Monday, December 31, 2007
First of all, hope everyone had a good Christmas, and relaxed a bit, and have a good New Year too!
I can see we haven't gotten many more responses on the Evil Stevil story and I'm equally as responsible, but it's the holidays and they're for taking a break really.
Having thought on this a bit more, I cast my vote for the new death (ie evil death) simply because I think the story will run smoother. I wish I could write more about this but I'm skiing on new years so I gotta keep it short.
Whether or not we decide to change him, I don't think it's a good idea to do a complete upheaval of the story, as stated in my previous post. A simple change of death's character should be more then enough to decide which way to go, along with other small adjustments.
I also think a script is really necessary, a good point from Rory was that it cuts out a lot of confusion when it's precise and to the point. I was trying to find examples but nothing yet.
I'm really not organized enough thoughtwise to be suggesting what our next step would be but I'd love to hear your opinions Plan B.
Either that have a great New Year, and drink/drive safely (not both!!!!)
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
It's a great idea, because then you get to play with magical bully. Wedgies from miles away, killing guys to have a good seat. Angry looser Death is more dynamic and fun to watch, than some pansy, wuss, weak gay undertone Death. And Stevil is made better because of the new relationship, instead of wooing death over decades, he slapped the shit out of Death the first time he tried something and now does it every time death makes an attempt.
I think it's more fun.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
in response to the leica, i liked most of it, but some of it could still be cut, a lot of it actually.
but the new stuff thats happening in the jump made me laugh. i guess its suppose to be cheesy rite?! and the end is a bit more together than before so thats good as well.
as for the new version or not....it doesn't matter as long as what the group decides, maybe we can vote on this blog? but we should stick to it and resolve the problem we face and not jump on a new idea everytime we get stuck. that being said, im not saying which idea is better or not, its just b/c we gotta finish this sometime b4 semester 2 ends and so theres not a whole lot of time to jump around. ideally we would all like to explore every possible story ideas that we have, but right now we just can't afford it.
for the new script, id suggest that ppl who wants to take part could get together and work on it and post the scripts on the blog for rest of the group to comment. ideally if we get through few revisions of the script during this holiday, we probably be in good shape when we come back. if the scripts tight and clear then boarding stage wouldn't be that big of a problem.
this is my experience from the summer having worked on a short film w/ fellow 3rd yr students. we got a lot done during summer with about 6 members. (in the production stage when school started ) for those who wants to see what our beat script, here it is CLICK ME!
this is the final version and we've gone through about 5+ revisions.
we basically boarded from the script and changes were made based on the critiques of the leica.
anyways, let me know what the rest thinks, my vote is for the old idea. :P
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Frank, I totally agree with you about the need for structure, and that we need to keep the ball rolling on this film. I also agree that Friday would be a good deadline for making a decision about where to go with death's character as that is the real lynch-pin in our film, and a decision that must be made before we can move forward. I personally feel that Saturday is too soon to have the final version of the script because if we will be boarding from it I think we will all need time to read it, review it and make changes if need be. As you have written all of our previous scripts, I am assuming that you'd be doing this one as well, and if that is your intention: GREAT! The other scripts have served us well, and I can only imagine that this one will top them all. That said, I personally would like a chance to read it, edit it and have input on it before we move on to boarding. Finally, while this may not be a popular thought I feel I have to put it out there: having our final board done before school starts seems like it might not be realistic and could be a waste of time. The fact is, when we boarded separately over reading week the results were disastrous, nothing fit, there was no direction, it didn't work. Now think if we had put the time into cleaning and scanning those thumbnails how much time we would have wasted. I think we'd be better to make sure we finally take the time to do everything right and be realistic about our abilities. My thoughts on how this might work are as follows: First as a group we need to develop a really tight script, and then we should each do thumbnail treatments of this script in whole or in part and based on whatever section(s) inspire us most. But not super quick "lets just get this over with and clean it up so it is perdy thumbnails", but thumbnails that take advantage of being thumbnails and allow us to work and rework the visual storytelling: the contrast/affinity, the continuum of motion, the screen direction, the continuity, and most importantly the acting, the character business, and entertainment (ie. put the funny in it). These kinds of things are admittedly lacking in our current boards because we never had the time to really work on them. Well now that we do have some time we should take it. If we could return to school with thumbnail boards that are really strong in terms of visual, cartoon, storytelling then I think we should all be very happy with that because then we need only clean and scan and edit in that first week back and we will have done a good job of everything. And remember what DQ said, these boards do not have to be beautiful - if our roughs serve to tell the story we might not need to clean them up very much.
As for the characterization of death debate: it is great to see all of the discussion going on. I agree with Tracy about the need for clarity and that is why, like Kayla and Jason (who both had some very good points on the subject) my vote is going to the antagonist version of death. It is clear and can be easily explained in a way that the old version never could: Death is a powerful villain with a complete inability to do his job in the case of one man: Evil Stevil. Evil Stevil is a daredevil, a "death-defier", it is his business to tease Death by putting himself in deadly situations and then proceed to NOT DIE! Death is a bully, he never had a problem taking anyone away until Evil Stevil stood up to him, but once that happened Death slowly begins to have a nervous break down about his own impotence. The humour lies in the conflict between these two characters and, as Jason put it, in Evil Stevil being too stubborn to die.
The other version took too much waffling to make work. At one point Death had to have wanted Evil Stevil to die, but after living with him he now does not, but then he is "ok" with it in the end. Those are three separate attitudes that need to be at least alluded to in the film or the whole thing makes no sense. And is Death conflicted about wanting ES to live? He should be, because he is death, but he isn't, because we don't have time to have him debate it. And then there is the infamous parachute, the real proof that this version wasn't meant to be. Why did we put it in? To justify the relationship between Death and Evil Stevil. To try to give it a reason to exist - a payoff. And yet the parachute really failed to bring that payoff because it didn't feel natural. Simply put: if it was necessary to create such a contrived situation as the parachute to give this relationship a reason to exist, maybe that is a sign that it just wasn't right for this story and this group. The relationship was so complex and yet had no real purpose within the context of the story - it existed as a concept that was funny to pitch to people but became the cement shoes on our film's feet.
I believe that this isn't the case with the new idea because not only does it take less explanation and justification, it fits into the story better. It provides an antagonist and a clear conflict: Death wants to kill ES, ES wants to live to do his final jump. And it helps us along the way to a clear premise and theme: If you live life without regret and fight for your dreams then death has no power over you. If the old version had a conflict it was muddy at best - ES could have been the antagonist, the Jump might have been the antagonist, or was it Death in his bid to stop ES from trying to achieve his goal? And the premise was even less clear. After 4 months of working on that story I'm still not sure about either one, so how could the audience be sure in 4 minutes?
In response to Kayla's post:
We need to, in simple terms, tell the audience that death, although death, is not as strong as folk tales make him out to be, this meaning, he can't just touch ES and kill him.
I'd say that death is still a strong villain, just not in the case of Evil Stevil, and that is why it drives him nuts and gives us opportunity for humour and to make ES a hero figure. Think Sideshow Bob and Bart Simpson. As for the touching, I totally agree, they need to be able to contact each other without ES keeling over. But I think that is as simple as making Death's scythe the killing tool, not his touch. This can be established in the 1st scene when Death tries to get him with the scyth but ES fights back and stops him, and then at the end we can have Death pull the soul out of ES's body with the scyth. It'll be totally manageable to never have the scythe touch ES until he dies. We can decide how much we want to make use of the scythe concept, but it would be a fairly simple solution.
As for the story list: I think that we need to resign ourselves to the fact that things will have to be changed. I agree with axing the stuff that didn't play well and as Kayla alluded too I think we need to rewrite Death throughout the film, particularly in the opening and the ending. I would also suggest that we get rid of death's sweat suit and the whole soap opera thing. This will allow us to cut time and keep the focus of the first section on what matters: the final success of the model jump and the character's reactions to it and to each other. In addition, I don't think that this Death would live with Evil Stevil, nor does it seem in character to poof into a track suit when he is trying to seem menacing and powerful (even if he is failing at it). I realize that people liked the sweat suit gag, but it won't really work in this case, and death will be easier to animate in his foot-less cloak anyway. And we can replace this gag with others so that people won't miss it.
To conclude: I am glad to hear that people liked much of our current version, and I think that by the sounds of it most of the things that people enjoyed will still exist in the new version and most of what they hated (the parachute) can be dispensed with and replaced with more of the good-stuff!
Hope everyone is having a good start to their break!
- Chandalere (I was suprised, but no one liked it)
- speed of the actual jump (way too slow)
- too much dependence on dialogue
- TV (where annoncer is talking, liked announcer, but didn't get where it was coming from)
I sat down with Emslie (who came to the screening) and we talked about the two options of death's character. He seemed to really like the new and revised death, mainly because that blasted parachute could be cut). He also felt that because death ultimately wants ES to die that when he does, both character essentally win; Death kills ES and ES finishes his jump.
I think if we go the route of Death wanting ES to die but it too wimpy to actually get the job done, then we'll have to really think hard about how to describe ES and Death's relationship. We need to, in simple terms, tell the audience that death, altho death, is not as strong as folk tales make him out to be, this meening, he can't just touch ES and kill him.
so finally my vote: I vote to work with the new idea of DEATH WANTING ES TO DIE.
STORY IDEAS....(if we go new route of Death)
- Completely take out Parachute. (YAY!!)
- no more chandalier :(
- when ES is doing jump, I was told that the announcer sounds like he already knows what is going to happen, Instead we should make the announcer moreunaware of what comes next, make his lines more too the point and quicker, this will speed up the jump. We need to make the jump more climaxtic, not through obsticles (we've already done this) but through pace.
- Death changes to casual clothes, but instead of him walking to the TV he can mention he's going to watch his soups and ES then immediately interups him with the success of the mock jump and the pea.
- If Death's character changes, do we really need the part when he talks to himself about "where will I go, Ill be a widow". This doesn't work with his new character. we can still show his finger being cut off, and instead, yes is scares him, but then it sparks the whole fact that he's finally gonna get ES. He can maybe point out parts he might kill ES "Oh I'll totally get him there, yes, hehehe!" This might help the audience understand their relationship . When ES interrups him with the phone call we can splice a bit of dialogue off of this bit.
- we can rethink the dialogue at the end, make it a bit more to the point to drill the fact that ultimately they both won, but maybe ES won a bit more, seeing he doesn't care, can I maybe see the script at this part?
That's all I can really think of right now...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Our main thing now, it seems, is deciding about our story, and how it'll roll. We were all "Yeah lets change this sucker up" and then our leica got some good reactions, so now it seems like we're split even?
Our choices go between Death LIKING Evil Stevil and WANTING him to live, and Death HATING Evil Stevil and WANTING him to die.
You know what? I think that we can make both these stories exactly the same, and then just decide on which Death character to go with.
BOTH these Death's have an opinion on Evil Stevil. BOTH of them have a goal, of either LIFE, OR DEATH (kinda black and white)
The difference between the two is how they act when Evil Stevil dies, but, I think BOTH stories can have Death learn the lesson at the end, that life/death isn't everything, Evil Stevil only wanted his goal.
Here is the interpretation I came up with, and this is of course the very bare bones of each story
Story 1.) Death wants to save Evil Stevil's life. Story begins, yadda yadda, Evil stevil chokes, Death comes in, saves him. Evil Stevil says jump works! Death says NO WAY (he is SAD, because Evil Stevil may die) and tries to talk him out of it. Evil Stevil does the jump anyways, lands it, dies. Death is SAD, because he's dead. ES doesn't give a rat's ass, ALL he cared about was the jump. Death realizes that living your life to the fullest is better then living longer and boring(er)
Story 2.) Death wants to END Evil Stevil's life. Story begins, blahblah, ES chokes, Death comes in, EGGS HIM ON, tries to take him, ES slaps him away, saves himself. Evil stevil says JUMP WORKS! Death says NO WAY (This time he's HAPPY, since ES might die) and tries to make it go as fast as possible. ES does jump, lands it, dies. Death is HAPPY, since he's dead. ES doesn't give a rat's ass, All he cared about was the jump. Death realizes (again) that dying once a dream is accomplished is no loss at all.
So it might be redundant, but I am just trying to point out the both ways could work EQUALLY. SOME might point out that there should still be a moment in story 1 where Death realizes he has to let Evil Stevil go, but, I feel like that could be the very END of the story, so he's all worried and terrified the entire jump, towards the end he starts cheering for him, he's ECSTATIC when he makes it, then suddenly devastated when he fails, but ES shows him that it's not a huge deal.
Of course, this is only what's turning in my addled brain, so if anyone thinks this is a terrible interpretation of it, feel free to change my mind! I love seeing other people coming up with ideas, so I can't wait to hear what other people come up with.
I am still undecided which version I like better, but that will change as we hear other people's ideas!
Come on everyone :) Either make a new post or add on to another one. If we can't meet up we can always talk here.
P.S I think when we're going through the story, we need to have more solid answers for certain questions, pertaining to a character's personality. We need to be SURE of ourselves in this, imo if we're not confident, the audience won't feel it either, and it needs to be either YES, or NO, or YES/NO with an exception, and the exception needs to be JUSTIFIED CLEARLY. EG: Does Evil Stevil ever say thankyou/sorry. NO. ONE exception is at the end where he is dead (old leica btw) and he vaguely thanks Death for saving his fanny, because well, Death DID save his fanny. EG#2: Would new Death (ie evil stevil hatin death) KILL people outright instead of waiting for him to die? NO, never, yadda yadda something. Does that make sense? I feel like if we are more certain about what a character is likely to do, the certainty reflects on how solid the character is
I’m a little frustrated with some of the things that I’m reading. It’s no one’s fault, but I can see that we’re in dire need of some organization if we’re going to get anything done over the holidays. I don’t have all the answers but I figured in the midst of chaos, I’ll get the ball rolling with some order. It seems that right now we’re all doing a lot of complaining, with no one offering any solutions. So let’s get together as a team and attempt to fix some of the problems we’re experiencing. I’ll try not to rant, but I do want to hit on some key points. Overall, I think we need to focus on practicality and communication.
First of all… Idealy, meeting in person at the school over the holidays is a great idea but I think it’s impractical for most. IF school meetings are going to be held, then I think we’re going to have to face the facts that 3 people showing up may be the best we’re going to get. Even if there are only 3 people, is that not still enough to at least get something accomplished? Other things have gotten done with even fewer than 3 people contributing. If anything, the best opportunity to get some work done is individually, and then displaying and discussing it on the blog.
Which brings me to my next point; The blog. We have such an incredible tool right at our finger tips. If we organize ourselves, this blog will make everything so much easier for us. We need to start using it for the right reasons….to display and discuss work and deadlines. It’s such a practical tool. Why even bother meeting in person for 2 or 3 hours when we can have people contributing to the blog at their own convenience around the clock.
Structure. Nothing will get done without some deadlines. Strict deadlines are ideal, but again, It’s the holidays and people are running around doing a million other things. So we need to have tentative deadlines with a window of a few days for completion. If someone’s late in contributing, we shouldn’t wait for those people and have them slow us down. They lose their say. We move on.
Finally. Kayla touched on it and it's a very important point. I want to elaborate. Dedication. Ideally we’d have all 13 people contributing equally. I now believe that’s extremely nieve. I dont think it's realistic to expect everyone to be on hand to work all the time. I've missed meetings, we've all missed meetings. we're all guilty of it, and that's ok so long as it doesn't hinder our success. That's why we have 13 people. Power in numbers. I don't expect everyone to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the film. But i do expect, and the GROUP expects everyone to do the albsolute MOST they can, to the best of their ability. The fact is, the only incentive for people to get work done for the film over the holidays is personally driven. If someone doesn’t have the personal motivation to contribute, what can we do? It’s the harsh truth. I urge everyone to contribute their work and ideas. We have a strong, talented group and great potential to create something that we can all be proud of. I know this doesn’t mean as much to some people…but you know what? We’re not here to nag anyone to do their work, we’re not here to look over someone’s shoulder and be their parent. Man, our group doesn’t even have that problem as bad as some of the other groups do. So we need to accept the fact that some people will do more than others. It’s just the nature of the beast. All I can offer as an incentive is reputation and personal growth. Everyone knows who contributes and who doesn’t. I respect all of you, and at this stage in our careers no one is BETTER than anyone else but there are people with better work ethic, and that gets noticed. Also, I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. I’ve learned so much from collaborating with all of you, and I’m continuing to learn from each of your styles and talents. By contributing we’re teaching each other whether we know it or not. I’ve learned more from you guys and this group film experience than any of our classes this semester. I know a lot of you will agree with that statement.
So, in conclusion I would like to get the ball rolling by putting some deadlines out there.
First off…the revised leica reel. I hope everyone had a chance to see it. I want you all to post your critique. The general consensus seems to be that it was a lot stronger than our initial attempt. We still need to cut some time, but that’s not the most important issue. The main issue is death’s characterization. Is it worth it too change? Should we contine with what we’ve got? Your thoughts?
We will make a decision on this by FRIDAY THE 21ST. That’s more than enough time to make a decision. We’ll base it on everyone’s comments, and if need be, a vote. Therefore, if you want your opinion to be heard and considered, make sure you post on the blog. I encourage everyone to comment on people’s posts and get discussions going.
Once we make this decision, we will assign sections of the board to be re-boarded. We’re almost there in terms of story. For our next run through of the boards, we NEED to focus on getting entertainment value and humour back into our film. I think that this it detrimental to a successful reception of our film. Enough already with the sappiness. It’s Death and a 110 year old Dare Devil. They’re cartoon characters. Let’s forget about trying to make the audience emotionally connect with a cartoon skeleton that has feminine tendencies. That doesn’t make sense to me. It’s a ridiculously absurd story. Let’s present it as such. The focus shouldn’t be on deep rooted emotional dilemmas. YES, we need those factors present in a small dose, but they shouldn’t be the focus. We’re not trying to make a gut wrenching Oscar winner here. We’re trying to entertain an audience in 4 minutes. We’re animators…cartoonists. Our job is to observe real life and caricature it…exaggerate it. That’s the beauty of this art form. If we want to make something that’s 100% logical and true to real life with characters that are entirely relatable, why waste the effort of animating it? Let’s hire Johnny Depp and Jack Nickelson to shoot this thing as a live action. Alright…that’s enough of my tounge and cheek rant…you get the point.
As it stands right now, I would like to have a fresh draft of the script with any new ideas and gags/jokes ready for Saturday the 22nd and have everyone re-board and post their sections on the blog from the 23nd to the 29th.
I think a realistic goal for us during the break is to come back on the first day of second semester with a finished, revised story board that’s scanned in and ready. From which we can take the first few days to update the leica reel and re-record some dialogue. We have all the SFX, and music…basic timing. The foundation for the leica reel is there.
*IMPORTANT* please don’t just read this and discard it. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT FOR THIS POST TO LET ME KNOW THAT: A) YOU’VE READ IT…B) YOU UNDERSTAND IT....AND C) WHAT YOU THINK OF IT.
On a side note, I know the tone of this post is a little harsh, and I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes, or trying to put myself and my opinions above anyone else. I don’t want it to seem like I’m going off on a power trip. I’m simply passionate about this project, and more than anything want to see us succeed as a group. I’m just trying to be as honest and straight forward as I can be while still being constructive. My intent was to restore some order through this post. I hope I have. Please offer some feedback to this post, I would love to hear everyone’s opinion and I’m excited and anxious to see what you all have to say. Everyone’s opinion counts…we’re all creative, and all full of great ideas. Let’s put them out there. We’re alone to work on this over the break. We’ve received great feedback and guidance and about a million opinions from a million different people. Now lets take all that and use it to make the film WE want to make.
Have a good one.
I personally went into school at 8 in the morning, because that was the only time I could get in, and had to stay until 7 at night. So I basically wasted my entire day for something that was planned and yet still people didn't show up to.
I'm not trying to rant guys, but I thought the dedication to this group project was one of the best and Im starting to have my doubts. IF we are going to reschedual, I must have a promise from you guys that you'll actually show up, cause Im not wasting another one of my days for nothing.
Do we want to reschedual?
Monday, December 17, 2007
I guess the important thing now is next steps - I am not honestly sure where to go from here but I would encourage everyone to think about ways to cut down the film's story length, and what kind of a relationship we want between death and Evil Stevil and how that relationship will function in the context of what will hopefully be a 3 minute film. Maybe we need to put together some kind of story-revision schedule for the 1st week back at school and then stick too it. I mean we did the current board/leica in a week, maybe we just do that again only this time we have an even better base to start off with. I'm interested to hear where everyone thinks we should go from here.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
It's like, in two pieces.
We still having a meeting monday or is it gonna be a write off? I dunno about you guys but I have some serious animating to do!
Basically I'll be checking back on this, as I can't be reached my phone. If I don't hear back by midnight tonight, I won't make it to whatever we have tomorrow morning :P
See you all!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
At Tuesday's meeting we discussed a few little design modifications in preparation for Friday's character design assignment. I tried to take all of them into account here. It is my hope that this version will work better in terms of simplicity of design and ease of drawing, but as usual we won't know 'till we try. Thankfully, that is what the upcoming assignment is all about, so don't feel you have to adhere to this model 100%, it is a chance for everyone in the group to sink their chops into this guy and see what works and what needs more attention. Any ideas you have to make the design better: test 'em out!
Have a good one.
(P.S. Another reference for this particular version of the ES design would be my poster concept. I used the new collar, the side burns, as well as more simplified fabric shapes when I drew it, and they may be clearer when they are cleaned and coloured.)
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Whew... With all that tough poster work done, now all we need to do is make the film.
Crap. (Insert tongue into cheek.)