Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Sunday, 18 September 2022
Wednesday, 14 September 2022
Saturday, 10 September 2022
I can’t quite believe it- almost 11 months of work, from my initial scripting stage back in October last year, right through to completion. At some points I didn’t think this would ever happen- when I’m working on such a big thing, I often find it hard to see the end, because the task feels so big. But little by little, I kept working at it and I eventually got here.
I must admit I don’t feel especially happy just yet- maybe it needs some time to sink in. Probably. I currently feel quite empty. Which is often the case when I finish working on fairly long form projects. Perhaps in a few days when I’ve really had time to process what I’ve done, I’ll feel more celebratory about things- or at least I hope so! Or maybe I’m just dissatisfied with my achievements! But, I do feel it is the former as deep down I am extremely proud of what I’ve created.
Despite what I have said above, to create something from start to finish, with no funding and no external factors to make me make it and on this scale (just over 11 minutes runtime), alongside struggling with several (both metal and physical) health problems throughout the duration, is an extremely BIG achievement. And I must remember that. To think what I’ve created here almost on my own is quite something. I have my partner Ben and my friend Alan to thank at this point- they have both given me feedback, motivation and support throughout and I honestly can’t express my gratitude enough. Without them, the film probably wouldn’t be what it is today.
I think that’s all I’ve to say about it at the moment- I’m cutting a trailer together, so watch this space for that soon xo
Monday, 5 September 2022
My experimental short film '04111311' is a representation through colour reflecting weather and mood, depicted over the course of 365 days.
The score was composed and performed by the fantastic Jason Williams (whom I've worked with on a number of my projects, including 'Bear').
I've been slacking 'releasing' this one, because I started writing a super loooonnnngggg and detailed blog post about it. But it was going into way too much detail, I just never got around to finishing it and I didn't want to publish the film without the blog as I thought the process might be interesting to document. So I just didn't end up posting it! But then I thought I want people to watch it, so I'm just going to publish it regardless.
Saturday, 3 September 2022
OK, now I’m finally ready to speak about ‘Bear’! Like 4 paragraphs in on a post entitled ‘Bear Update’. But anyway, now here’s another landmark (and maybe one even more worthy of celebration): THE ACTUAL ANIMATION IS DONE!!! Done-diddly-un. I can’t believe it, I’ve almost made a film. What a journey. I still have sound design to finish and a few tweaks here and there in terms of tightening the edit etc, but everything that needs animating, has been animated! Wow.
The biggest hurdle this week was most definitely the crowd shot- one I had been dreading to be honest, due to amount of characters and the fact that I still had no reference footage for it. I had a few previous failed attempts at getting it, but this week my partner Ben and I went into the town centre on Wednesday morning and sat with my tripod for about half an hour and got everything I needed. And it came out really, really well. I couldn’t find a good piece of stock footage to use for it, so I knew filming it myself would get exactly the thing I had in mind. As the city where I live isn’t the busiest and there was never going to be a point where loads of people are walking in a big mass (or at least not at 9am which is the time we went), I had to animate each person separately and superimpose them in the TVPaint file. That was a fairly straightforward process, plus it meant I had more control and therefore could get more of a diverse range of characters- so mixing ages, genders and ethnicities. You can watch the clip below:
Other than that, I don’t think I have anymore ‘Bear’ related news. But watch this space as I’m going to make a mini teaser/ trailer type thing very soon. So stay tuned for that. And also the post where I finally announce it’s completion!!
Friday, 26 August 2022
|How it started|
|How it's going!|
I was also given the completed score by my composer Jason Williams, whom I feel has done an absolutely brilliant job. I’ve worked with him for several years now on a number of my films and he always does what I have in mind and then some! The score really enhances the film and it wouldn’t be what it is without it.
Alongside this, I also finally decided what to put behind the car windows when he is driving. I didn’t want to make panoramic backgrounds in a realistic style and then keyframe them, because in my mind I had always wanted them to be sort of abstract. When you’re in a car or train, the scenery sort of whizzes by and it can look fairly abstract anyway, so I wanted to replicate this. It didn’t need to be detailed as it wouldn’t have added to the story. But I didn’t know in exactly what way or how as a few of the abstract ways I tried previously didn’t work. It then came to me- I often work with 16mm film, so I thought ‘well isn’t this quite abstract and also something I like to bring in to my rotoscope work anyway’. There have been numerous test pieces where I’ve used 16mm (or similar) as a background. So it only made sense to incorporate it into ‘Bear’ as well. See below for what I mean:
Sunday, 21 August 2022
Reflections out the way, let’s talk about the more tangible things related to the project: what have I done this week?
Short answer: a LOT.
Long answer: amongst starting the sound design, fine tuning the edit and finishing off the last few backgrounds, I filmed (and almost finished animating) the ‘scene with the other character’ in. I’m aware that sounds extremely cryptic, but I don’t want to give too much away at this point!
Due to having learnt a lot about rotoscoping during the process of this project (wasn’t sure that could be possible due to having spent the last 11 years of my life practising this medium), there were some things I wished I had done in the first instance when I filmed the bulk of the footage way back in February. It was mainly due to drawing the face- I found the eyebrows and the lips hard to pick out for a lot of shots, so this time round I asked my wonderful actress Anthea Carpenter-Procter for her scene if she could wear a contrasting lipstick colour to her face, so when I’m animating, the lips are easy to pick out. I should have also done this for the eyebrows- but for next time, I’ll know. Luckily she had quite dark eyebrows, so it didn’t pose too much of a problem. Her scene is quite dialogue heavy, so animating the lips was something I definitely didn’t want to be struggling over, so asking her to wear a lipstick was a good move and something I’ll carry into all my future projects.
For these shots, I also used a Canon DSLR to shoot it on, rather than the Blackmagic which was used to film all the footage in February. I found the colours and the contrast on the Canon to be sharper and more saturated, unlike the washed out feel of the Blackmagic. Again, this made the image easier to rotoscope and I feel going forward, shooting with a Canon would be my preferred choice. I love that because this is the biggest project of my own I have worked on to date, I have found out a lot about a medium I felt I knew so well. When working on something long-form like this, you inevitably learn more than animating short, five or so second test pieces. When you animate something short, there are a lot of things you can gloss over about the quality of footage you use, because there’s only a relatively small amount of frames to create. But on something bigger, those things which may have been slightly irksome on a small project are completely exacerbated and end up being quite frustrating throughout. Perhaps I’ll do more of a detailed post about this at some point- the things I’ve learned when shooting for rotoscoping maybe. But without trying not to repeat myself or anything I’ve already written about. We’ll see.
But, I have been recording some kind of ‘making of’ time lapse videos at each stage of the animation process, so I think instead of doing a post about it on here, I’ll make a short ‘behind the scenes’ type video/ vlog thing once I’ve finished everything. As maybe a video like that would help people understand the medium better, so they can create their own rotoscope animations. Basically anything to get more people on board with the medium!! So look out for that. Also writing it on here so I can be held accountable if I don’t act on it!
I think that’s it for this week. Next week it might be finished? You’ll be some of the first to know anyway! Below is a still from one of the new shots. I actually shot it in the spare room in my house and the microphone is pretty much front and centre- but hey, that’s the beauty of rotoscoping.
Saturday, 13 August 2022
I managed to get over several harder shots/ backgrounds which I have been putting off and I actually like the results as well. My ‘to do’ list is shrinking nicely and I feel extremely excited about having an almost complete film. I now feel like pushing through and getting more of it done, rather than avoiding some of the shots like I have been of late. I actually don’t want to stop working on it at the moment!
So what has changed? I think because I got to the stage of the project where I can no longer avoid some of the shots or else I’ll just be stalling, meaning I had to just pick something off the list and do it. Once done and found that ‘oh this looks quite good actually’ and/ or ‘it wasn’t even that hard so why was I procrastinating on it’, I then gained the motivation to work on more. When I can see that something is working, I don’t want to stop and when I have a taste of what the project can be or might look like when done, I just want to carry on.
I also had an injection of motivation/ inspiration from attending one of the MAF Presents evenings in Manchester on Wednesday this week. Along with a really well curated programme of short films there is space for networking/ talking with likeminded people. When you attend something like that and are asked about what you’re working on/ what do you do, I find that it takes you out of your head a little and makes you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. It makes you less likely to want to stop the project and rekindles some of the motivations behind it you had when you were in the early stages of the film. When you’re working on something for so long and on your own, it’s easy to forget why you’re doing it or what the point of it is and it really takes some mental strength to complete it.
The motivations behind my film are firstly to create a story which I want to tell and to illustrate who I am as a director/ animator. I’ve never made such an ambitious project and I really want this to show who I am. I’m eager to succeed in this field as it’s what I have dedicated a good portion of my life to and it’s the only career I can see myself having. There is nothing I enjoy doing more. Secondly, as a ‘calling card’ film, with my intention to make a feature film next and attach a producer in order to attract funding. If I can show what I can do without funding or a producer, think of what I can do when I have both. With both these motivations now in the forefront of my mind, it makes it a lot easier to continue with the project and bring the same freshness and attitude towards it as when I started.
This just goes to show how important immersing yourself in a creative community is and something I really want to keep doing. Which is why I continue to attend festivals and events such as the one I have just mentioned, amongst others.
Below is one of my favourite backgrounds I created this week. Catch you in the next one xo