Thursday, 28 June 2007

Experiment In Terror

Here is the thrilling final instalment of my film's animatic, featuring the penultimate and closing scenes as previously showcased in storyboard form. Try not to shame yourself with the excitement of seeing the visuals in sequence, timed to a (pretty much) finished soundtrack!
Remember, this is the final version of the ending, so if you don't want to see how it ends, don't watch...

Not much else to say, really. Hope you enjoyed the animatic version - the full-colour, moving one can only be an improvement.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Missing blog entries

Having received a number of emails on the matter I just thought I'd throw in an explanation for the recent lack of activity since May. For this period all my work, research and materials are being marked and evaluated, and as the bulk of the last month or so's work has been on the film's lengthy storyboard and animatic, there's not much point publishing the entries until I get the visual stuff back. At the moment there are five entries for the remainder of May and another five for June (so far). Hopefully by July I'll have all of these posted, thanks to those who got in touch about it.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Oof, Maddon'! It's all over!

I'm a mess of nerves and emotions. For the last seven years I've been anchored by the ever-stabilising institution that is, of course, 'The Sopranos'. In a world that inexplicably finds worth in shows like 'Ugly Betty', the trials, torment and tao of Tony Soprano shone so brightly that to watch five minutes of an episode was to risk permanent retinal damage. Every episode was a masterclass in cinematography and screenwriting, not to mention the fact that it was pissingly funny. With dross being recommisioned left and right, leaving potentially brilliant shows ('Deadwood', 'Carnivale', 'Arrested Development' and about a billion others) on the chopping block, it's a genuine wonder that 'Sopranos' lasted as long as it did. For six (technically seven) seasons the dips in quality were so minimal they barely even warrant acknowledgment, and - without going into details for the sake of people who haven't seen the ending - it could not have gone out on a more fitting note. The best thing of all is it has incensed countless fans who were desperate for a more conventional finale, and whose opinions simply must be heard on message boards throughout the web.
So this blog has apparantly become exactly what it isn't supposed to be - an excuse for me to expunge unsolicited opinions on pop culture. Fortunately, 'Sopranos' was the only show I've ever felt motivated to talk about (aside from the animation 'research' case studies) and it's now finished - so that's that over before it began.
To link the previous sentiment back to the subject of my film would not only be tenuous, but audacious - I'd be u'pazzu to suggest my output was equatable with that of David Chase. Nonetheless I'll link it anyway. What are you gonna do about it, leave this site? I'd like to see you try.

No, please don't go! It's so desperately lonely here...

My film's ending isn't nearly as inspired, but it's a lot better than it was in the original draft of the script. The proposed resolution saw the Hunter snap and shoot the Duck in his bed, only to pull back the bedsheets and reveal he's blasted a pillow instead. The Duck, hearing the noise, emerges from the bathroom and sees the Hunter, shotgun in hand (up to this point the ending has remained the same in both versions). The Duck and Hunter have one final, blazing row, ending with the Duck's exclamation that 'altruists are just narcissists who extend goodwill to make themselves feel better than you'. He storms out, determined to make it on his own, leaving the Hunter a miserably guilty wreck. The final scene sees the Duck show up on the doorstep of the kid who stitched him together, unable to break his pattern of dependency.
While perhaps more observational and true-to-life, this ending never sat right with me and in trying to make its point it lost a lot of comedic elements. The revised ending abandons all attempts at social commentary, instead opting for random cartoon lunacy. While nobody would be up-in-arms about knowing the way this film ends (compared to, say, knowing that 'The Sopranos' ends with Furio Giunta returning to New Jersey, killing Tony and whisking Carmela off to an idyllic happy ending in Italy...whoops, sorry) I've made it so you have to highlight the description of the final scene to read it:

The Hunter chases the Duck through the house, firing and missing along the way. When he is finally cornered in the Hunter's trophy room, the Duck attempts to sweet-talk his way out of his demise. The Hunter continues to shoot until a mounted gun is dislodged and lands in the Duck's hands. It is now a face-off, and after an impassioned speech the Duck fires only to realise his newly-aquired firearm isn't loaded. Instead he throws the gun at the Hunter's head, who reels back and fires into the ceiling causing the entire house to collapse. When the smoke clears the two corpses are visible in the rubble, and both are struck by lightning and brought back to life (for a second time in the Duck's case). Six months later, the two have made a life for themselves as zombies living in the debris that was once the Hunter's house.

As the teeny-weeny thumbnails are most likely too small to give anything away, here are the final storyboard scans for the ending (if you want to know what happens, click to make 'em all big like):

And just for the heck of it, you can look at the concept art for the scene originally drawn up months ago by clicking here.

So that's the end of my film's storyboards, soon it'll be time to bite the bullet and actually start working on something that will move. In the meantime I'm going to get me some capo cuoll and stave off Sopranos cold-turkey by whipping out those DVD box-sets.

A salut!

Friday, 1 June 2007

That Indescribable Love Between Man & Machine

I have a lightbox! In a prime example of right-place-right-time I managed to snag one second-hand from Philippe, one of the MA's prior students. And what a device she is.
That's right, I've assigned gender! That's how committed I am to this project.
As you may have gathered from the stilted visuals of the early lip-sync tests, working without one of these was never going to be an option. With the campus closed I would've been up shit creek all summer, so now that I have one of these babies this film actually stands a chance of being made. Hooray!
Have a gander at me cackhandedly explaining one of the most basic animation tests there is, the reaction shot (or 'the take').

I have a feeling Molly* and I will forge a tremendous union while working together. I also have a feeling that I may be losing my goddamn mind...

*That's right, I named it too. After Molly Parker. I live alone, I can do what the hell I want.