Sunday, 27 November 2011

[Insert witty Pre-Production joke/pun here]

So, there's been quite alot of changes since I last updated, and it feels like time is fast slipping away, as it always does when a deadline is rapidly approaching and my timetables are looking more and more scarier...

After realising quite early on I wouldn't be able to accomplish everything I want to do for the piece on time, I asked Hugh Herbert to be my co-director. Hugh has helped to give the project a bit more of a boost to the (and I use the term loosely here...) 'narrative' of the piece, helping to come up with new sequences, something I was struggling with when sat on my own with the original ten page transcript of quotes.

After constructive feedback from my tutors, the structure of the project has also changed somewhat, instead of having the whole piece just continaully morph from one thing to the next, it's going to be more segmented - kind of like a little sketch show - with different scenarios in each bit. This should make for much more interesting viewing, giving me the oppurtunity play around with the pacing and timing as well. Hugh has also suggested tweaking the style slighty for each segment, so that the piece has the same kind of style throughout, but different variations and themes for individual love/hates, hopefully this too will make the piece more interesting than just "I love A, I hate B, etc...".

The frustrating thing about working with a soundlead piece is that it feels like I'm working backwards, normally you have the narrative idea, then storyboard/animatic from that and worry about the sound last. However, I'm having to figure out the order the soundclips are going in, which clip flows into which, can I use both the love/hate they say in the clip or just the one, how will it morph to the next one - if it does at all, and so on and so forth. Only once that's all sorted can storyboarding any visuals begin. This is why Hugh has been so helpful, just having someone to bounce ideas with makes the whole process much quicker and the visuals come along more naturally.

Trying to put voiceclips into a logical order:

Another problem that has arisen by working on a soundbased project is what to actually put into the animatic. I still want to go out and record more people so I can get the largest possible source of material to work with for the final film, which means there's no final narrative or soundtrack to work to yet. This poses a problem for my friend Rob, the music man, as I can't give him anything definitvie to work with. However, since we need to hand in a scratchtrack with our Animatics, to give a sense of what the final thing will be like, I put together a 3 & a half minute set of clips for him to work with, which is working well so far:

This again has affected what I am able to do for the animatic: after speaking to Derek and showing him the animatic script; he asked if it was going to be the same for the final film; after I said no, he suggested just making an animatic just for the clips I would like to use in the final film. This has made it much easier to figure out which clips I need to properly storyboard and work on (more schedules!.

I've started mocking up some parts of the animatic with my storyboards...

And have have also done one bit of the real animatic so far:

(Virtual cookies for you if you can tell which famous horror film that shot pays homage to...)

I'll post another update sometime later on this week focused more on the design-y side of things.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Once more unto the breach...

So, Love Hate (I'm still not sure whether to refer to it as lovehate or LoveHate or Love Hate...), has been picked to go into the prelimary stages of production!

There were so many that the tutors wanted to put through, that sixteen projects have been asked to work up until the animatic stage. Where the projects will be reviewed on the strength of their stories and animatics which will be used to review and cut down the number of projects down to ten. I think this is a pretty good idea since some of the projects last year had already began to slip their original scheduling about this time.

So, speaking of scheduling, now that my fate has been determined, this week is all about organising. Something that, as sad as it is, I rather enjoy doing as it feels like you're actually getting somewhere, even if you have a bomb of stuff still to do, (something working on Barista taught me pretty early on). And after discovering today that there's just 28 weeks until the final projects are handed in, which, in theory, seems like a very long time, it's probably a good thing I get organised asap.

The animatic deadline is on December the 5th, just over three weeks away and requires are rough sound scratchtrack to accompany it, (some people, like Dan, whose project Fentil: Another Life has also been picked for production, are ahead of the game there as he prepped his animatic in time for the pitch). As mine is all about the sound I'm currently editing through all of my voiceclips: trying to link ones together where I can visualise the imagery of one flowing into the other; some are naturally linking together rather well, others - not so much. And meanwhile my friend Rob is busy making music, so I need to give him the final order asap. So far, so stressed.

To help me try and get organised, I've typed up transcripts of all the voice recordings I've done so far...

Transcript - All

This morning I created a proper schedule! (Scary). It'll probably be revised countless times, but it will serve for now. How much I'll stick to it though is another matter (I haven't been great at sticking to my plan of doing bi-weekly blog updates, but my blogging has always been sporadic, and it means I've posted more than I would've done, so it's not a negative in my book).

Here's my plan for my plan:

And the actual thing itself:

(I like making things colour co-ordinated, can you tell? The darker a colour is, the more important the task is, except green - that's in Rob's hands not mine - and orange is holidays!)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Tomorrow is Judgement Day...

Well, the last week has been a pretty eventful one and been super busy all in the run up to the pitch on friday.

Since my last blog post I've created a whole load more of concept art and some test animations...

Kathy suggested I put together a visual research file of the things that had inspired me to create the concept art, some are more relevant now than others, but in the process of trying to get the look for my project, they all inspired me in some way.
Style Inspiration Bible

One of my own loves (which I'm told by my housemates is very weird...):

"I love watching the sun rise" Sequence:

Newer version of Birds (as it would be animated):

"I hate fish":

Sea animation test done in After Effects:

The fish I hand animated... It was super frustrating, because it took me two hours to scan in, only to discover that it didn't work... it's not great: the tail flops around all over the place, but I feel my timing has vastly improved since last year.

I think now, (well, all depending if my project is picked...) that any rough animation I do will be done in Flash or ToonBoom Animate and then, when I know the timing is correct, I'll draw the animation in graphite or whatever other medium I'm using for that section.

The fish and sea combined look a little something like this:

Ah, I'd almost forgotten to add this, a video of the rough soundtrack that my good friend Rob Allen has been working on for me, which I was contemplating playing it at the pitch, but I have collected many more voiceclips since sending him the (very) rough edit I put together for him to play around with. This is only a rough version done in Midi, put gives an inkling as to what the final thing could sound like, however I think I need to spread the soundclips out a bit more, it's really rather quick at the moment.


So, this is something I forgot to write on here earlier, but a couple of weeks ago I emailed six local primary schools asking if I would be allowed to come to the school and ask the children (and staff) the love/hate questions. I had two responses, one yes and one no.

Paula Ross, the deputy Head Marlborough School, was kind enough to invite me to the school on Thursday to record the students. The students were forewarned of my arrival in asssembly and many had already thought of things to say when I turned up at lunchtime. Paula's class separated into two groups and sat in a circle as I recorded them one by one, which worked really well, although the children who couldn't think of anything quite often said similar things (it turns out, alot of boys hate the colour purple...), Paula then led me around the rest of the school to interview smaller groups of children which provided a much larger range of responses and some absolute gems which I'm certain will go into the final film (if it gets picked). After interviewing the children, who ranged from 4-11, I asked the staff the same questions. The school was so helpful and accomdating, the whole thing was much easier to pull off than I expected thanks to Paula's organising. If the film gets put into Production, I'm going to keep in contact with the school and send them updates as progess (hopefully) continues, however it may not go anywhere, it's beyond my control now!

Which leads onto the deciding power...


The PITCH. Both Kathy and Derek said that I should create some more concept art to show at the pitch, which made me think, why can't I explain my idea through concept art? So, to explain the process behind lovehate, I decided to do just that, have a corresponding picture to what I was saying.
My actual pitch was really quite short, my idea was very simple to explain, so it really didn't need long. I thought I'd try and keep it short and punchy, and the corrseponding pictures helped to do just that and even got a few laughs which was great (and intended I might add).
I was second to last in the pitching order, which made me mildly annoyed (I really wanted to just get the thing over with - I tend to get more nervous the longer that I have to wait to do something), it was probably better, as the rest of the third years relaxed around me, I felt alot calmer when it finally was my turn...
Lovehate Pitch

The presentation probably needs some explanation, so here's a small summary essentially of what I said:
- Everyone in this room has at least one thing they really love and one thing they really hate: it might be something completely unique to you, or something that you share with others. My current hate is standing in front of a room full of people and trying to explain my idea, something the other third years will share with me. I want to make these individual love and hates come to life on the screen. So the idea behind lovehate is quite simple:
- I will take a number of peolpe of different ages,
- Stick a microphone in front of their face,
- Ask them to tell me one thing they love,
- Ask them to tell me one thing they hate,
- Record their reply.
- Think about their reply.
- Visualise their idea.
- Storyboard the idea.
- Animate the idea, taking the last frame and morphing it...
- ...So that it becomes the first frame of the next sequence.
And then I showed the concept art of previous answers.

The panel (made up of 4 industry professionals), complimented me on my pitch and (I think) overall were fairly positive and quite liked the idea. I feel I got away quite lightly, quite a few people got some grilling from them and struggled to answer some of the trickier questions. I feel I did quite well, but I guess we shall see tomorrow when we discover which projects are going through to production. If my project hasn't been chosen, there's a multitude of other ideas I would love to be able to help out on. But then, if mine is chosen, that's a whole new fear altogether!