Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Breakdown status; Bilateral
Monday, 28 May 2007
Breakdown status; Critical (no sudden moves, have a medical team on standby)
Thursday, 24 May 2007
So one shot and 69 frames down, 22 shots, 2480 frames and 12 days to go.
*insert expletive here*
Breakdown status; Early stages (care is needed)
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Then Tim Rice the lyrical knight came through the animation studio on a tour of the uni with various cameras and minions in tow. The workshop had more or less finished by then so we just made ourselves look busy even though we weren't. Tim Rice then watched my film 'John and Karen' and said "I like that one, that was great". Maybe I could put that on the DVD cover; "I liked that one, that was great" Sir Tim Rice, Lyricist. It could go right under "My Mum liked it" Felix Massie, Animation student.
Yesterday I spent ages editing the final dialogue and animatic. Then I watched Blade Runner. Today I spent ages re-editing everything I did yesterday. I have finished now. Here are the second draft of the animatic and the third and (I think and hope) final draft of the animatic;
Third (and final) draft
Now that is done I have made a chart ready to colour in and tomorrow I will definitely start animating. WOO!
Breakdown status; Ignorable (if I don't think about it, it is okay)
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
I then made a start on the list of activities that I had planned. Reading the scribbles in my notebook I realised that most of them worked better with larger groups of people so I had to scrap a few ideas and settled for two of the easier ones. These I failed to explain adequately and they achieved little more than coexing looks of confusion and disbelief from everyone. At that point I decided it was time for lunch.
The afternoon was better. I moved on to the main part of the workshop I had planned which was developing ideas in a free-flowing kind of way. This involved everyone writing a random word, then swapping the words with each other and writing a sentence with that word. Then in groups of three each of those sentences was turned in to a synopsis for a narrative film. Then a member of each group pitched their three ideas to the members of the other group who then picked one. Each group then developed each of the chosen ideas in to a narrative for a short film which they presented to the other group at the end. Overall it seemed to work and I think people enjoyed it. I'm not sure if they left with any new knowledge but I don't think they lost any either.
Tomorrow will be about animatics. I have a better idea of what I will be doing tomorrow. This is fortunate as we have to look busy for Tim Rice.
Monday, 21 May 2007
My team is going strong. So far Scott and James have modelled and textured the chair and a crate. Amy has modelled the radio and radiator. Should have a full room ready for rendering soon. Next priority is buildings and rain effects. I am doing my first of two workshops tomorrow. After that I intend to finalise the dialogue and animatic and start animating. When that happens I will say 'woo' out loud. I am also staying on campus until Friday so I can comfortably work in to the evenings (my best working hours) with out fear of being unable to get home.
Sunday, 20 May 2007
I followed a simple recipe of 250g of brown sugar and 110ml of water with 25g of butter. With no measuring apparatus at hand I guessed the ratios. As you can see from the picture there is a fair bit of smoke, this was around the point at which the fire alarm went off. I question whether a a Teflon coated pan would have been a wiser choice but perhaps not as I may have caused it irreversible damage.
Saturday, 19 May 2007
In other news my two day workshop has been organised for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Having never organised or run any workshops before I am a little bit terrified but I think it will be okay.
I think I may also have found a voice artist! Daniel Barker, the drama student from Bristol got back to me yesterday, he had even already recorded two versions of the script himself which was good of him. They weren't quite what I was looking for but I think with the right direction he can hopefully nail it. To aid this I decided to send him some directions for the next recording;
While I am in directing mode I will do a run through of the script from the point of view of 'Character Motivation'
- When the man rings the operator he is not expecting them to have a number for God but thinks he might give it ago just in case.
- When he asks if they can check he is not angry as he knows it is an odd request but he would like to be sure so his question has a tone of 'sorry for the inconvenience' to it.
- When they say they do have a number for God the man is naturally surprised but not too surprised. He was not expecting them to have the number, but more because he didn't think it would be so readily available; the issue of God having a telephone is within the bounds of his understanding of the world so this is not what prompts the surprise.
- With this opportunity to talk to God now, unexpectedly, available the man jumps at the opportunity to be put straight through, a touch of disbelief and uncertainty in his voice.
- Not really thinking about what he is doing as he waits for God to answer the man takes a big bite of his toffee apple, he loves toffee apples.
- When God answers, although excited the man still sounds casual and friendly but forgets his manners and starts talking with his mouth-full. God comments on this and, slightly apologetic, the man tells him he is just eating a toffee apple. God says he likes toffee apples and the man, pleased that this is the case, agrees that they are good.
- Having agreed on the goodness of toffee apples the man quickly tries to finish his mouthful to talk properly. As he does this God asks him if there is anything he wants as he is quite busy. The man realises he hasn't thought about this and quickly thinks of something to say "Um...yes...yes I do have a question. One question..." with an "um" the man tries to think of a question. This is his opportunity, he is on the phone to God, the God, the creator and knower of all things and he has this chance to ask him any question he likes so best make it a good one... and all that he can think of to ask is "Why can't I lick my elbow?".
- The man is almost immediately disappointed in himself but, as it turns out, God's answer is actually really interesting. The man listens to God's description of the very specific and important reason why the man is unable to lick his elbow and receives a marginally deeper understanding of why things are the way they are. Genuinely impressed the man lets out a wistful sigh that essentially means "Oh, now I see!". God finishes with an example of what would happen if, say, the man could lick his elbow; this sentence is the single most sensible thing the man has has ever heard anyone say. Taken aback by the pure logic of it the man can't help but agree with a "Yes...yes I suppose it would..." The man pauses as he thinks about this revelation for the moment and then, remembering himself, thanks God for the answer.
- God asks the man if there is anything else he can help him with, but it needs to be quick. The man quickly tries to think if there is anything. His mind is blank as far as questions go but he does spot the rain and thinks how nice it would be if it was sunny and he could sit outside on a bench somewhere. He suggests the issue of the rain to God, not wanting to be a bother. The rain almost instantaneously comes to a stop. The man can't believe it, he thanks God like this "Thanks...thankyou...God" He adds the word God at the end of the sentence as he now realises that it actually is the God that he is speaking to. It wasn't that he was doubting it before and the answer to his question made a pretty good case for the actuality of it being God but it was not undeniable proof. The rain is however and it's abrupt end on cue has left the man a little bit speechless.
- With the man unsure of what more to say, God wraps up saying that he really needs to go and he advises the man not to call again as it is a nuisance to just have random questions asked of him, that he has better things to do and that it is not a listed number anyway. "Okay...okay I won't" the man says. God makes a quick comment about the mans hygiene issues and perhaps suggests that he call his sister more often before hanging up. The man puts the phone down and thinks about what just took place and about all the better questions he could have asked God. He takes another bite of his toffee apple.
I hope that that is enough for him to work with. Now is the issue of when to record it. He is unavailable this weekend so the only time I can record it is Monday as I want to start animating on Tuesday evening after my workshop. I haven't had a response yet regarding his availability on Monday so as a contingency I have booked the sound studio at the university to record myself on Monday. If Daniel is unavailable I will just have to use my own version and hope it's okay. Casting is always something I struggle with and I am not very good at it. I think I could have been more organised with it and have sorted it sooner but nothing has been lost yet other than a lot of time that I don't have.
Breakdown status; Speculative (spending a lot of time thinking about the possibility)
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
The film is called 'Operator' and it is about a man who telephone's God and asks him why he can't lick his elbow and God tells him. That's it really. Here is a rough design still...
And here is the first draft of the animatic...
It is poorly voiced by me at the moment but this will be remedied soon. The dilemma is that I can't really make much progress until I have got the final dialogue recorded. As the pace is so reliant on the delivery of the dialogue I can't lock down an edit yet so I can't even start animating the non-dialogue shots. Fortunately I think I may have found a suitable candidate today. A drama student at the University of the West of England in Bristol has shown an interest and I have heard some of his work and he is really good. I have not had direct contact yet, I emailed him today and am just waiting to hear back. I just have to hope he is available and willing to do it. Hopefully I will hear from him tomorrow, if not I will try and track down his telephone number and pester him like a pigeon. If that doesn't work I will find someone else as soon as possible. The last resort is I do it myself but I don't want to resort to that. I need to get the dialogue recorded by next Tuesday at the very latest really.
Breakdown status; Stable but under observation
Monday, 14 May 2007
Day 2 (Thursday): Not having the convenience of getting a lift with James Manning (animation tutor whom I recently discovered lives 2 minutes down the road from me) today I tackled public transport to Newport. Incorrect train times and poor knowledge of bus routes at hand I set about missing everything and arriving in Newport at midday, two and a half hours after leaving Bristol. Fortunatly despite this setback I had a very productive afternoon, managing to start and complete the animatic for my film with rough CG backgrounds, scribbled character and a monotone dialogue read by me. This made me happy so I had an apple. I then went to catch a bus and arrived at the train station with an hour to go before the last train to Bristol. I killed this hour by eating a packet of crisps and some mini-cheddars from the vending machine and reading two chapters of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K Dick. It was half way through a third chapter that I was informed that the last train to Bristol had been cancelled. I went to a friends house and slept on their sofa. It rained heavily.
Day 3 (Friday): I got in really early today, refreshed from lack of sleep and covered in cat hair. After a few cups of tea I made some tweaks to the animatic ready for my presentation to the students in the afternoon. I also made another to-do list, but this one was of things I need the students to do. At 2pm it was time for my presentation in E8. Once most of the students had turned up I made a start by spending 10 minutes pressing buttons on my laptop pretending to look busy. Once I had run out of things to click on I started my presentation proper. This mostly consisted of showing bits and pieces of my work and a few animatics and mumbling away about what was what while leaving out most of the useful information. I then showed my animatic and talked about the film idea; style, method, timeframe etc. I think people liked it and quite a few people showed an interest in helping so that was good to hear. I then had to work out what various people could get on with. I didn't get very far with this so we just arranged for people to come to me in E6 on Monday. I forgot that the third year crit was taking place for a sum of Monday.
(This bit here is the weekend. I had big plans, workwise, for the weekend, but these didn't quite materialise. All I got done was a prop-list and some rubbish character designs)
Day 4 (Monday): I went to the third year crit in the morning. I felt strangely nervous. At the break I had a cup of tea and some flapjack. This is not a noteworthy event but it was very good flapjack, the kind you feel like you should be thanking someones mother for. I had another cup of tea during the second half of the crit and only nearly spilt it once. In the afternoon I gave some CG modelling tasks to my first student helpers (the potentially mispelt Aimee Hibbard and Scott Macdonald from the second year. If I namechack people here it will hopefully help me remember everyone's names when - hopefully - more people are helping me). I then did a bit of Maya organising and started a mock-up design still for the character and background which is looking okay so far I think. I then left to make sure I didn't miss any trains. Not a massively productive day but things should pick up. They need to.
Breakdown status; Safe (moderate stress but at normal and managable levels)
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Being an ex student of Newport I was somewhat dissapointed to find that everything was exactly the same size as I remember it.
There isn't much to report for today. I had a cup of tea and then got set up in E6. Maya wasn't installed and I forgot my wacom tablet so I wasn't able to do much other then all the useful schedules and to-do lists that I usually avoid doing and then later wish I did do so that was a good thing.