Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Third Year Beginnings.

I was tempted to name this post "The Final Countdown" or something equally as corny, but nobody wants to start the year off with a terrible pun, (unless you're my Dad, then it's standard practice).

So, yes, third year, the beginning of the end and yet it feels like my University experience has just started... (Obviously this post already appears to be filled with clich├ęs and all that jazz). After a lovely (albeit very geeky, but not very productive) summer, I'm back and ready to work my ass off. Currently this has involved acquiring a large wall chart and marking all the important (and scary) hand-in dates for Final Major Projects & Dissertations, it also has days marked off for when I need to update my blog... The plan is to update it at least every other Tuesday, so we'll see how successful that is. Days are also marked off for when I need to attempt to do academic reading for said dissertation. For those of you who wonder exactly what a pile of dissertation research is looks like, it's currently a little something like this:

Rather intimidating, yes? Especially when I tell you that the yellow folder is filled with photocopies and printouts of essays and book chapters as well. Eep.

However, on a slightly better note, this term will be spent developing our ideas for final films ready to pitch (in front of all three years of Animation, the tutors and a panel of industry professionals... although perhaps this is just as intimidating as the dissertation) and, hopefully, get selected to be put into production.

After spending the first half of the summer fretting because I had a complete lack of any creative ideas, I had inspiration hit me while I was on a train (somehow trains appear to be good for my creativity, in the past I've had a couple of ideas for other projects suddenly come to me while train travelling). Being paranoid about the possibility of potentially having to stand on a six hour train journey (Falmouth really isn't the most easily accessible place), I always book a seat reservation. And someone, it doesn't matter how empty the carriage is, will always pick to sit in my seat. Always. It annoys me so much. And then I thought, well, why couldn't I make this into an animated film? Obviously not just about a train seat, but why not ask people about all the random little things that specifically annoy them or they really hate? I could run around with a sound recorder and ask people the same question (a la Creature Comforts), then take their responses and turn them into an animated sequence.

Everyone I ask will have different opinions, so I want to replicate that with a range of different animation styles. In my Foundation year for our first 'Time and Image' workshop we had to create two images of ourselves and animate from one to the other, then we had to take our last image and animate it to the next person's first, it was really effective and despite everyone having created very different images, the piece worked as a whole. Sadly, I do not have the original video of everyone's work, but I have the section that I created, which you can watch below. I want to do the same for this project, animate all the 'phrases' separately, then take the last frame from one and animate it to the first of the next. I also want the film to have a kind of spontaneous feel, like the 'Lightbulb Boy' animation I did at the end of last year, each bit was really different, but it all flowed together.

After telling Andy and Derek and a few of my classmates my idea, it was suggested that instead of doing just things people disliked, that I include their likes/loves. So, currently I am in the process of juggling between the ideas of creating two separate films, a "Love" film and a "Hate" film, or making a completely combined one.

My idea is a relatively simple one, but I feel that if it is picked, it will have a much higher chance of getting completed than an a 5 minute long scripted idea. Working so closely (well, practically as a third year myself - I even got a 'medal' for "Wannabe 3rd Year" in our 'award' ceremony at the end of term last year) on Barista, I know that even with the best intentions and time management, it is not always possible to get everything done in time. Hopefully, by having an idea that works in segments, even if a section is not working, it can be scrapped and work without it. Even if I only worked with two other people on the entire thing, if we created five 10 second segements each, that would equate to a two and a half minute film to hand in.

Some inspiration:


And I leave you with a screenshot of the fruits of about an hour's work on Maya achieved (I've attempted to make something in order for a little test sequence I'm planning...):

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