A lot of people were going to do jokes and sketches and while I enjoy a good comedy, no ideas for anything funny came to mind. I wanted to make a film about something I felt strongly about, a story that would be worth spending six months on, three of which animating. At least that was the plan...
The core idea, the concept behind the story, I think was a strong one. I had a clear idea of where I was going with it from the start and this allowed me to happily take on suggestions that fit, but not be afraid to reject those that did not.
Research really helped me get the ambiance and details right, from the ruined buildings down to the soldier’s uniform...
I think a willingness to start again from scratch on something that wasn’t working helped a lot of shots get to where they needed to go, whether it was a question of clarity, appeal or whatever. Getting the right expressions took many many revisions. Some shots went through blocking several times before I was satisfied.
Animation Mentor! If it wasn’t for this school I wouldn’t have been able to make this film.
While I did not have any major computer meltdown on this project, backups are one thing I had sorted. If past experience has taught me anything, it is this:
Back up every day, no exceptions.
Since starting this film I have emigrated, lived in three different apartments and worked at two different studios.
You could say it’s been a while. When I started this project I had never really attempted a short film before. I had done short sequences, but nothing with a true beginning, middle and end… and 2D was not exactly my forte. Up to that point my animation experience had been mostly in 3dsmax and my Class 4 dialogue assignment was pretty much my first try at detailed hand-drawn 2D.
To say I didn’t really know what I was doing would be putting it mildly, but I like a challenge. If you’re already sure you can do something, you’re probably not going to learn anything...
Because of circumstances beyond my control I didn't have time to do all the planning I wanted (model sheets, character tests) and so basically was working from my better storyboard drawings during production to try and stay on-model. As a result I definitely struggled to keep the characters consistent.
Eventually I managed to mostly sort this out through aforementioned revisions, but more time for planning would have saved a lot of trouble down the line.
Oh, and don't change your framing from 4:3 to 16:9 after layout. Nightmare.
I spent a long time after graduation working on and off, evenings and weekends to finish my film. In retrospect there simply was no way I was going to do 1 minute 20 of animation on multiple major characters in three months, but I have no regrets. If you've got a story to tell, and there's no way it'll fit inside the recommended 30 seconds, just go ahead and do it anyway. You'll finish it eventually, just probably not for graduation...