? Hah!
I don’t know why you think that’s funny. Of COURSE I’m ready. I’ve made my robe and everything. I have my Crono wig, and my Magus scythe, and my Marle dress…I’m gonna be fabulous!
Yeah, that’s what my cat said too.
14. Aherm…do you have any future projects you’d like to attempt, now that you’re successfully pulling off a site project on OCR?
Well, I promised pixietricks a few months ago that I would write her a Zelda script, and I’m still working on it, so…we’ll see what my schedule (and general demand) dictate. But if I had the chance to do it again with Zelda, you can count me in on that one.
15. Do you play any instruments?
I did want to learn to play the violin, and my mom even bought me one on my 15th birthday, but…it rests now in my closet, amidst cobwebs and broken dreams. So no, I don’t play any REAL instruments.
16. When did you first play Chrono Trigger?
Well, I at one time owned a Super Nintendo, and I distinctly remember never owning Chrono Trigger. In fact, it wasn’t until after I had braved such 3-D classics as Final Fantasy VII and X, as well as other, much more graphically impressive games, that I even played Chrono Trigger at all, though I still instantly fell in love with it. I personally think that loving a game after seeing things much more advanced and much more stunning than it really speaks for the long-lasting effect, and overall greatness, the game contains. Damn, I love me some CT.
17. Anyone you’d like to shout out to?
Everybody that helped out with the project, mixer/designer/artist/ supporter/naysayer/whatever, you deserve a big hearty “KTHX” for your input. In my best Cartman voice, “I love you guys”.~
18. Are you happy with how things turned out?Yes, indeed I am. I think that after all the various things this project has gone through, all the relationships built and all the phases we’ve passed, how many different roads we began down and then averted from, I really believe that we’ve come out on top. I finally have the chance to see my vision fulfilled, the artists all have the chance to hear and experience their music the way it would be laid out in the movie, and all the listeners finally have their beloved project.
19. In retrospect, what was the most difficult aspect of the project?
When we had the original deadline, everything was a time crunch. It felt like the world was collapsing at our feet and nothing was getting done and it wouldn’t ever be released. As soon as I realized it was a semi-foolish dream to try and achieve, considering the extensive work the music needed for cohesion, a lot of that self-imposed stress melted away, and we all felt relieved. So that tense period right before the planned release, that was the most difficult part…the mounting pressure. Actually getting the music done and the movie realized…never a problem. The artists did very well.
20. If you could have done something differently, what would it be?
I would have been more stringent in the beginning, getting project files and WAV files from the start instead of letting it pile up at the end. Other remix projects are improving upon my bad example (thankfully), so at least from my mistake others have learned. Sort of sucks to be “that guy”, though.
21. Plan to organize another project?
Well…time is a luxury I won’t have much of after 2005, what with deployments and switching commands and all, so unfortunately not. Sorry if that disappoints, but oh well.
22. Any notes on the future of the CT movie script?
I still hold the opinion that a CT movie could never turn out the way it should actually be, and while I think my script comes closest to portraying the heart of the game while doing without the extra stuff, I still think it wouldn’t be just right, and thus should not be made. So as for ever getting a movie made, I hope not. As for trying to get Square-Enix to realize the fanbase their beloved series has and the money it can certainly rake in for them, I guess my script (and the project, especially) might be formidable weapons in that fight.
23. How's it feel now that Symphonic's complete?
It feels like I should stop sitting in front of my computer screen so much and start getting out more. It’s sort of made me realize that while this whole camaraderie thing feels good, there’re other things and other people that you could be enjoying. It feels like the beginning of (cue corny music) a new me!
24. Anything you'd like to say to Chrono fans?
I know a lot of toes get stepped on in the fanbase whenever it’s realized that Ayla didn’t make the cut, and Robo’s been reduced in form and importance, but remember that this project wasn’t about the script, it’s about the music. If you can’t embrace the script for whatever reason, at least give the music a listen and really enjoy what’s going on. And if you do like the script and are waiting impatiently to hear 29 songs you all can really indulge in, then thanks for the support. And to all Chrono fans, happy 10th to Crono and company!
25. Keep us updated if Mitsuda or someone else drops you a line!
Trust me, if Mitsuda himself contacted me, I’d only be able to type a letter an hour, I’d be so shocked. But if it comes to that, sure, I’ll let you know. And then maybe, just maybe, I’d make time to do another project, with Mitsuda as my collaborator. Wouldn’t that be something?
Author Comments on Tracks
Revelation of Fire - I really envisioned this song being the beginning of the new ideal for Crono and his friends…they may have found this strange world of the future, and they may be forever changed by their experience thus far, but by viewing the video, they finally see that they now have a new purpose, and begin a journey to destroy Lavos for good.
Schala and the Queen - For the lyrics to this song, I envisioned Schala talking to her brother Janus. Even though they are separated by the evil intentions of the Queen, constantly forced to opposite ends of her throne, she loves her brother and wants to protect him. And now that the past is being relived, with Lavos being summoned once again, Schala feels that this has happened before…and she feels that she has betrayed the one she loves. So she asks for his forgiveness, visions of their doom in her mind, as destiny unfolds.
The Third Guru - This song went through a number of hardcore revisions…many ideas were tossed around, and many were tossed aside. The final product is a short, sweet, to-the-point kind of song that details the mysterious traversing of the party through the destroyed dome and the beginning of a new adventure.
To Far Away Times - The lyrics to this song are my favorite. I wrote them for Marle and Crono, specifically Marle in regards to Crono. Since Crono doesn’t speak in the game (though he does in the script), I wanted her speaking for both of them to be a metaphor for their connection. I got the idea for adding lyrics to Reu’s gorgeous piano finale when I was in Basic Training (boot camp), and wrote the lyrics there. The Japanese was a nice way of returning to the game’s roots, and making the faster-paced areas of the song seem less frantic. And since Japanese is such a beautiful singing tongue, and pixietricks is phenomenal, it was a great decision.
Chrono Symphonic ExtravaganzaProject Summary
Other Staff Interviews
It's been a wild ride, everyone. If you'd like to check out other avenues for celebrating Chrono Trigger's tenth bithday, remember that the Compendium has a celebration page set up here. Enjoy it everyone, and be sure to grab the special edition! We've waited a long time -- happy listening!