Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Adding Appeal to My Short/Why It's Taking So Long To Finish

Lol, I don't know if I'll ever finish my short film! After I finish a shot I sit and brainstorm about the remaining shots I have left. During the session usually a pretty clear idea for a shot jumps out at me. I then imagine and scene and play through it in my mind. Asking questions like "how would a little boy act/react? How would a monster act/react? Whats the overall mood of the shot?" etc. Trouble comes along during this phase because the answers more often than not require more animation than I originally planned for. In fact, when I watch my animatic I see how lifeless my shots were. There wasn't any inspiration in there or any special sparks.

Anyway, the other night I got some inspiration for how to end shot 9 (watching a movie) which lead to how to set-up shot 11 (making faces in the bathroom mirror). Right now Taylor responds to Twitch's fear of the horror movie like -_O. He sighs and thinks "Wow, that's pretty sad...". The other night I asked myself is this really something a small child would do? The answer I received was no so I asked myself "How would someone Taylor's age respond?". I know he's a happy, out going, fun loving, and somewhat mischievous kid to contrast with Twitch's shyness, fear, and introvert personality. I decided Taylor would treat the whole training session like a game. He's helping Twitch while genuinely enjoying himself at the same time.

My current end for shot 9 doesn't convey this at all. I think my new idea does and is a much better choice even though it requires more animation (the shot is already a little over 300 frames long XD). Now Taylor will initially respond with -_O "eh?" but once he sees Twitch is genuinely afraid he'll become more sympathetic. Taylor will try to think of a different alternative, and instantly becomes excited when he arrives on the mirror idea. He grabs hold of Twitch and whisks him away to the bathroom. I have a very specific way that I want Taylor to carry Twitch too. I've seen little children pick up their puppy or cat this way and think it'll add a nice bit of charm to the shot.

Originally I had a tenth shot that would cut out to show Twitch hiding under the couch cushions in the family room scene. Back in class 6 I decided it was unnecessary and cut it out. The other night I imagined an alternative. I haven't decided if I'll use it yet though. I imagined the new shot 10 as a long shot of the hallway at night. You'd see Taylor's silhouette against the moonlight streaming through a window carrying Twitch across the hall to the bathroom. It's just a hook up shot so I don't really think it's necessary.

Next up is the new and improved shot 11. I'm ecstatic about this idea since previously I dreaded having to work on this shot because I lacked a clear idea for it, let alone something to make it stand out. Plus my new idea gave me a whole new bathroom layout. Before, I was struggling getting the shot to read as the audience looking at their reflection. I redid the entire bathroom and I think it's reading much better now. Anyway, we start with Taylor at the counter. He heaves Twitch up and sits him down on top. Originally I imagined Taylor standing behind the counter and going through his making faces routine. During the new layout phase, I discovered Taylor's too short for that, as the counter comes up to just below his shoulders.

Rather than changing the size of the set I thought about it for a moment. Little kids are short and it wouldn't be accurate for him to have the counter at his waist level like I originally imagined it. I tried putting Taylor on the counter to see how it would look and immediately liked the results. I also revised that a real little boy would probably climb onto the counter (knowing full well that he shouldn't). So now I have Taylor putting Twitch on the counter, climbing up himself, instructing Twitch to look in the mirror, and then launching into his face making frenzy. I've also come up with a few ways for twitch to react to Taylor's faces and actions. After his routine, Taylor will stop and tell Twitch it's his turn. Twitch, unsure of himself, will try to mimic Taylor, much to the boys amusement. Taylor starts laughing so hard he falls off the counter. Twitch watches Taylor crawl out of the room (still shaking w/ laughter) and then follows him off-screen.

While this idea is much much more appealing than my original shot 11 idea (if you can even call it that) it requires a lot more animation. I have no problem with that since I think the idea is fun and charming. It's bad news as far as finishing my short any time soon goes. It seems like every time I have a full idea for a shot it requires more animation than I originally planned for. Normally I'd just say no, I need to stick with the plan so I can finish it on time, but this is MY short film. I'll probably never have an opportunity for this again since I'll be working on other people's visions once I get a job. Plus I no longer have an academic deadline for completion, only my rough estimates of "get some new shots for my reel by Siggraph and the following spring". Rather than clipping/cutting performances simply for the sake of finishing faster I think I'll use my new ideas even though they're longer. I think the results will be/are (ex. the new shot 5 vs the original) much better and more sincere. What's the rush anyway? Once it's finished I'll be able to be even more proud of it since I'll know every shot was created lovingly and to the full extent of my abilities. =D

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