Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Replacement Fillers

It's crunch time.
I'm hurtling toward the hand-in deadline and sacrifices will need to be made. I equate the feeling with the scenes in so many action films, where those fleeing from peril by plane or helicopter are forced to jettison extra weight if they are to have any chance of escape.
Ironically, by removing certain shots from the animatic, I'm finding myself having to create new animation. Ultimately it still adds up to less work, but I need some filler visuals to bridge the gaps created when certain sequences are removed.

This series of shots is pretty dispensible, as it doesn't really further the story. However, it furthers the action as they walk from one location to another, so when the sequence is omitted I'm left with a jarring change of background from one shot to the next.

As they can't magically leap from the doorway to the liquor cabinet, I've remedied the continuity issue by creating an unstoryboarded cutaway shot:

This actually benefits the film, even in its brevity. Firstly it establishes the Duck's bedroom, which we otherwise wouldn't see until the penultimate scene where there's some potential for confusion. Also, by having the Duck hear the Hunter and Prospective Lay arrive, it helps sell his entrance a few shots later. Incidentally, the barely-readable book title is 'The Secret', a fad (read: BS) self-help book that gets mentioned on the radio a lot. I thought it'd be funny to have the Duck reading it.

These storyboarded shots were conceived as fully-animated lip-sync sequences, where the Hunter enthusiastically sings while opening the bottle of wine. What I've had to opt for as a time-saving alternative are two brief shots with no dialogue.

These actually work fine, and my delivery of the song fell a little flat anyway. There was also a potential licensing issue as it was to the tune of 'For He's A Jolly Good Fellow'.
The remaining scenes that are being considered for the chop don't require replacement shots, and may help the pacing of the film by their absence. It'd be nice to have the time to produce the whole film as originally storyboarded, but the fact of the matter is I've bitten off more than I can chew. The average length of this type of student film is between three and seven minutes. My animatic runs at twenty, and with my planned cuts it'll wind up at about seventeen. I've been keeping this on the down-low as my course leader would probably have conniptions if he knew what I was trying to achieve.
I'm not trying to prove a point - a long film doesn't guarantee a good film. Oftentimes it can mean just the opposite. I just really believe that the story jusitifies the length. At this point I have an accumulative 14 minutes of footage finished, and the remaining shots use fairly limited animation. I know I can do this, but more cuts will doubtless be made.
Man, it's like Sophie's Choice up in here.

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