So the animatic for this year's first animation project is done! Xinyi Guo is working on the backgrounds at the moment, and me, Lewis Rogers, and Lie Yandi Leonard are working on various symbols.
Ok, so the website for mine, Lewis', and Yandi's film, currently working titled "Is Your Fridge Running?", is up and running. At the moment the About Us page is still a work-in-progress, but now the blog's ready where you'll be able to follow the production more in-depth than I'll be posting here.
If you're curious to see the bare bones of a site that's there at the moment, head on over here.
We've yet to dole out specific jobs between us - with the exception of symbol building and storyboarding (Lewis on symboling, me on storyboarding) - so that probably goes to show just how early days it is at the moment, but I'm fairly confident we can come out of this with something worth watching. At the very least, we'll get some new animation for our respective showreels.
So, the new uni year starts Monday, and in the first 5 or 6 weeks, we'll be tasked with putting together a one-minute short. I'm teamed up with Lewis Rogers for our film (title pending, working title: "Is Your Fridge Running?"), and to give us a little head start on the time we have, I'm starting to put together the storyboard/animatic for it now.
The story follows a runner who discovers that the energy drink he bought has brought his fridge to life, and must chase it down through the city to get back his precious drink and the fridge that contains it.
We're aiming to try and have it symbol-based, as that's what we've been told to expect from the industry (doesn't explain why all the CalArts films are still frame-by-framed, but still), which'll help speed up animation and keep things as consistent as possible. Experience on "Under the Weather" tells me that the head/face symbols will be the most important ones to get consistent.
"Under the Weather", the 90 second short I made with Rainy Days Productions last October-December time, is now available on YouTube for everyone to watch, so go ahead and share this on Facebook, Twitter, or your preferred hipster social media site. Hell, even tell people in real life about it, if you like it enough.
In any case, here it is:
The project I did some storyboard revisions for had it's big premiere on the Millenium Square here in Bristol, and is now available to watch online!
It changed quite a bit after I left the project to work on the BBC Listening Project and "Dead and Breakfast", but I think the hard work everyone put into it shows through.
Just for a side-by-side comparison for how much has changed, here's the storyboard/animatic that I helped put together:
In the time since the last update, I've received my grades for the final two modules on the second year of my course! I got a 2:1 in Professional Practice and a First in Developing Practice, so good times all-round!
I've also reached the half-way mark in the animation phase of the BBC Listening Project! It's progressing really well and looking really good so far. The transition from animatic to animation's been pretty smooth and I'm certain that the beeb'll be happy with it once I've finished so long as I keep the quality level up.
On top of that, I've now signed up to do a storyboarding exercise/project with Justine Saint-Lo, an MA student at uni, where I will be taking her early beat-boards and turn them into a proper storyboard that can be turned into an animatic to hopefully pitch the project for further production. Exciting stuff and I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into it.
And on a final note, I've started thumbnailing out a possible comic book. It would be a short one-shot comic, likely below 25 pages, but enough that I feel it would be worth getting printed as a zine and putting up for sale. I'm looking at the potential of getting a table at the Bristol Comic and Zine Fair in October, and maybe the Bristol Comic Expo next May, and this would be a good start for material for both of those events. The story revolves around a cutesy love story between a fox and a werewolf, and I reckon would attract a fair amount of interest.
I'm also going to be turning the existing Sprakle animatics into proper animations soon, as well as producing more - but likely when some of these projects are a little more finished and off my plate.
It's gonna be a busy summer!
Another Sprakle comic, and another animatic! I'm almost certainly going to be trying to make time to make these properly this summer between the BBC Listening Project and the one-minute film in September.
And in terms of the one-minute film, I've come up with another possible concept for it involving a couple of arguing astronauts on the International Space Station. So I'm probably going to be developing that further over the couple weeks or so, so there should be some related art up here at some point.
Ok, so for a while now, I've had an idea sat on my harddrive waiting to be used or developed into something more. The idea was basically a single character - a happy-go-lucky, utterly innocent and naive, immortal, childlike unicorn with no concept of death - done in the style of those pre-school "learning to read" type of books with minimal backgrounds and simple character design.
This one comic has been sat on my computer since last summer, and I figured it was about time to put it to use. And while the Doctor Chaotic short would be quite good for full blown storyboarding and development into a proper short film, Sprakle definitely suits the bite-size sting style of content that's popular on the internet at the moment (ie - Vines), and the simplicity of it means that I could easily pump out either 5 animatics, or one completed 30 second skit within the time left in this term - and could quite easily be extended to fill 60 seconds if I wanted to adapt it for the one-minute film brief we're likely to be set for over the summer.
Here's the animatic for one possible short:
Picture that, but with an explosion sound effect at the appropriate point.
I already have ideas noted for up to 4 more shorts, and I doubt it'd take that long to brainstorm more ideas for him. The comic and this one animatic have already generated something of a buzz on DeviantArt, proving more popular than some of my fan art postings in terms of views, comments, and favourites, so I'm pretty excited for what the reaction would be to a more complete series run of these little bite-size shorts.
I've now finished the animatic for the BBC Listening Project, pending final approval from the BBC's representative. But if that goes well, then I'll be able to get the green light to go into production, and I can get the ball rolling on crewing up and getting more animators involved for the next phase of production. I'll probably also get someone to fulfil the role of producer to manage timetables and schedules so I can focus on making sure the animation and look of the thing works out.
The main issue I forsee in production is the move between live-action and animation - the short begins and ends with a transition between looking at a whiteboard and being zoomed out from that whiteboard to see the wider surroundings. If this costs too much time, then I can probably live without it, but I think it'd be a really nice touch and sort've explain the style of the whole thing.
Still, now that I've got this animatic done, time to get it approved.
I'm now a third of the way through the animatic for the BBC Listening Project, with just 2 mins 8 sec left to do. I'm aiming to really knuckle down in the next week and a half and hopefully knock out the rest of it and get some feedback, and hopefully, the go-ahead to move to the animation phase.
The basic jist of the short is that they're walking through a generic supermarket shelf, with cut-away sequences to illustrate some of the situations that they talk about.
If you want to listen to the clip I'm going to be animating, it's currently here on the BBC website.
If I can build up my buffer for This is Normal more in the next couple of days, I won't have to worry about it next week and that'll give me some time to really focus on this.
One of the projects I've taken on recently is the storyboard art/revisions for an educational film about ocean acidification. There's an existing animatic, but they want me to give it more life and give the characters more personality before they send a final thing to the client and move into full production. I should be getting an updated/final script today to work from, and hopefully will be able to get that done within the next week.
The film is intended for educational use by an aquarium, but there are plans further down the line for a potential television broadcast for it. Exciting stuff!