9 Feb 2011

Story development: solving Act 3 problems

Few days ago I got some very constructive feedback from both Aland and Phil regarding the story and how the animated short is read by the audience. Essentially, act 3 wasn't clearly resolved and failed to convey the ideas intended. As well as soundtrack's tonality contradicted imagery. To solve it decision was made to change the ending.  Plot hasn't changed at all, and  themes remain the same only now the music is transcribed better.


  1. JJ - it's stronger, yes! But I have a radical suggestion for you. I think you need to re-draw EVERYTHING. I'm not suggesting that you colour everything in - but you need to deal with the real detail - of movement, emotion and performance. I think you've been looking at your own images for too long - and its time to make some real decisions. I want you - simply, just with simple black outlines - to TELL THIS STORY THROUGH PERFORMANCE. Don't get caught up in redrawing backgrounds etc, just show me that you understand all of Ivan's movements. For example - when he first wakes up, he should be in a kind of shock - panicky - he doesn't know anything at this stage, except he needs to get out - listen to the music, it's actually more panicky, more busy and suits this mood.

    Think of this next animatic stage as a guide - not to the story - but to the animation of your character itself - deal with the details of his behavior - and instead of 'saving time' using the tablet and cutting and pasting etc - I want to see how Ivan is truly going to move. You need to understand this before you start animating him in Maya for the best results.

    All this work will be worth it, JJ :)

  2. Or what if I doo the exact same thing but in maya.

    I'd get the rig done asap, and just pose the bird in still positions.
    It would be exact smae thing as you sugested, only a 3d animatic
    it would be something like this:

  3. The only thing I'm worried about is that, somehow, these methods mean you're simply not getting an understanding of the motion - I think there's something about the act of drawing - showing squash and stretch, exaggeration and anticipation - that you need to 'show yourself'. There's is progression in your animatic - how Ivan progresses - but no real sense of how he 'animates'. Remember - Maya doesn't animate - it moves something between decisions - you have to understand animation from the bones out. In the end, your story will 'live and die' by the success or otherwise of Ivan's performance. Don't underestimate your job. You need to think of yourself as an 'animator' - I'm worried, if you don't do this extra bit of prep, the fluidity of your story won't be there; obviously, you can be rigging Ivan and prepping scenes while you work on this aspect too, but I know both Alan and I would like to see a simple, black and white, line-drawn, animation-centred animatic BEFORE you start using Maya to understand your task.

  4. So that this task served me as an exercise?

    Because, don't get me wrong, it is not that I don't want to do the work where it needs to be done, my fears are only will 6-7 weeks be enough to produce 3:40 minute long animated short, what in our course actually is given the time of 10 weeks (production+postproduction) (Minor/major project animations, which then again, are mostly 1:30 - 2:30 long,)?

    I'm afraid and trully doubtfull If I could manage this (Remembering I have other commitments apart this course as well)

    Or... I could do that, but for key parts, or a portion of animation to get the understandind and so on...

  5. I think you could do this exercise in a few hours, JJ - it's a working drawing- a way of exploring what you need to do. You ALWAYS have your eye on the deadline - it's a strength - but you're also prone to be very stubborn (it's true - you can't deny it) - and sometimes you want to find ways to cut corners. I think this approach is limited - and will limit you in the end. You are meant to be finessing your sensitivity for animation and performance. You should do as you feel - but all I'm really asking you to do is to be ready to go into production - and time or no time - I'm not sure that you are. A few days ago, you were a 'stranger' to your own story - not really sure of its direction or how to make it work structurally. I think you're rushing the important stuff and I would ask you to be more focused and specific about 'how' you're working - and why (i.e. what's the real point of producing this animation?). I detect some defensiveness here, JJ - it really isn't necessary. Why wouldn't you want to finesse your knowledge of Ivan's performance? I'm not asking you to make a pretty animatic, I'm asking you to engage in a very practical, very immediate task. You could be done by the end of the day, if you wanted to be. There are still many places in your animatic where intercutting would lend excitement and texture - JJ - it's the 'art of storytelling'.

  6. I think I understand you now…I’ll go and make it happen.

  7. the point is you need to be pushed - we all do - to ensure we make the very best work and don't start to mistake 'getting it finished' for 'getting it right'.

    Be amazing, right? :D

  8. Thanks Phil :] Will try to :D