Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published May 21st 2016.
A lot has happened during the last two weeks so here is a long blog post!
Last Friday we had our rough crit. I had originally planed to have all the rough animation by that time, but that didn’t happen because Berlin. It was little left though. When I put it together I felt myself that the film was too slow for my liking, but couldn’t figure out what to cut or why it wasn’t working. I decided to rather than do something about it now show it with all the scenes and hear the feedback.
At the rough crit the slow pace was the main thing that was discussed as my problem. And after a bit of thinking I came to the conclusion that because I’ve been working so much on the acting in all the shots some are becoming unnecessary to the story. I also figured out that one of the problems was that every sad situation had a solution which took away the happy moment at the end. I was advised by Clare to hold on to the sad feelings more so that the end would feel happier. The film was already over five minutes and I wanted it to be shorter, so the day after the rough crit I sat down again to cut it together more tightly being very critical about what I needed to keep for the movie to make sense, but shorter. I managed to cut it down by 45 seconds, which I’m happy about. Half of the unfinished scenes where among the shots that I got rid of so it both gave me less work to do and made me closer to the finished rough animation.
One of the scenes that where cut extensively was the memory sequence. It has been in and out of the film ever since late January and I liked working on it therefore I expected this to be one of my darlings that it would be hard for me to kill as it was such a big part of the original idea. It turned out hard to cut out all together as it made the whole last part of the movie not work at all, so rather than getting rid of it all together I shortened it down to a minimum of seven seconds, rather than 34. It now works the same way, but it’s much more to the point.
Since then I’ve finished all the rough animation and although it’s much left to do, I’m so relived. Since the animation is finished that means that the timing is more or less set, so on Friday this week I met with my composer Eduardo to discuss the music and overall sound for the film. We had a very similar idea of how the music was going to be and he had many good ideas I hadn’t thought about so I think this will be great. We agreed that the most important part of the movie is the last section when Njunus, the old fox, leaves his family behind and all the way to the end of the movie. This part includes both the action, the saddest and the happiest moments in the movie and Eduardo wanted the music to be just right and fit the animation as perfectly as possible so this is my first priority to pin down from now. I’ve decided that I will spend the first few days of this upcoming week to draw the rest of the backgrounds, put all the animation together and make credits so that by Friday afternoon the timing will finally be set and then send it to Eduardo to work on.
It’s not many backgrounds left, I’ve just been putting them of because of the animation. Thank goodness I had my firstyear helpers Juliette and Tyrone to help me out a bit on that. Talking about the firstyears, my absolute star helper Judit continued helping me after the work placement weeks and this week delivered her last shot that she has inbetweened for me. I really don’t know what I would do without her, she has been of so much help!
I’ve also recorded myself this week trying to do some fox sounds, that was wonderfully embarrassing, but Selom and Natalie, who was also there to record, where impressed with my fox sound skills so hopefully it will do.
I’ve also started working on my presentation which I’m not too worried about, I have a good clue on what to talk about and don’t think filling twenty minutes should be an issue. I started recently to go back to some of the early research I did from when I told Clare about the idea the first time. Back then, this was nearly a year ago (!), the story was just a couple of sentences. A pack of animals experience that one of the memebers goes transparent, it isolates him from the rest, but when he is fully gone they realise they can bring the image of him back in their memories. The transparency is a symbol of someone dying of a terminal illness. From this I was told to read On death and dying by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross which talked about the different stages of emotional experience when someone is dying. Although I based my story more of my personal experience and suggestions from classmates and teachers it fits Kübler-Ross’ theory on grief so that will be my main focus on the presentation. I’ve also started reading articles on folklore about the Arctic fox and about fabels and other stories where one tells a tale about human behaviour and nature through animals.
So that is what is going on at the moment. And I also got a few hours outside this Tuesday as it was Norway’s national holiday and I went down to Southwark Park to celebrate before returning to the studio once again!