Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's the Final Count-Down!

Dununununun. Da da da da da da da da da.


Anyway, things are winding down toward the end of the year, and I'm somewhat proud of the progress I managed to make. However, there's still plenty left to go.

I managed to get my brother in to record, so Dirk's lines are taken care off, and now all that's left is to get Alice's out of the way and barebones mode should be complete. Meanwhile, I plan on cleaning up scenes as I go! As time passes by it looks like I'll still be working on the film after the semester's over, but I plan for that work to be mostly final touches and perhaps the opening and ending sequences. I don't think those segments will count toward my final projected time. Which when I think about it is a good strategy; worrying about how long/what will be in the title sequence is some wasted effort if one doesn't finish the bulk of the film first. Probably why productions have 'working titles', etc.

Anyhoo, my plans for the rest of the week/semester is as follows.

  • Record Final Alice Dialogue
  • Clean up Dirk/Lipsync
  • Clean up Alice/Lipsync
  • Additional Background elements

The only real problems I am expecting are:

  • Because I am adding in dialogue after, there may be a few accents and pops in the dialogue that I might miss.
  • Alice's dialogue may be of a lesser quality because operating the recording room with only one person can be hard.
  • Depending on time/clean up I may or may not reach color stage.
  • Same as above, but compositingy atmospherey stuff.

The solution?

  • Work over the summer! >:O

Monday, March 22, 2010

Past the Halfway Mark Now...

Midterms have come and gone, and up the trail marches the ever annual finals time. Considering my initial hope of finishing the film (or at least getting it wrapped up) a few weeks before finals, there is quite a bit of work left to be done.

So far, I've learned:

  • Schedules are fun to make but a little hard to stick to.
  • Recruiting actors takes more time than one could estimate.
  • Second-guessing oneself during the process hurts but sometimes produces OK things.
  • Blogs are hard to remember to post on but fun to post on.

Enough of that though:

My intent will be that at the beginning of every week I will state my plan for the week. I tried to remember updating every Friday, but considering the week has my brain frazzled/dead by then, I will post fresh on Monday. Now to see if I can actually stick to it :P.

Ok, so for this week, I think I will finally be able to wrangle my brother into CCS to record the dialogue at last. I had hoped to during my Spring Break, but as he is still in high school his schedule is a little... inflexible. But he claims he has a professional development/break day this week, so I plan on dragging him down and pushing him in front of the mic! Buahaha! Well, not so much. He was more than happy to take up the role of Dirk when I asked him.

Last week was a little... weird in that it seemed that the Ann Arbor Film Bumps seemed to suck up a lot of my time. I'm glad I did them, but I am now even more slightly off schedule. I was supposed to begin roughing/cleaning up. However, the break from working on the film was welcome since now, coming back to it, I'm kind of ready to start fresh and get back to work.

Since I fail at music, I'm thinking of either asking Ben to help me there, though I'm sure he's probably tired of people walking up saying "Lol Hey, Ben! :O Wants to make me some musics?!" So perhaps I will just get a soft, random loop. It's a student film. No one will pitchfork me for not having an epic, tearjerker score.

Things aren't going entirely to plan, but somehow I like it anyway. I remember how I felt in Freshman Year, where I would doodle storyboards randomly and dream about making films and telling stories. Here is my chance to. While I'm working, I always feel like there is more I could put into it. I see Christina up in Sr. Studio all the time working now, and wonder if I could do that too. By all means I don't want to work myself to death, but apparently late nights and long hours are common in the field I'm going into. And if I'm not always doing it now, when will I be? Will I be ready to when the time comes?

Sorry. Just a little self-doubt flying in there. Back to the optimism!

I'll work as hard as I can to get the film done, or at least to a reasonable point. Even if I don't finish right when the semester ends, I know I'll continue to work on it. I've put too much into this not to. Of course I'll have to find some way to get flash at home, since it seems like every time I get close to having enough money to pay for it some emergency pops u--Optimism!!!! I'll finish the film one way or another. Heck, I might even work on it after I finish-finish it! Revamp it from the ground up! Or make a sequel! Ten Sequels! ... Yeah...

As a Reminder to self, Wednesday we are to present progress to Josh, and Monday we are to show our Work Reel (film in progress) and any animation not in the reel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mid-term Presentation!

Today we had midterm presentations, and I showed what progress I made. Though I didn't fully accomplish my goal of having all my storyboard stills gone/replaced, I think I did well.

I shifted focus to putting more visual and narrative depth into the film by creating background characters/elements to enhance the story. These elements are things such as: other students walking in the hallways, really huge teachers in the hallways, putting a half-transparent gradient on background elements, etc.

I'm starting to "regret" the whole later half of my film, though I suppose it's not too late to change it a bit. Mostly I'm having issues with how the principal is revealed and that too much time there is "reaction shots" and "talking". At the same time I think it would be dumb to have everyone stop talking after the first half of the film has dialogue in it.

Possibilities are:
Perhaps I could break up the exposition a bit by replacing a shot with one of Alice escaping/climbing out of the window or sneaking out of the door. The characters could always be talking over it, off screen. You know, voice over.

Dirk's discovery of his clawed hand could be conveyed a little better I think. The whole "reaching toward the camera, OMG!" thing is a bit too cliche... I'm almost positive that I've seen it before, in a lot of places! What's worse is that for the briefest of moments, I considered a zoom in there. "Everybody get in the poooooool!"


Anyhow, I love watching the film sort of come together. I considered reworking some of the backgrounds eventually (after everything is done perhaps), and making them photoshop files or pngs or something and import them later. Both to possibly reduce the file size and to get a little more detail in the background that vector drawing won't allow. Or at the very least get some texture in there.

I really wish I had picked a longer time for the film, but at the same time this is excellent training in helping me compress my ideas to a reasonable time frame. If this film was even twice as long as it is, I'd probably be even further behind, and it would need twice as much work. I guess in the end I'd rather have a short, somewhat detailed looking film than a long, bland-looking, boring one.

As my Mid-term resolution I hope to update more! Uh... Twice every week? ......



I can do it.




Monthly Goal for March
Work on the Ending, since that seems to be my trouble spot.
Either Re-hash it or work it.
In comparison it seems rather weak compared to the front end of the film.
Think about the change in mood there (Reds/warm > Cold, blues/black)

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Layout!

I made a cooler layout for the blog! I was supposed to spend this time animating, but somehow I feel better after investing my time in making the film's blog a little cooler.

:) I'll just work extra hard in the next couple of hours.

EDIT Also, HERE is my revised ... Laika...leika... leika reel?

A Time for Change

I've found that one of the strangest things about making a film is that all the while you are learning new thing about the process and structure of filmmaking itself. Then again, I'm pretty sure that's the point of "Animation Projects". Since starting the winter semester, I've been taking Animation Concepts Lecture and Studio. Upon looking at some of the films and points in those classes and after doing some of the projects, it's made me look at Lovely School (LMSFLG was too long to type. :() in a different way. I'm going through my original storyboard and reworking a number of shots, such as the reveal shot of Alice and Dirk and more particularly the area around the big "Oh my gosh we're animals" reveal.

I'm also seriously considering reworking the ending, because story-wise it seems a little rushed and compressed. I feel like Mrs. Laidee (The principal) should show up sometime earlier. It's times like this that I wish I could extend my overall goal of the film being about 2 and a half minutes long, but somehow I feel like that would be cheating. So, I'm going to try to rely on background elements to tell parts of the story! Perhaps, in the hallway scene when Dirk's trying to subdue Alice, the regretfully empty hallway wall behind them could ... have the principal's office door on it. Or maybe a huge painting of her or something. I feel like I have to do something there though. There's a lot of empty space in both the film and the background. And rather than to put nothing or things not essential to the plot.. I'll put things... totally... essential to the plot.

Moving on, I've been fiddling around with the sound for the film. I'm not exactly musically inclined, but I have a little bit of experience with instruments. Mostly the piano and the flute (not so much). I do LISTEN to a lot of music at least, more specifically soundtracks to games, movies, tv shows and other things. Realistically, I don't think I'll be able to produce an epic musical score that will drive people to tears. But at least it will be a bare-bones something that will capture the mood I want for each segment. Perhaps during post-production I can take it to someone who knows a lot more about it than I do and they can at least know what kind of music I want. Or maybe this could be my chance to experiment. (I kinda did experiment in garage band and made this really weird... remixy... song... thing.)

I'm glad to see the film sort of coming together now. I'm not sure why, but at first I was super excited, during the middle I got a little frustrated and reluctant and nervous, but now I like the project a lot more again and I want it to become something awesome. At times I regretted picking this subject/plot/etc because for some reason I had this idea in my head that all student films had to be somewhat pretentious and deep and epic and stuff. Then I sort of realized that I liked this choice because I have always been a fan of cartoons, stories, comical silliness and things over all. I fell in love with animation and comic books when I was young, I still love them, and I hope that I'll forever love them and I want this project to remind me of that when I look back on it 20 years from now.


But what am I going to do for my Senior film?


D'oh. I'll worry about it later

Opening Shot v2
[Revised Opening Shot Background]

In other news, I decided to switch image hosting sites. Imageshack, what I've been using previously, is nice and all but I learned it's not really all that great for archival's sake. Photobucket is a more reliable choice, I suppose.

Edit BLARG. I accidentally deleted the template I had made... Oh well, I guess this calls for a new (and probably better) one!