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...

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