Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Transcription - First Draft Animatic

I don't know why but I find it so difficult to write a short post!
Perhaps it has something to do with less frequent posting. Hopefully as I move into production there will be a more consistent flow of work.
For those of you who just want to watch the first draft animatic and skip 1000 words, scroll downwards to the embedded video!

So over the last few weeks I've been refining the story. Drawing the story boards and compiling them into the animatic.
The story boards would all seem rather random by themselves, so its not until now that I have something that is in a semi finished state to present.

Although before you watch the animatic, here's just a quick reminder or update on the idea.


I'm transcribing the song, 'It must be Love' by Madness, into a short story about a bear who loves his pillow. They do everything together. The animation mostly show all their happy times together. The animation takes place in a sort of dreamscape land, constructed out of bedding. Yep, the whole world is a giant bed.
The sea is made of feathers, the land is made of a mattress, the hills and sandy beaches are the bedsheets. You get the idea. The only realistic things are the bear, the pillow and the amusement rides.
Again, although the world is a giant bed, the particular place is a sea side. (Which explains the amusement rides.)
Reasons for theses choices will become more apparent when you watch the animatic.

Now because it isn't finished, I already had in my head, some changes that I wanted to make before I was able to present it at this weeks tutorial.
I'll explain mine first, then say what was discussed in the tutorial.

In fact lets watch the animatic now, and I'll explain the rest afterwards.

So there you have it. The first draft animatic.
There are basically three things which I know I wanted to change.
One. Nothing happens with the ice cream.
Two. The second golf scene, nothing new happens. (we don't learn anything)
Three. I don't like the idea of the bear just running to save the pillow.

So with the second golf scene I want to establish that he is consistently failing to pot the ball. He didn't use enough force on the first go, so it makes sense that he over shoots this time. I can also show a few other golf balls on the ground.
This way it is also emphasising the third shot.

The pillow is drifting away and at the moment he is just running in to save him.
I would actually like it if the bear has a fear of open water. (or in this case, a fear of falling off the edge of the bed.) So I might have the bear test the water, (dip his toe in). or he could just hesitate before he runs in.

However I thought it would also be even better if I could suggest this fear earlier on. It might not be totally obvious, but enough to show the possibility.
This is the change I want to make to the ice cream scene. If I shoot the bear and pillow from behind, I can have them sitting on the beach and the water splashes his feet. He can retract and scrunch up with the ice cream out of shot. for a brief second. then when he goes back, the chocolate flake could be missing.
It would be yet another trick of the pillow!

At the tutorial I showed this animatic and explained basically the above.

It is to be expected that I can't pick up on all the problems there might be. The most important part of any animated short is that it reads well.

And Alan really focused on directing my attention to the ending. The part that people remember! The scene where the pillow is drifting away and the bear goes after it, didn't read well. Not as well as in some of my previous ideas.

It just looks like they go off into the distance. It probably didn't help that the feet were represented by two circles, but I don't think that was the point he was making! Basically, the bear and pillow need to be falling down out of sight, with a dreamy fade to white. I was then thinking that it would mean that he would have to fall right off the bed in the real world, but Alan said I shouldn't match the events so rigidly, after all, it is still only a dream.
There were a few other minor things mentioned too and I won't go into all the details.

Perhaps the only other major thing to consider were the ghost train scenes.
And I think I might need some other peoples views on this as I'm really kind of unsure.
The one fundamental gag running through the story is the pillow messing around at the bears expense.
The one thing which I want to achieve with this animation is a performance. A bear that has as much opportunity to act as possible.
This is why the gags in the ghost train are all about the bears reactions to the pillows mischief.

It was suggested that the staging of these shots could be better if they were completely side on. (front of the ghost train)
And I can see exactly were Alan's coming from. I've seen this type of thing in Scooby Doo, in the mine chases, where there are three platforms with mine carts dashing across the screen and the characters are switching places etc.
The only problem I can see in something like this is that you will only see one character in each car as one will be behind the other. Also it then wont be possible to show the reactions of the bear. Instead it would be the cars rapidly going in and out, with perhaps the characters switching places or some other gag etc.

I'm not going to dwell on this, and instead plan to start production once I've tweaked the other elements of the story. If anyone else has any suggestions they are most welcome.

A Flock of Pixels


  1. LOTS of charm, here - Ethan. I love all the recurrent scenes of the ghost train and the cuteness is undeniable. What about those black sequences though? Did I miss the explanation of that?

    I know you're horribly busy, but I'm just prompting you to complete the Student Survey 2011 - see link below! Many thanks!


  2. Hey Phil!

    It's all going well. I will soon have a second animatic to post where a few tweaks have been made to the begging and end, and the black bits will also be gone.

    The first main black area is reserved for the Title of the film, and the rest were just where I hadn't extended some of the clips together.

    The title itself won't be with a black background though... I probably will integrate it into the background of the scene, with feathers floating around.

    I'll make sure I get that survey done too!

  3. You're a good lad, Ethan - I love your project, and I want you to absolutely knock me on my arse!

    I saw this - wondered if it's a useful resource?


  4. I'm now following it. I've already looked at some of his previous posts and has some realy great tips.