Friday, 15 January 2010

3 Day Writing Colaberation

Hello people of my Blog.

Well. What can I say other than, How proud I am of what me and my group managed to do within the three days we were given for the Writing Collaberation project.

This project was set alongside the MA writing students at UCF. The Idea was to create a peice for NUFSED (National Union of Fairies, Sprites, Elves and Druids). To Promote these creatures in a positive light. It was all a bit of a blur for me at the start and I didn't know what to think at all.

When our group got read out, we obviously knew our own Digital Animation crew, but our partnered Writers we had no idea about. My Group were as follows.

Myself - Producer
Sarah Crombie - Art Director
Simon Acty - Storyboarding
Emma Taylor - Designer
Harriet Teagle - Animator
Lee Dutfield - Post Production

Then we were joined by three writers. Dave, Matt and Sam. We then set off to go about coming up with our idea for NUFSED. We had gotten the theme of 'Information' for our piece. We took off to the common room to invade and make use of the quiet room and comfortable chairs to talk over our ideas. As directed by the writers, we took ourselves off into groups of two each, Me and Simon migrated to the coffee machine and came up with the idea we would finally use and develop.

Our idea was to do a 50's style american tutorial video. Much like the Coronet "Are you popular" piece.

So we left the script writing to the writers, which we thought they would obviously be good at, and took of to come up with concepts for the look, This was mainly due to the writers feeling that they worked better in their own environment. So we organised to rendevouz back at the common room at 2pm to show each other our ideas. I then took a contact number and gave them my own so we could get in touch, I Should have made the contact list there and then but we all wanted to get on with it, So away we went.

The animators worked hard on finding a look and style for the characters. Researching old movie posters and a three tonal approach to the art. Whilst I ran around trying to sort out who was going to do what.

When we returned to talk to the writers, we found that even though we had agreed on a certain approach for the script, they had worked on another idea completely and only drafted our final idea. Their researched script didn't show the creatures in a good light like the brief had asked and again was going to be far too strenuous to animate and design within' three days and would have been somewhat an epic. Sarah our art Director set about trying to explain the latter to them, whilst I enforced the fact that this wasn't what was asked of us. I Tried to take my role of producer as seriously as possible, and the fact the actual script didn't meet our clients brief was something that stood out to me as an initial fault, and in industry would obviously not be accepted.

So after choosing to work on the drafted script for our first idea we went about getting the design work down, The character designs were split between Sarah, Simon and Harriet, the Backgrounds were assigned to Emma, Lee began finding sounds that we may need and getting a vocalist for our script to be read by, a search for a sound track was underway. We also sent the writers to work on the script and final draft it for us. This was not until I had established a
Contact List Which in all honesty was invaluable, I spent that evening researching what I would have to do as a Producer, as I now really like this idea, it seems to be somewhere I fit very naturally and very well, and had comments from my group on how comfortable they felt working under me, And that even under stress, it was still a good environment to work within' they say you can't please everyone, but I'd like to think I did quiet well with my team of animators in this project.

Day 2 - More Arty Farty Stuff!

We began Day 2 with my Art Director in a slight stress about the script,... in fact,... I think after reading through it and it's direction, we found it to be very bland, and from an animation point of view, not very entertaining at all. I pushed on though, making sure Characters and Backgrounds would be ready for Myself and Harriet to animate on the last day. My perogative was that in Industry, we would always be given things that we would not wish to do, and this within' the course was gonna be one of those things we didn't particularly want to do, but we would do it to the best of our abilities none the less.

We continued through the day throwing together the Art, re-working it so it all looked as if it would fit with the style and getting it looked polished enough to show at the end of the day for the daily presentation. Simon had storyboarded over the night and throughout the day, and would end up doing the same the next morning due to certain changes.

After watching the presentations and seeing everyone elses scripts seeming to come into a more animation element. Myself and Sarah spoke to Derek due to our dislike and lack of faith in the strength of our script, to which Derick had the answers. We would not change the script at all, Just the stage direction, this would of course mean re-storyboarding. But would result in a more sellable product, which to me as the producer was my aim, I then went about myself changing the script and jotting down little bits and peices for the storyboard artist. (Simon) to put into the piece. This made me feel quiet director-esque, I enjoyed this also. Being able to get creative, as the director chosen from Writing was not with us for 2 days due to Ill health, as they say. "The Show Must go on", so myself and Sarah took an active role in that also and worked collaberatively as a Director, although I didn't infringe on her job as art director, Working as the producer as well allowed me to not allow anything to go too overboard and we would have ample time to put everything we had changed into practice in the third day.

Day 3 - The Death of me

Ok I lie, It wasn't the death of me, It was actually quiet fun. Now Sarah, Simon and Emma had very little to do due to the Pre-pro being done. Myself and Harriet sat down to After Effects and Lee headed into the studio with the writers to get the Sound we would need. Simon and Sarah had suggested we animate on one machine, both me and Harriet, I dismissed this straight away. I would composite the whole peice together on my machine and we would both animate seperate scenes on either computer. This was how I had initially wanted to work anyway.

As the day went through I animated 6 Scenes and Harriet animated 3 of the longer scenes. We worked very well together and many Hi-5's were exchanged. Sarah, Simon and Emma had to change some of the Character possitions and scan them and re-paint them, this didn't take too long and we were well underway.

We hit one snag with Audio not working in After Effects, fixed by the wonderful, yet elusive Richard Hammond, we rendered off a final and handed it in to Andy before anyone else. (Well before the final we rendered a few more and handed those in, but it was still way before anyone else had handed in on the pen drive)


I think my group worked fantastically together, and I would work with any of them again, they were all fantastic artists and worked well under me, without any competition. I think myself, this project really helped me to understand what I was doing. I really want this now, to be a producer, it seems like my calling. And I'm really excited to get underway with more projects of this calibur. I really appreciated all the help from Derek as well. Without him, I'd have probably not been able to make the project what it was, And to be quiet honest. I was very proud of what we produced within' those long three days. I think it ended up looking more polished than anyone elses. Even though not exactly what an animatic should be. It worked, I was proud of what we achieved, and I think I've definately got a direction now.

Here is the Finished Article! Please do Enjoy!