Sunday, 12 October 2014

Week One: I'm making a film.

A short film, to be clear. But a long post to be sure.

Do please excuse the dust, and here take this stick to move the cobwebs out of the way of these typed words. Yes its been a while since I updated this blog... but lets not pretend you were waiting.

I'm now in my third and final year of university, its gone fast... too fast, its like time is slipping me by and Im not skilled enough find a way to slow it down again. The scary moment was turning 22 this week and not really thinking much of it. The top of my birthday list is a new desk chair! What happened to wanting Lego, DVDs and sweets? In fairness I still want Lego... and copious amounts of DVDs, and lets not discuss my sweet tooth... where was I? OH YEAH! Clumsily discussing the passage of time! Theres a reason for that and it ties into the title of this post... BUT FIRST ~

Some backstory or somethin'

Animation Production at AUB
At AUB (Arts University Bournemouth) the third year is given over to the production of 12 (or 13 depending on the whim of the tutors) animated short films. So during the second half of my second year myself and my piers worked on the creation and development of individual film pitches. 
In the first week of third year, you step onto a stage, project your animatic onto a cinema screen and nervously pitch your idea to 200 or so tired and hungover animation students. 

In years past its been a riveting affair with memorable pitches sending myself and friends into dumb stupors and proclaiming we could do better. Last week was our pitch week, time to put our ideas out there. 

I'd like to thank a few people at this point, they helped me though bleak late nights and talked me down when I nearly pulled my idea from pitching. So cheers to my Housemates (who shall remain a singular entity), Richard B Brookes and Guy Lambert, you all gave me advice and courage that really, REALLY helped.


I must state now that I will not be saying the names of the films pitched or picked, partly because I don't know if the University will let me yet (rules 'n' such) and partly because the other directors deserve to release the information when they are ready on their own grounds.

Super-Duper Pitching Location, Sawnage
I watched my friends pitch for a day and half before I stepped out onto stage, into the beam of a bright light and switched to some form of autopilot. I remember very little about my pitch, but it must of been good, right? 
My ending words of "Romantic Kiss... Steam... Train." (I had to do a second screening of my animatic with running commentary (usually seen as a death sign)) have been recited at me so many times, I genuinely think those four words might have won me that pitch. 

The flowing day was voting. 

Everyone is given a sheet with all the films pitched (29 this year I think?) and they vote from 1 to 10 (10 being highest) on the films they want to get made. 
After that me and some friends went to the student bar at BU (the university next door) we ate, drank and waited for about 3 hours, it was kinda maddening.
I was preparing myself to not get through, Id already lined up films to work on. Sure, Id be miffed if my film didn't get made, I had put myself behind it and it would be a blow to my confidence, but I was ready to be an animator on someone else's film and be happy with that.

As a year group we sat waiting patiently in the studio, you could really feel the tension. Finally the tutors came in with folders under their arms and annotated papers. The votes were in and counted.
We were assured we had presented a great pitch week, that not getting your film made was not a reflection on you/ your work and that we would never know the numbers of votes (quite right too).

From out of a box of 13, one of our tutors produced a randomly selected piece of paper and read aloud a name of a film. 

My friends films and some other great films came out of the hat, by the ninth I realised there was a great selection of films to work on, and then "Ten, ****** ******" (My film).

I was happy. I still am.

My mad, slightly hockey and tragically romantic film had been voted for, and it was/ IS to be made. Theres a budget and everything! I've got a great team of talented people working with me. I've got a producer who keeps me on schedule. I'm a director, one of 13, part of a pedigree if you'll indulge me. I love it. 

Yes its terrifying, its going to be stressful and of course I don't know what I'm doing.
But thats the point right? Now I get to learn, and get others to see my vision so we can work together to produce a strong film. Im so excited, I'm a kid in a toy store and... you get the picture.

As for the film itself? It's about regret, it's about obsession, it's about building a new future and making the right choices. It's also about a Train. 

Storyboard Panel for the film

The first day of scheduled production was Tuesday 7th October, my birthday (SEE IT ALL TIES TOGETHER!) This week has been getting the ball rolling, getting to grips with being the head decision maker and beginning to understand the mammoth task ahead.
This coming week will be all about getting the story down and getting a new storyboard/ animatic together. 

I'm in a poison I've coveted for years, and I love it.

Cheers, Jon.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Lets get Blogging!

Ha!... I'm so hilarious.

Okay, so Hi! *waves*
I'm Jon and as you can't tell by all the text and affiliated 'stuff' Im going via the pseudonym "Ginger Animator". Why? This is because of my abnormality of a hair colour, and the fact that I am currently training to become a professional Animator. (with the aim to have a career in the Film and Telly-vision that we watch like.)

So what can you expect from this Blog apart from months upon months of in-action?
Well apart from my dripping cynicism and sarcasm, you'll be privy to see what the hell Im up to on a particular week!
If theres one thing you should know about my creative 'process' its that I have the terrible problem of being... sporadic?
I'll come up with an idea, work on it for a week or so, then just ... jump onto something completely different! This happens about 4 or so times before I return to the original project, so you can see how that can be problematic!

But in the interest of keeping a blog, this could mean ONE of THREE things...
1) It'll always be different and might be cool to see how multiple projects link to one another.
2) The blog will force me to concentrate on one thing at a time, lord knows I could do with that!
3) I'll find keeping the blog too much hassle and let it collect dust with updates once or twice a year...

SO! "What have I been doing this week?" I hear you ask joyfully, leaning in to admire me slightly closer.
"Well" I respond taking a sip from my ice-chilled alcoholic beverage, "Iv been practicing character animation in Maya!"

Well the basics, Walks, and weight, that type of thing...

So this is a basic Walk Cycle, its got dodgy arms and some of the arcs aren't very good, but I'm happy with it being my first proper attempt at animation in Maya.

The following day I attempted a 'Sneak' Walk, however, I botched the timing and somehow ended up animating the top half like a child running, but oh well...

This was my third day, I didn't finish this one (as you can probably tell) its still in blocking forum. BUT Im happy with this! I think Im starting to get the hang of it! so (if I continue next week) how far I can go with Maya Character animation!

For the first time!
Jon~G signing out!