Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Did I mention I'd gone mad?

Oh my well hasn't it been a while, er, yes, ahaha... right, well, after that interestingly long absence I suppose I should inform this web page about what the chuff has been going on for the several decades that I've been away from it. So, yeah, remember way waaaaay back when I was doing that film about two sky pirates in a flying ship? No? Didn't think so. My class were a bit surprised when I pitched it as well after having heard nothing about it preceding the last animatic viewing crit before Christmas. My tutor wasn't too informed either.

Alas, now this left me with a dilemma; the class sympathising with why I wanted to do the sky pirates and seeing I'd done about the same amount of work and understanding the animatic was rubbish because I'd made it in the last forty-eight hours (and really, it was quite dire), my tutor blasting a hole the size of Albania in my head for doing something so colossally stupid. Now I had two films that I liked but couldn't decide between and was dying over equally, because whichever one I picked I would be blown to smithereens, if not by my class or teacher then at least by my own brain saying what the hell did I think I was doing.

So, er, I'm not saying I'm doing one or the other, and I'm not saying I'm not doing either, and I'm not saying I'm not trying to do both.

...Shut up I know I'm going to die if I did that, which is why I'm going to make my class choose for me when I get back when I have enough material done for both.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Let's pretend that didn't happen...

Had a bit of a nervous breakdown. Had a good old whack over the head with the sensible stick. Should be getting back on track soon.




Ahahahahaheeheheehoo woop.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

About bloody time...

The extent of my idiocy and the time it takes for me to figure things out will never cease to amaze me, BUT I think I might have managed to re-write a crucial part of the film and I might even get away with not having to have any script. At all. Like, really.
Naturally I'll try running it past a few few people to make sure they can understand it without any dialogue- if it falls down I don't mind having a few lines in, and it would actually make it flow more nicely; just some supportive narrative, but nothing that's heavily relied on. This does, on the other hand, mean that I don't have to freak out about looking for a voice actor immediatly; because it won't be lip-synced if I have any speach I don't have to preplan sections of animation to fit around it so exactly. I have much more time to think about what I will be using in terms of verbal script and I can really focus on the visual clarity of the story, which is awesome because I've had very little direction at all for the past week. It's a bit frustrating that my brain has taken that lng to figure out what to do, but now I have at least something different to work on that still feels like my work. Now what I need to start panicking about is finding a good composer...
Meanwhile, life continues, as does the rain.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Better late than never...

Do you have one of those moments where not even a double face palm is enough? Not even a triple headdesk combined with face/concrete? Well I had one of those last night, and I actually literally did face palm at two in the morning, although I'm glad it at least happened to me now rather than later (that would be a "we don't have a DUCK?!" moment, and if you don't know what I mean by that it's probably more entertaining not to explain it).
So I'm having problems with my script, this is no huge suprise to me because I'm not exactly a natural script writer; I've always liked creative writing, but all I've ever been educated in is writing essays and descriptive pieces, hence my problem of making everything long winded and up its own arse with seventeen thousand clauses per sentence. So, come on Sarah, think, what ELSE do you do that involves story writing that you've done your entire life that your really enjoy and have some base knowledge about?

Comic writing.

...It's as if a brick wall just slapped me in the FACE. I even wrote a comic for the back story of two characters for another film idea in the summer! What the chuff?! Well, now that I've realised that I'm a collossal moron I can at least start to let panelling ideas and plot structure start to wriggle about in my brain while I'm doing some more tests today, and maybe get onto thumbnailing them later. I've drawn comics since I was, like, nothing years old, and I've even stated that one of my excuses for doing so is to improve my storyboarding ability.

Take that Hydron Collider. Yeah, I went there.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Going backwards or forwards?

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure which I'm doing at the moment. I attended a tutorial session to get feedback on my animatic yesterday, which was very helpful and I got some great advice, but acting on it... I'm not quite sure how things are going to work out.
Basically I was advised to try writing the narration from a different perspective, namely have it as a memory of Warren's, and we are hearing him remembering the events. Interesting to go back to this idea, as that is initially what Doyle was doing when the story still featured him and not Warren. This is all in the pursuit of shortening the amount of dialogue and making the film a little less pretentious, as I have a style of writing that is, frankly, a bit up it's own arse (you can blame grammar school for that). Unfortunatly, on trying this approach, I've ended up not only with a longer script than before even after several attempts, but it is more difficult to sympathise with Valerian, which is an essential aim of the film.
So, I'm kind of stuck in the mud at the moment and not entirely sure what to do about it. I've been doing occasional test animations (hair, smoke, cloth etc.), which is all very fun and should help in the long run, but it's frustrating when I can't proceed with the actual story and animatic, which is essential to have a good solid base for before I can go looking for a composer. People also seem to find the new voice I have for Valerian to be too cold, posh and unemotive- naturally there was always going to be a rpoblem because I could not give the actor feedback during the recording, but this is rather discouraging, as I thought his performance wasn't that bad and sounded pretty much exactly like I imagined Valerian to be.
So, here's hoping that people can help me out in tomorrow's seminar session/a thunder bolt of inspiration strikes me on the way to Boots. Low on paracetamol and motivation, it's hard making a film running on empty for either. Ah well, it's all downhill from here!

Monday, 9 November 2009

So it's been a while, how are you?

Oops, a week really can pass you by quickly, can't it? Well, massive angsting and terror about the pitch last Monday was pacified by the pitch being... not very terrifying.
For a start there were no proffessionals to monitor it, which, although a little dissappointing, was actually a huge relief, though the criticism of my peers if anything means more to me than any one person. Secondly there was no 'pitch' as such; we weren't even allowed to speak at all! Our tutor obligingly interupting us at any moment we even looked as if we were about to open our mouths- a little disconcerting and very different from the previous pitch, so I can't say if I was 100% convinced it was fair to have led our expectations to such levels of anxiety for something we had no control over, but it did mean that we could simply play our animatic and then run for the sanctuary of our seat in the darkness once more. This made the whole process a lot less painful and infinitely faster than the previous pitch session, and having a simple grid scoring system for us to discuss and fill out for each animatic in groups of three was a pretty ingenious system for a diplomatic marking process. Albiet we still haven't seen the results.
Nor are we going to for some time it seems- today's session having been postponed for a week as two of our tutors are ill, which is a shame, but it does mean that I can continue with the walk cycle I was working on over the weekend. I'm currently trying to decide the line style of the film; I'm halfway between my usual clean line style, which I would have to ensure all the lines of which are joined up neatly to colour in digitally, or a looser, scratchy ink style that I also enjoy working in, which would mean colouring in by and but would also mean I could afford to be less accurate and free with my colouring. I may upload examples of both later if I have time... Depending on how the test works out could mean more or less work in the long run, but the look and feel of the film is crucial, as it is such a visual piece of work.
On that basis too I have been thinking of how to reduce the amount of spoken script in the story, as I am quite aware that there is far too much at the moment, and according to most people I have spoken to the story is self-explanatory enough for me to cut out the vast majority of it, the question is how, what and where. Too much and it is as it is now- a little too patronising and the speach actually detracts from the visuals, too little and I risk it becoming too hard to understand and unengaging. If I can book a tutorial session for this Friday with our tutor (who specialises in story structure), then I'm sure she can be of great assistance to me, but until then all I can really do is continue to work on the visuals. If I can map out the script to a master version within the next two weeks it would be ideal though, as I could start in earnest to create the backgrounds and create a real timetable for animation production.
Ah well, the concept work continues... again, I post most of it on the DA account if you want to browse, though I may as well post a few things here now again!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Here we go again...

SO after getting utterly emo-style depressed (I think I cried the equivilent volume of the Nile on Tuesday) for no real reason and having to actually REMIND myself WHY I want to be an animator on Wednesday, for crying out loud, I've decided that I just have to get my head down regardless of some select opinions and do this thang. For one, everyone who's seen the animatic and my concept work actually wants to see the film, which is more levels of awesome than I can explain in words, and for another they all understood it! Which is a huge relief. There are minor changes that are needed to improve the flow and I still need to take out a lot of the script, not to make it shorter, but the main character really does talk far too much and it detracts from the film. I will also probably need a different voice actor- as guilty as it makes me feel, the revious actor being a very good friend of mine, but his voice really doesn't work for the part.
This is all hunky dory and fab, so what, I hear you ask, is with the angst-whinge-gripe-moan fest? Well, the tutor I saw on Tuesday said that one phrase that every student quails in fear at hearing from someone they really respect and listen to; "I'm concerned". For a start this guy is the last person in the world that I want to trouble on any level because he's been so supportive and inspiring for the past two years, but then I have the problem that he practically told me to start again and do a completely different film. This, for me, was somewhat more than crippling (especially when I'd just had to unwillingly play my first uber-rough animatic in front of a tonne of first years, who actually liked the film to my astonishment and relief), because out of all of my tutors he is the one that I practically swore to myself that I would never refuse to take advice from. Now, I hope from my progress during my previous time at Newport, and even during these past few weeks, that all of my tutors appreciate that I do not refute good advice, and I actually welcome critique- anything that can improve or shorten the film I gladly accept, and the entire film is incredibly different from when it started out because I have followed their advice and guidance.
However, there comes a point where the straw doesn't just break the camel's back, it simply slices through it and then you end up with a Damien Hirst exhibit.
The advice wasn't cold or insensitive or foolish- it was well meant, sensible and put in a tactful way, but the thing was that the film I was being told to make was... not my film. Not a film that I would want to make and not a film that I would really want to see. I was being advised to make something that didn't have a climaz, was just a contemplative statement, not with a real conclusion, no action sequence, no speach, no real story. Not that I don't like that sort of film (I mean, if you look at Pixar's short animations they practically all fall under this description and I adore them), but I found it utterly disheartening when my brain simply doesn't write those sorts of films.
The 'problem' with my film is that is a sort of minature movie; a complete story in four minutes, with an action sequence, the development of a relationship, even a plot twist. It's something of an insane undertaking, but according to my peers it doesn't feel rushed and is "engaging to watch, you want to see it to the end and then watch it again"- not my words, their words, which still knock me for six. The whole fact that the idea of a short film being a mini-movie is observed as a bad thing just confuses me- that's partly the point of it; to prove, not only that an 'epic' film can be told and told well in under five minutes, but also that someone at my level of education and age can make it, can make something crazy, ambitious and a little impossible. Katsuhiro Otomo wrote Akira when he twenty eight, is it really such a stretch of the imagination for a twenty one year-old to try to do something not even a hundredth of that scale?
I am more than a little anxious, as there is a fine line between believing in yourself and being plain obnoxious, but the thing is I am not making this film for myself; I spent much of yesterday just going through work that I have done over the years, and especially looking at the work that I have found the most satisfying and rewarding, trying to remember why I'm even on this crazy train to start with. It's a stupidly obvious answer, but I'm not doing any of this because I want to get a good grade, please a specific person, stick to a status quo- I want to make a film that people will enjoy watching, something that will make people say "hey, that's pretty cool, I wonder if I can do something like that, or something better." If I stick around trying to please all of my tutors I will end up not only being depressed, but I'll be making a film that, by standard, is good, but feels empty. A film that isn't mine and that I'm not satisfied with, and if I'm not happy when I'm working on it then I'm less likely to finish it than if I keep going trying to make a difficult film that I feel encouraged to make because people want to see it; I just want to make people happy! I have at least ten people who have genuinly said "I want to see this finished", and between them and one man's word, or even all four of my tutors, I have to go with my gut instinct and finish what I started, finish what I want to do, even if I don't get a great grade for it.
That said, the animatic is now under full colour production and I'll be working on character turn-arounds and colour charts inbetween panels. Hope I'm not putting my head into a noose that I can't break out of, I guess I'll just have to hide a hacksaw up my sleeve if I am...