Tuesday, December 29, 2009

11 second club 2009 October & November

Watching the 11second club winning critiques for October and November has me thinking about Hand Drawn and CG. I was reminded that somewhere I read the suggestion for hand drawn work to always be squashing and stretching a little, always be changing the shape, to give it the feel that it's organic and alive and a flesh sack filled with liquidy stuff, so always a bit of the feel of a water baloon. Watching Mike Walling in October gave me the impression that the CG equivalent is everything a little bit overlapping, nothing ever settling or starting at the same time (which I think is harder in hand drawn because you try and keep your charts simple so your inbetweeners can follow.)  Kind of like the juice box is the CG equivalent of the flour sack. Food for thought. (wish 11 second club would update their archives with links to the critiques faster, it's always a few months slow.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Carmen Herrera

This world is so arbitrary. My father in law pointed me to the artist Carmen Herrera, 94 year old woman, she's been painting her entire life, all of a sudden in the last 5 years she's blown up in popularity in "the art world" and is the hot new thing, making money, going to parties. Where were they 20 years ago when she was probably just as good and could have used the money? Anyway, just a great example of doing what you love to do because you don't really have an option, and not looking externally for validation, and being aware that life is very random so even if you are completely amazing it doesn't mean the world will ever wake up to it. Some quotes from the article:

“I do it because I have to do it; it’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure,” she said of painting. “I never in my life had any idea of money and I thought fame was a very vulgar thing. So I just worked and waited. And at the end of my life, I’m getting a lot of recognition, to my amazement and my pleasure, actually.”

“Everybody says Jesse [her deceased husband who supported her throughout their marriage]must have orchestrated this from above,” Ms. Herrera said, shaking her head. “Yeah, right, Jesse on a cloud.” She added: “I worked really hard. Maybe it was me.”

“Paintings speak for themselves,” she said. Geometry and color have been the head and the heart of her work, she added, describing  a lifelong quest to pare down her paintings to their essence, like visual haiku.

When pressed about what looks to some like a sensual female shape in the painting, she said: “Look, to me it was white, beautiful white, and then the white was shrieking for the green, and the little triangle created a force field. People see very sexy things — dirty minds! — but to me sex is sex, and triangles are triangles.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lighting - 3 point lighting is dead

Just finished reading this tutorial on lighting by Richard Yot. Very thorough and in depth, it's kind of long but it's broken up into lots of little bits with good examples for each bit. I feel like I have a better understanding of things to think about with lighting (and why 3 point lighting is cliche'd and never very realistic in the first place. )

La Queue De La Souris

Beautiful stylish piece by Benjamin Renner

*found by JDH, again, sooner or later I'll have more stuff I find first :P

Monday, December 21, 2009

Phantom Menace Review

So JDH found this review of the Phantom Menace, which is really long, and kind of annoying with the voice, and dumb attempts to be creepy. But this guy does have good points about story and plot, like not being able to describe characters from the Phantom Menace except by job and physical description. (Luke is eager and frustrated, Han Solo is a scoundrel, Quigon is ??)  Watch it if you have something better to do but your ears are free. He's got a great clip of young George saying that effects are unimportant and boring if the story isn't strong.

Anyway, the strongest point I think he made was about the light saber duels being about more then just the choreography, they're about what the characters are thinking and feeling and choosing. Check it out at 6:00 mark. (reminds me of that Lost writing panel talking about making the boring exposition stuff matter because of what it emotionally means to the characters.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gobelins School Overview

Director of Gobelin's breaking it down. Interesting. But still seems to me that you have to be a pro to get in, so it's an advanced degree, not an undergrad (3 hour animation test + storyboard test, up against 1000-2000 appliccants, yeah what newb is going to have those skills?)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puppets and Clay blog

Find a tight site: Puppets and Clay I think it's based out of Madrid, so if you don't speak spanish there's always google translate Has me wondering if there isn't a stop mo scene brewing over in Spain. I know they're working on that saint stop mo film (artefacto producciones O Apostolo), they drug Misha Klein over there for that I think. Anyway, looks like a good site.

plastelina, plastilina. Así se hizo "el ultimátum evolutivo" from Setem País Valencià on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

John K's "school"

Someone (John K or a fan) has collected his rantings about old school hand drawn goofy cartoon education into a single place. JohnK's Curriculum He usually has many useful ideas, (and some bitter rantings and tunnel vision for his preferred genre.) Worth a look.

Red Nose Studio

veryonce in a while I run across this guys work, it's got such a cool look. Looks like he's starting to get into stop mo a little bit. Anyway, now I know where to find it next time I'm looking for inspiration. Might be smart to put his full name somewhere you could find it on the site though ;)   (it's Chris Sickels)

paste from article in How design about his work:

Sometimes these found objects decide the size of the puppets, which are usually 6 to 8 inches tall. "The objects take the pieces in different directions," Sickels says. "It's not always in your complete control. So you have to work with the objects instead of trying to bend the objects to fit your idea." For a piece where the environment of the illustration is more important than the characters, Sickels starts with the background and uses existing puppets to work out the details. "If it's more about the puppet itself, then usually the head will kind of start it, because that head is the emotion," he explains. "In a lot of my pieces, the characteristics in the face are the soul of it. So the face is usually one of the first things to get done."
Sickles shapes the heads from Sculpey, a flesh-colored clay that can be hardened in the oven. The bodies are wire armatures covered with foam. And the fabric clothing is sewn right onto the puppets. "The sculptures sometimes look pretty crude, or the stitching is really rough, or the buildings are painted really sloppily," Sickels says. And that's where the camera comes in. "It hides so much. You throw something a little bit out of focus and it looks more detailed. So I try to use that illusion of the camera to its full advantage, especially with editorial timelines. You know, you may only have three days to do a piece." 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Anthony Balducci - Pathos & Comedy

An examination of comedies trying to incorporate pathos into them, tricky stuff to accomplish. 

Everything here's just copy pasted:

A scene, no matter how anguished, should not cause the comedy to stop. Take for example the big dramatic scene in The Kid. The welfare workers are taking Coogan away from Chaplin. Even in the midst of this emotionally wrenching scene, Chaplin supplies slapstick in the form of Coogan grabbing a sledgehammer and repeatedly bonking the welfare workers on their heads.

In Below Zero (1930), Laurel & Hardy are impoverished street musicians struggling through a bitterly cold winter. As sad as their situation is, it doesn't mean that the comedy has to stop.

Good pathos is heartbreaking. Bad pathos is cringe-inducing.

The central character of a pathos comedy is, in either case, a victim. Chaplin is a victim of cruel welfare workers and Lloyd is a victim of cruel classmates.

A filmmaker is messing with a volatile formula when he tries mixing comedy and drama. He has to get it just right or else the whole thing will blow up in his face. It offends people when a comedian seems to be showing off and trying to prove how dramatic he can be. It irritates people when the sad scenes in a comedy come across as forced, contrived and excessive. It doesn't win fans to have sad scenes in a comedy turn mawkish or maudlin. That's when critics complain that about a comedy having gooey sentiment, turgid sentiment, heavy-handed sentiment, cloying sentiment, or mushy sentiment. It is a mistake when a film is rigged for pathos scenes as a way to manipulate audiences.

It is the job of a filmmaker to create characters and tell a story. A character may find himself in situation that evokes pathos. Fine, people in the audience may feel sad and they may even shed a tear. The audience will recognize the pathos if it's there and allowed to come out on its own. Compassion should grow naturally out of the characters and situations.

The scene is real to life and it evolves naturally out of the story.

no pathos comedy was ever loathed more by critics than the Robin Williams vehicle Patch Adams (1998). This film had it all, from a self-righteous character moralizing to everyone to a gang of sick children showing up to evoke pity.


 AHHH DAAAMN! Nice little production here, fun and graphic. Created at Griffith Film School.

found at thinking animation blog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prep and Landing til Jan 1st

So I was initially dismissive of this, a made for tv Christmas special, but it is well done with strong animation. Storywise I appreciate that when the main character is being smarmy he's still a nice guy, and when he's being naughty he's still a nice guy, which for some reason feels not pure Hollywood to me, straight Hollywood would have been more biting and harsh I think.

Nice 2ndary acting rubbing the mug cup at 4:50. And nice thinking at 12:40. True the whole thing is very finely polished which is getting a little played visually. But worth a watch I think.

Speaking of Animation - New podcast

Hey, spreading the word, there's a new animation podcast site out there, Speaking of Animation  their first interview is with Ted Ty 2D guy who's 3D now. I love these things, it's great these guys are adding to the wealth of knowledge.

Words of wisdom from 37 minutes in:

The trick is to get them [the directors] what they want but in a way they wouldn't expect

I think that's really essential, that's where originality comes in and thats your ability that grows as an animator.

This person is picking up a cup and they sit down at a table and they pick up a cup, that's it straight. And if I did that with physics 100% accurate and everything it would be fine, but there's a million ways to pick up that cup. They could pick it up and their hand could slip, or they could be tentative, or they need this glass of water more then anything, or they could be distracted because they just lost their job. So adding something into it that doesn't dilute the idea but heightens the performance is essential in everything you do. Unfortunately in your reel out of context it will look like someone just picking up a cup, but in context in a film it can lend so much to the understanding of a character and what their feeling. 

(check the elf drinking from a  mug in the next post to see this idea in action)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

UP - Married Life

This was the heart of the film for me, the rest of the 2 hours coasting off these 4 minutes

French Roast

Must be the season of giving, all sorts of short films are being released on the net. French Roast Check out the dot eyes, and how well they work.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Cool stop mo Cartoon Network ident from meindbender they've got some fun cg ones on their vimeo page also

Gifts for Greta - Cartoon Network ID shortie from Meindbender on Vimeo.

Friday, December 4, 2009

HON video

Here's that video I was talking about for our new game, which we'll release sometime. The beauty shots where it says their names, that sky is all faked up. I wasn't involved in any of the fancy animations in this, some of the in game characters are all me though.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Typical Freelance Artist assignments

Ran across this post from Jon Hodson of Ninja Mountain giving examples of typical freelance fantasy artist type commissions. I haven't actually read it because I want to work through them as if it were an assignment, and I haven't had time to sit down and do that.

Something they talk about often on Ninja Mountain Podcasts is that you gotta bring teh awesome. I've been grabbing images off of Conceptart.org for a while now and am starting to put together a list of things that seem to improve a pieces' chances for teh awesome, pretty obvious stuff, but thought I'd throw them down so I can have a checklist if I get to painting.

tilt the figure
tilt the camera
tilt the ground plane
dynamic poses
sense of movement
rhythm in composition
strong composition
use reference
believable anatomy
control the viewers eye
majority of piece in middle third of value range (at least don't make it ALL dark)
pool your darks together into larger simple shapes
rim light
consistent palette (don't bring in colors that don't fit)

*and for my 5th life if I ever wind up trying to be freelance artist, places to scare up the little jobs:
gametrade magazine (lists upcoming rpg game releases, and therefore also potential companies)
paizo seems to employ a lot of artists
the forge
of course artorder, conceptart, and deviantart are obvious

*and some price breakdowns on the comments of a Ninja Mounta Post:
Wizards of the coast (the top) pays:
$800 a page for internals
$2000 for Dungeon/Dragon covers
$3000 for print covers
$1200 chapter start (about a week's time) (half dozen of them per book)
$850-$1000 per Magic card (if your a consistently demanded artist up to $2500)

They publish, on average, a couple of supplements a month, plus the online Mags. Internal commissions can easily run to a couple of pages. Of course this doesn't include novel covers, miniature designs, any of their other game lines.

*and a post on this from Art Order

* and Dan Dos Santos in an interview says
Tor cover 3000-3500
Scholastic cover 4000
Fantasy Flight Card 150
Magic 850
(Dec. 2010)

and another artorder post w/ a list of art order examples 4/5/11

I received a request from a student recently. She was wondering if I could provide her with some real world art descriptions to use for your university assignments. I liked the idea and wanted to share the wealth. Here are a few to start out with....

This full-bleed cover features a dynamic FIGHT SCENE in some sort of
large dungeon chamber. The goal is to make the central heroic characters
look very cool and capable. It follows the 4E D&D cover trade

TWO HEROES (see below) are fighting off a squad of GOBLINS, HOBGOBLINS,
and BUGBEARS. The exact number of monsters is left to the artist,
although it should be clear that the heroes are slightly outnumbered
(but winning nonetheless). Not all of the monsters need to be fully
detailed; the illustrator is encouraged to find ways to give the
impression of greater numbers without crowding the scene with too many
characters. The emphasis needs to be on the HEROES.

The first hero is a FEMALE HALFLING ROGUE wearing form-fitted black
LEATHER ARMOR with scalloped leather pauldrons and blood spatters here
and there. She clutches a SHORT SWORD that’s dripping with the blood of
her enemies. Butchered goblins lie face down around her feet, and she
looks quite pleased with herself. These are actual descriptions from some past products, but I'm not going to tell you what they are :)

The second hero is a MALE HUMAN FIGHTER with Asian features. He wears
SCALE ARMOR and wields a LONGSWORD and SHIELD. His armor and shield are
asymmetrical. He’s plunging his sword through the torso of a hobgoblin.
His mouth is open as if screaming some sort of curse or battle cry. His
rugged and grungy, but handsome and obviously skilled.

Use the art references for GOBLINS, HOBGOBLINS, and BUGBEARS to
accurately portrayed these creatures. The goblins are wearing crude hide
armor and wielding short swords. The hobgoblins are wearing scale
armor, carrying shields, and wielding all sorts of martial weapons, from
swords to hand axes to spears. The bugbears wear chain armor and wield
two-handed greataxes.

The front cover illo is a dynamic forced-perspective piece:
The front cover depicts a bird's-eye view of a FEMALE SHADE KNIGHT
riding on the back of a SHADOW DRAGON IN FLIGHT. Both of them are made
of translucent shadow (i.e., you can see through them), and it's very
important that we find an artist capable of doing this sort of
transparent effect. The dragon is wearing a black bridle, and the shade
knight is wearing a cloak over her armor. She grips the bridle with one
hand and holds aloft a gleaming longsword in the other. They are racing
up toward us, and the dragon's jaws are agape.
Behind the shade knight and its mount, we see the TOP of the CITY OF
SHADE, as if we're high in the sky looking down at it. The city is
built atop a gigantic floating rock, suspended above a dark sea. The
city's dark towers angle toward us, but they should still be relegated
to the background; consequently, most of the city can be hazy or
half-hidden by clouds. Also, the city and clouds should be lit in some
color, like orange, because the creatures in the foreground are dark.

THis cover depicts an ancient WHITE DRAGON confronting us in an icy
cavern. Icy stalactites hang from the ceiling, and the floor is littered
with the frozen remains of fallen adventurers. In the background,
lodged at the back of the cave, is a wrecked galleon covered in ice and
frost. (Hidden inside the wreck are the white dragon’s eggs, which we
probably won’t be able to see in the illo.)This particular dragon should
be making eye contact with us, as though we are invading its lair, and
it should look unhappy, menacing and ready to blast us with its icy
breath weapon.

Specifications: 1/4 page - 3”w x 4.5”h

This illustration depicts a CRUMBLING TOWER made from WHITE STONE
BLOCKS. It’s MISSING the TOP HALF so the hollow interior should be
visible. The tower stands on a small bluff and is surrounded by rubble.
The scene should be night and the tower GLOWS. NO VINES GROW ON THE

Specifications: 1/2 H Opener - 7.125”w x 5.375”h

FEMALE SHADAR-KAI WARLOCK with tattoos and scarification on her
face, arms, and pretty much everywhere there is exposed skin. She’s
wearing black LEATHER armor with tiny silver studs all over.
She stands or sits precariously on a BALCONY overlooking the city of
SHADE ENCLAVE. An ancient, open BOOK dangles from one hand as if she is
not aware of it and might drop it at any moment. Her other hand holds a
dagger with which she traces shadowy magical symbols in the air. She
appears tensed, almost ready to spring, utterly engrossed in what she is
doing, yet in a scene that evokes a sense of ennui. Parts of her may
seem to be insubstantial, but that should only be implied, perhaps a
trick of the light.

Specifications: 1/3 H Color Opener 11.25”w x 3.5” h

A mul slave has turned against his captor. He is strangling a drider
with the chains of his manacles. Setting should be clearly in the
Underdark but not just a cavern; could be among slave pens for a drow
arena. Give the drider a whip or other implement to make it clear that
he is a slavelord. Note that THIS IS NOT A DARK SUN SETTING; the focus
of the article is on incorporating muls into non-Dark Sun campaigns.

Specifications: 1/3 V - 3” w X 6.75” h

Nighttime. A waifish, half-elf female assassin in catsuit-type
leather armor with additional studded-leather reinforcing. She is using a
rope harness to ascend the outside wall of a palatial building above a
balcony. Her victim, a richly-dressed dragonborn noble, is sprawled
across the balcony railing, with illumination coming from inside the

Here's a few more. I'm sure Claudio can tell you where they come from as well.

#1 MALE HALF-ELF SORCERER, in an active pose, facing the viewer. This CLASS ILLUSTRATION should use a format similar to those in the 4e PH.

Male half-elf sorcerer
Features: tanned skin, dark green-black hair.
Armor: Cloth armor, no shield.
Weapon: Holds an ornate brass orb.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer. The sorcerer should look like he’s in the center of a storm of swirling fire, elemental power that originates from him but is almost beyond his control. But very powerful and self-assured.

The SORCERER is an arcane controller who channels wild arcane energy into storms of deadly energy and blasts of fiery power.

#2 FEMALE HUMAN WARDEN, in an active pose, facing the viewer. This CLASS ILLUSTRATION should use a format similar to those in the 4e PH.

Female human warden
Features: East Asian ethnicity: tan skin, black hair.
Armor: Hide armor, heavy shield.
Weapon: Mace.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer.

The WARDEN is a primal defender who channels the power of earth and stone to protect herself and her allies. She can change her shape, retaining her basic humanoid form but taking on aspects of beasts or trees to attack and defend in different ways.

and two race descriptions

#1 SHIFTERS, MALE and FEMALE, in full figure active poses, facing the viewer. This RACE ILLUSTRATION should use a format similar to those in the 4e PH.

Shifters are depicted in the 4e Monster Manual (see reference) and on the cover of this book (reference #2). Longtooth shifters should have features, stance, and movement that suggests a wolf. Razorclaw shifters should have features, stance and movement that suggests a panther, or other great cat.

Male longtooth shifter cleric
Features: Brown skin, dark brown hair. Features should suggest a wolf.
Armor: Chainmail and light shield. Wears symbol of Melora around neck.
Weapon: Spear.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer.

Female razorclaw shifter druid
Features: Tan skin, sandy brown hair. Features should suggest a feline predator.
Armor: Hide armor, no shield.
Weapon: Spear.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer

#2 GOLIATH, MALE and FEMALE, in full figure active poses, facing the viewer. This RACE ILLUSTRATION should use a format similar to those in the 4e PH.

Male goliath barbarian
Features: Dark gray skin, mottled dark and light patches, no hair.
Armor: Hide armor, no shield.
Weapon: Big greataxe.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer.

Female goliath fighter
Features: Light gray skin, mottled dark and light patches, long, black hair in braids pulled into a ponytail.
Armor: Scale armor and shield.
Weapon: War pick.
Action: Active pose, facing viewer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bargue - Old School Art Teachin

Classical art training used to be you would copy litho's of famous art, then do drawings from plaster casts, then paintings from casts, then drawings from models posed classically (have to distinguish color into straight value), then paintings from models, then you're on your own.

I hadn't realized that the lithographs everyone copied, (and still do), where created by Charles Bargue. Apparently the litho's were collected and republished recently as the Drawing Course by Charles Brague. Which looks like it may be difficult to track down.

Anyway, has me curious about it. This dude (Paul Foxton) chronicles his following it. And has a breakdown of the advised approach to drawing.

* thought I'd added this a long time ago. Hans-Peter Szameit lays out how this sight size approach is not historical, that Bargue himself didn't use it. Interesting to get the alternate view..... doh, I had
* and there's a wiki on it now

George and AJ

This has been around lately, think I first saw it on Navone's. Wanted to grab it as an example of a storyboard reel, since I've been drawing boards lately for a short.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Passenger

Chris Jones has finally finished the Passenger, and amazingly has a low quality version on youtube. Looks like there's a making of production log on his website, and the making of looks like it might make the DVD a must have. I'll have to explore the site later, I'm up to my elbow's in making chocolage pies. Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mac & Roe - Elmer Kaan

Found it again, had lost this one for a while, clever playing with the camera frames I thought. By Elmer Kaan

Mac and Roe from Elmer on Vimeo.

Fumiko's Confession

Yeah, this has been everywhere, but now I know where to find it in 8 months when I go looking for it again. I first saw it on the brew. By Hiroyasu Ishida, production blog Rough translation is she's asking both boys out, and getting shot down.

Director/Animation/Background/3D CG/Editing/Sound: Hiroyasu Ishida (a.k.a. Tete)
Background/3D CG Textures: Yūko Iwase
3D CG Textures/Background: Kazuhiro Murakami
Animation: Tatsurō Kawano
3D CG Modeling: Yūsaku Nagata

Game Trailers and Matte Painting

So my lead is making a promotional video (in a ridiculous amount of time, like 3 days, and we're going right after blizzard, crazy) and I am amazed at how well it's looking, more specifically how he's achieving the illusion of high quality with limited resources and time. He's using a matte of the sky, sliced and overlapped a few layers, that skew for the duration, that totally gives the illusion of a huge sky (if you know to look you can see in a corner odd looking mountains.) And we're using our in game models, with high res textures. Then he keeps each shot very short, with camera movement and character movement (which are tricks he's used before) and some god rays and viola, looks great. I'll post it once it's done.

But while we were talking about making it we looked at this Guildwars 2 cinematic, which is also pretty decent looking, especially when you consider they're just cutting up and wiggling their concept art.

Guild Wars 2 teaser trailer from ebonhawke on Vimeo.

So now when I watch this fun trailer by Fortiche Productions for Academy of Champions, everything looks like mattes.

Academy of Champions from fortiche production on Vimeo.

good things to keep in mind to up value, and shorten time. also a nice way to show off concept art.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Act Curtains by the numbers

Was skimming through the blog of an author I recently read, Wen Spencer. She has a few posts about the story telling process.

She had the useful definition of Act 1 being about introducing the main players and problems. The transition from Act 1 to 2 is when the main characters change from being reactive to being proactive (so not just getting bounced around, they make a plan). Act 2 you can introduce new problems or characters, but they shouldn't be major ones. Act 3 is about tying up the threads, no new stuff, this is the act where you have the big showdown, and then let the readers bask in the after glow for a while (let the readers enjoy a taste of the happily ever after they've earned with the characters).

Another interesting idea (to me at least) was knowing your acts by word count (which works minute wise in film). So her books are 100,000 words long, so each act is 33,000 words. Each scene is about 1000-2000 words. So she only has 15-30 scenes to set up her main characters, introduce the problem, and get the team together enough to make a plan and get to work. So when you break it down that way, each character really only has a handful of scenes for us to get to know them, there's not really time for not getting right to the point.

*All these "write a screenplay" books basically point back to Aristotle and 3 Act structure, taking it for granted that that's the way to write a story (and admittedly it can make very strong stories). But I am really curious about what other cultures take for granted as the basic building blocks and essential parts of making a story, if any one reading this has any insight please chime in :)

*think I need to split up the story and character label, though they are pretty integral to each other

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


*found by Lango

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aaron Hartline - Blue Sky

A half dozen vid ref to final comparisons over at Aaron Hartline's blog. One, two, three, four, five, six.

*found by Jeff Cooperman

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Story Treatmenting

Reading that Miyazaki book, he talks about basically he writes the treatment, then goes to story boards from there. From what I've heard of Brad Bird, he works similarly, getting into storyboards quickly since animation is inherently visual and we do our editing up front instead of aftwerwards.

Me being the noob that I am, I didn't really know what a treatment is.

Wiki says a treatment's between index cards and an actual script. Basically a quick description of every scene and beat in the story (a beat outline being just a list of beats without descriptions of them), so you have a roadmap of where you need to go when you write the script (or are making the boards).

One way of writing them is to put a big header at the top of each scene, describing the director beats. So it's easy to skim just the headers and get the flow of the story. Here's quick advice on writing one, and here's an article with examples of a prose style treatment vs a header style (skip way to the bottom, the majority of it is satyrical filler about writing treatments)

I also recently came across the idea of director beats. The idea that the director has an overall meaning for each scene. (IE. This scene is about them having to work together despite their animosity, this scene is about the audience getting tense because they see the bomb is running down but the passengers are oblivious.) Which is a pretty useful perspective if you are plotting the course through your movie, knowing what each scene needs to mean for the storytelling reasons.

And just to be thorough, wiki says a scene is an action in a continous time. And a sequence is a series of scenes which form a distinct narrative unit, usually connected either by unity of location or unity of time. So acts built of sequences, sequences built of scenes, scenes built of shots (if you're thinking camera wise) or beats (if your thinking acting wise.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kate Brehm - Puppeteering

I was tracking down these videos by Paul Louis about how to make a muppet style hand puppets (good videos, simple and easy to follow, you can also find them on youtube, but either place I watched them an ad was played in front of it)

Anyway, I ran across these bunraku puppet performing videos by Kate Brehm (they're all about a minute each, again youtube or expertvillage). She has some really interesting things to share that apply directly to animation. If Marc Craste was making appealing characters who are very simple and only have eye expressions, Kate Brehm is making appealing characters without even that, based solely on timing and movement. She breaks down ways of thinking about movement, she made it clearer to me how Laban movement theory can be used to shape character (which Ed Hooks talks about) and makes it simpler to understand in a kind of power center/gravity/personality way. She also talks about body mechanics and thought process stuff that helps the audience believe your character is an actual living creature.

definitely click through and watch the rest, well worth it!

One interesting thing she does is that the puppet breaks the 4th wall to acknowledge the audience, as a way of creating more empathy with the puppet, kind of like the puppet and the audience are in on a joke, which seems typical of puppeteering and I wonder if it's just a acting choice common in puppeteering or if it's necessary because of the lack of facial expressions.

Friday, October 30, 2009

C Block by Vladimir Kooperman

C Block by Vladimir Kooperman

*sweet film found by JHD

Marc Craste - Jo Jo in the Stars

Marc Craste does an interesting interview:

When you have characters with masks on, that can do very little (facially) other then be threatening. And then you have the heroes who can't do very much more, and yet they can cover a range of emotions simply because they can move their eyes. It's all in the eyes.

Not only are the are a lot of good economic reasons for simplyfing design choices. I think very often animation works when it is simpler, the more complex it gets, the more your asking the audience to believe, the more difficult it is to convey a deep emotion. Whereas when they're little cypher's like this, it's amazing the amount of people who shed a tear over this. These are little characters who can't do much other then look bewildered, in love, or bewildered. So it was a break from any desire to go into any complex design, and try and keep things simple. The most important thing is to have some kind of endearing quality to the characters, so you do actually care regardless of whether its talking or whatever it's doing, a lot of that has to do with the worlds I build around my characters, they all tend to be little and lost in a great big threatening world.

Pictoplasma Talks - Marc Craste, Studio aka from Pictoplasma on Vimeo.

*interview found by Lango

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Saw it a long time ago, lost it, found it again.

Tyger by Guilherme Marcondes

Bunraku is a Japanese style of puppetry, although Guilherme is from Brazil

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Logline Generator

Ha, ran across this little program that auto generates log lines. Might be a fun creative writing starter.


Sophisticated noodlemakers try to one up each other.

Eight skinny CIA agents give insights about dating. (can't you see Tarantino doing this one?)

A dishonest baby-sitter and an outgoing gas station attendant give conflicting reports to the police.

A philanthropic jingle writer, a psychic-powered butler, and a socialite practice an act for a talent show on an alien planet.

A restaurant owner and a couple of allergic gamblers plot to kill an international spy.

A blundering mafia kingpin, a nerdy male stripper, and an ambidextrous criminal stop a burglary.

A zombie folk singer, an African criminal investigator, and a love-sick tax collector meet and become friends

Czech Stopmotion

Mike Brent of Darkmatters has collected the czech Filmfarum puppet stopmotion into a playlist on youtube with English subs. Super cool. This animation may be a little rough, but it's got a juice you don't always see. Love the devil. Also a ton of other great stuff on his youtube channel!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alexandra Solokoff - Writing

So ran across this brilliant blog by Alexandra Sokoloff about writing (screenplay and novel) Lots and lots of good stuff. Definitely worth a lot of return trips, it's like one of those screenwriting books, in blog form. Anyway, here's copy pastes of parst of some of her posts, worth reading the whole thing of each (I just wanted to consolidate summaries for myself)

Logline/Elevator Pitch That sentence really should give you a sense of the entire story: the character of the protagonist, the character of the antagonist, the conflict, the setting, the tone, the genre. And – it should make whoever hears it want to read the book.

If you can tell your story in one line and everyone who hears it can see exactly what the movie or book is - AND a majority of people who hear it will want to see it or read it - that’s high concept.

the premise is the map of your book when you’re writing it.

- A treasure-hunting archaeologist races over the globe to find the legendary Lost Ark of the Covenant before Hitler’s minions can acquire and use it to supernaturally power the Nazi army.

this premise contain a defined protagonist, a powerful antagonist, a sense of the setting, conflict and stakes, and a sense of how the action will play out... the protagonists are up against forces that seem much bigger than the protagonist.

Visual Storytelling 1 and 2
Humans are visual so tell them what they would see. "Every time I start a chapter or a scene, I think first about the establishing shot and the master shot.

And when I do give the visual, I think about what it says thematically and emotionally about the scene. Is it a confined space because my heroine feels trapped? Then I make sure to convey that claustrophobic sense. Is every tree on the street bursting with bloom and fragrance because my lovers have finally reunited? (Yeah, I’m being on the nose, but my feeling is – be over the top at first to make sure the emotion is there… you can always tone it down later.)

What I do when I start a project, along with outlining, is to keep a list of thematic words and images that convey what my story is about, to me.

Index Card
most movies are a Three Act, eight-sequence structure. Yes, most movies can be broken up into 8 discrete 15-minute sequences, each of which has a beginning, middle and end.

Often a sequence takes place in 1 location with the protagonist following 1 line of action, the climax is getting or losing that piece they're after, then they move onto a new pursuit in a new place. Post about climaxes here

Make 8 columns of Index Cards 5-8 tall. 1st card of 1st column write Act 1 start, last card of 2nd column Act 1 climax, etc. (Act 2 has two parts, both need climaxes.) Okay, go. Brainstorm scenes, all you can think of, write each scene down on a card. Mix and match them up to get a good progression. A movie has about 40 to 60 scenes (a drama more like 40, an action movie more like 60)

Now obviously, if you’re structuring a novel this way, you may be approximately tripling the scene count, but I think that in most cases you’ll find that the number of sequences is not out of proportion to this formula. I write novels of about 40 - 50 chapters each - an exact correlation to the number of scenes I would write in a movie, and I find my books break down into sequences of about 50 pages each: Act One is about 100 pages, Act Two is about 200 pages, and Act Three is a little less than 100 pages. I might have three sequences in Act One rather than two, but the proportions are still almost exactly the same.

Now just write it. 1st draft she thinks of like theater, blocking it out to see the shape of the story. Easier to rewrite then to start with a blank page. Then she goes through in passes adding sensory information, pass for dialogue, pass for suspense, pass for plants and payoffs, etc.

Act One

index cards you'll need:
- Opening image

- Meet the hero or heroine

- Hero/ine’s inner and outer need
- Hero/ine’s arc
- Inciting Incident/ Call to Adventure

- Meet the antagonist (and/or introduce a mystery, which is what you do when you’re going to keep your antagonist hidden to reveal at the end)

- State the theme/what’s the story about?

- Allies

- Mentor

- A mirror character (sometimes)
- Love interest

- Plant/Reveal (or: Set ups and Payoffs)

- Hope/Fear (and Stakes)

- Time Clock (possibly. May not have one and may be revealed later in the story)

- Central Question

- Sequence One climax

- Act One climax (or curtain, or culmination)

Yeah, it’s a lot! That’s why first acts are often the most revised and rewritten sections of the story. It’s also why it’s often the section most in need of cutting and condensing. The answer is usually combining scenes. All these things have to be done, but they all have to be done within such a limited time frame (and page frame) that you simply HAVE to make each scene work on multiple levels.

specific breakdowns of all the pieces are in her post.

It’s useful to think of the story as posing a central question: Will Clarice get Lecter to give her the information she need to catch Buffalo Bill before he kills again? Audience needs to know this question by the end of act 1.

Act 2
Beginning of the 2nd act is usually entry into the "other world". There's often a guardian to give the hero trouble/warning at the entrance, helps raise suspense.

The continual opposition of the protagonist’s and antagonist’s plans is the main underlying structure of the second act.

Another important storytelling and suspense technique is keeping the hero/ine and antagonist in close proximity. Closer they are the higher the suspense.

2nd act often has an assembling the team sequence. One of the delights of a sequence like this is that you see a bunch of highly skilled pros in top form – or alternately, a bunch of unlikely losers that you root for because they’re so perfectly pathetic. The inevitable clash of personalities, the constant divaness and one-upmanship, and the reluctant bonding make for some great scenes – it’s a lively and compelling storytelling technique.

Also often a Training Sequencee, and a Series of Tests. Training sequence often reveals a weakness (plant) that will have to be tested in the hero (payoff when overcome), (Luke not having faith in the force)

Act 2 part 2Climax of the first part of Act 2 is the Midpoint. A major shift in the dynamics of the story. Now it's personal, door of no return, small actions haven't worked so have to commit, sex at 60 (60 pages) changes all relationships. The Midpoint will often be one of the most memorable visual SETPIECES of the story, just to further drive its importance home. It’s a game-changer, and it locks the hero/ine even more inevitably into the story. The Midpoint is not necessarily just one scene – it can be a progression of scenes and revelations that include a climactic scene, a complete change of location, a major revelation, a major reversal – all or any combination of the above. I would also point out that the midpoint is often some kind of mirror image of the final climax (spiritual midpoint of Raiders of the Lost Arc Indy as moses with light and robes finding the right place to dig.)


In the second half of the second act the actions your hero/ine takes toward his or her goal will become larger and increasingly obsessive. Small actions have not cut it, so it’s time for desperate measures.

These escalating actions will often lead to HARD CHOICES and CROSSING THE LINE: the hero/ine very often starts doing things that are against character, self-destructive or downright immoral. Often the hero/ine will lose support from key allies when s/he begins to cross the line.

In standard film structure, the second half of Act Two is two sequences long - two fifteen minute sequences, each with a beginning, middle and climax. A book will perhaps have three or four or five sequences in this 100 page section. But if you concentrate on escalating obsessive actions by the hero/ine and antagonist, and then an abject failure (question of the film answered with no), out of which a new revelation and plan occurs, you pretty much have the whole section mapped out to the ACT TWO CLIMAX

Climax of Act 2 is often answering the question of the film, with a no? Will Hanibal help Clarice catch Buffalo Bill before he kills again? No, Catherine will die.

Act 3
And the third act is basically the FINAL BATTLE and RESOLUTION. It can often be one continuous sequence – the chase and confrontation. There may be a final preparation for battle (1/2 of act 3 can be getting to the battle site), or it might be done on the fly.

above all, in an ending, the reader/audience has to CARE. A good ending has an emotional payoff, and it has to be proportionate to what the character AND the reader/audience has experienced.

Monday, October 26, 2009

John K. Outlining/Storyboarding

this is all straight pasted from John K's blog, go read the original for more thorough description with illustrations.

Here's the outline of Stimpy's invention
Stimpy's Invention Boards over at Asifa

The way the outline is formatted is designed to help you easily follow the story and the main events in the structure. Having headings for everything is really handy. It lets you see at a glance where every main point in your story is headed and how it fits into the larger picture.

A script doesn't do that. You can't see the structure of a script at a glance (if it even has one!) It is unwieldy and hard to follow and can easily meander off course by getting lost in random details.

Scripts are a chore to read and really hard to work from.

Some of the sequence headings in an outline have more than one scene each helping define and adding details to the sequence. Each scene has its own heading.

1) Irons BVDs
2) Cleans Litterbox
3) Cleans Stimpy

All 3 of those scenes help describe the idea of Ren doing nice things.

Note that every story detail and gag of the cartoon isn't in the outline. That's left to the director and the storyboard artist.


John K. on Tex Avery:
n almost every cartoon, he spends the first 2 minutes blatantly setting the audience up for what the cartoon is about.
In Deputy Droopy for example, the first couple of minutes is almost pure exposition with the sheriff explaining to Droopy to guard the jailhouse and if any trouble happens, just "make a sound, any sound, and I'll come a runnin'!"
And then the rest of the cartoon is just about 2 outlaws causing trouble and Droopy making louder and louder noises to wake the sheriff.

Tex uses this same structure for almost every one of his cartoons.
His main objective once he's sure the audience knows what the cartoon is about, is to build the gags and make them bigger and crazier and faster.
Uncontrolled random craziness wouldn't be as funny if he wasn't so careful in setting up his premise in the first place.
This is also a formula well executed by Monty Python-think of the "I'd like to register a complaint." bit.

The other important point in story structure is to have the purpose build as the story develops.

(can't find stimpy's invention, here's deputy droopy)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jesus 2000

Pretty sweet video. What 2D rocks at! (not for the religiously senstive ;)

Destination - Uta Hagen

That Spline Dr.s post linked over to Uta Hagen also. I hadn't heard of her, but I need to head to the library to check her out. And maybe spin through some more of those youtube clips.

Anyway, Direction. She was critiquing a student who had stood a lot during her piece. Hagen says that you are always going somewhere. You won't stand if you can sit. Her example was that she was heading to bed but she stopped to confront the husband, and she could be confronting him for 10 minutes standing there, but because she was heading to bed her body is relaxed, because she knows she is going to continue to bed once she's said her piece (or go sit down if the situation changes) but the point is she has a destination. We're always inbetween going from one place to another. So the student felt akward because she didn't have a destination, she was standing just to stand, and her body was trying to find a way to rest so she felt akward and looked it.

Human Animal - Desmond Morris - Gestures

The Pixar guys are all about Desmond Morris (every animator online recommends his books) Anyway, Spline Doctors just threw up a link to one of the documentaries about hand gestures. Interesting how he breaks it down (though I don't think I buy into some of the reasoning "beating you over the head with his symbolic tiny club"?) The fifth of this show talks about facial expressions. (Tracing the roots from chimps. Starting to lean towards Paul Ekman and his 7 universal facial expressions (you know, what that silly show Lie to Me is exaggerating))

Anyway, worth a watch, might check out the other episodes available on youtube.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Disney animated storyboards

Ran across this Tarzan storyboard/ finished youtube clip over at Malcon Pierce's blog. Following the trail I come back to Cooked Arts youtube channel, brilliant haul of great 2D stuff!!

Carlos Baena on Multiple Ideas in a Shot

Carlos Baena has a great post about multiple ideas in a shot. Looking at how Hitchcock uses the camera so masterfully for exposition.

* What's the point of the shot
* How can you say it in an interesting way
* How can you add suspense and drama out of the characters

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Human Factor by Roland Zag

Ran across a blog by Oswald Iten one post he was reviewing this german book called The Audience Contract by Roland Zag

Iten sums up the book as trying to pin down what "heart" in a story actually is. Zag apparently looked at a ton of films, box office smashes and others, beyond their opening weekend (the thought being opening weekend success is based off of advertising, but continued success is based off of word of mouth.)

It's interesting to me because it's looking at story telling from a social psychology interpersonal frame of view. What it boils down to is that audiences get emotionally involved in a story when the character's social circles get out of whack, they want to see the characters stay true to themselves and find balance again in their social circles (family, romantic relationships, work, citizen, etc.)

The books blog has an English summary. (which is where these notes are copy pasted from)

The human factor approach suggests that stories are fundamentally about belonging.

Empathy & Desire
Dynamics between people - individuals or groups - can be broken down to acts and principles of give and take. The viewers watch and measure who is giving a lot and who is taking a lot, they root for the givers and boo for the takers, and hope that everyone gets what they deserve in the end.

A well-constructed story starts off by conveying some strong social inequity, and after developing the plot it creates a desire for equity. The farther the characters or events deviate from the inner yardstick as defined by the spectator, the stronger the desire of the spectator for the story line to return to a "happy medium", an equilibrium, a homeostasis. It will be up to the author to decide how far this desire will be fulfilled or denied.

Emotional Trigger Mechanism
to connect with the viewers' emotions:

The core of a story is always a high level of social inequity. Accordingly, it focuses mostly on reaching social equity. The protagonists' goals must be related to the central social inequity.

Characters who are descriminated against by the group get sympathy, characters who take to much get disliked

The more characters give the more they're liked. Giving could be signs of affection, solidarity, assistance, etc.

Bad guys are worse and good guys are better if they have a posse backing them

The audience will care more proportianolly the harder it is for a character to:
a) join a group (how much does the character have to give)
b) leave a group (how much do they have to give up)
c) endure a group
d) endure outside the group if they want to be in it

Strata of ethics
9 different areas of life the audience will want to see give and take brought into balance, here's where the balance should be:

individual: being true to self and self determined will, act to entitled you'll lose sympathy,

family: support and respect each other

friends: friendship and loyalty, betrayal is the worst vice

group: peer pressure man, audience likes the characters who stay true to themselves

couples: mutual contributions

gender, generation, ethnic group: stay true to your people

state/law: depends how close characters sense of justice matches state means go with or against the MAN

ideals: stay true to your ideals

humanity: be a good person (don't kick puppies, help the elderly etc.)

Identity and Fulfilment of Demands
A strong script has as many unbalanced areas of life as possible to get the audience really worked up. Suck them in so they feel overwhelmed then give them an acceptable solution to put all the troubles to rest. The overarching problem is always between an individual and the demands of all the areas of life they are part of.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Henry Selick talk

The Mill Valley Film Festival brought Henry Selick to do a talk on Coraline. He was part of that legendary crew from CalArts that included Brad Bird, John Lasseter, Ron & John, Tim Burton etc. He worked 2D in the fox and the hound with them. Directed Nightmare Before Christmas for Tim Burton. Directed the liveaction stopmotion hybrid MonkeyBone. Did a CG short for Laika (Moongirl). And most recently did Coraline.

[*As always, assume these are paraphrases not direct quotes, because I just don't jot down notes fast enough to be accurate]

If you set the bar very high and your staff believes in it, they'll achieve it.

In animation you can't just decide what you're going to do and work away for 3 weeks mechanically and be done. You have to constantly be breathing life into it, improving it and improvising.

What's your thoughts on Coraline being scary?
He talked about how when you're a kid sometimes the scariest stuff is what you love the most. How we all love getting scared sometimes. And how when we were living in tribes the person who could scare the kids the best to stay away from the cave so they don't get eaten by a bear became the tribes storyteller. And basically he summed it up with a quote "Life's no fun without a good scare"

The performing mice scene and the acrobatic theater scene in Coraline, he was told he would have to do them in CG. But he put up a big fight. He said that it would be very difficult in stop motion but if they didn't then the whole movie would go flat, they had to maintain their integrity, it had to be all real world objects.

The theater scene (especially the birth of Venus) was all meant as an homage to Terry Gilliam, and you can't do an homage to Gilliam half assed.

The garden scene is a good example of achieving what's difficult in stop motion: Bringing an entire world to life and not just a moving character in front of a static environment.

We designed the flowers around the materials that we found that could change shape on a frame by frame basis. An approach he recommends to all stop motionists.

What makes a good animator?
An animator is at heart trying to engage an audience and draw them in. Number one is "What is the character thinking?" It's greater then posing, and timing, and clarity, and all the principles. If you know what they're thinking and can make it visible you'll draw in the audience. The cruder one person shorts that are out there in the world can be really amazing if they have this quality.
He pulled up Anthony Scott (animation supervisor) to answer the question.
Some of the most challenging shots are closeups with subtle expression changes. That's where you especially have to get the thoughts to come through. Also Each of the characters have to move in their own way. A cat moves so differently then a dog does.

What draws you to a script?

A touch of humor, a touch of the macabre. A story that can be appealing to kids. "Classic fairy tales in a modern setting."

What would Coraline have been like liveaction?
Animation brings a fairytale element to a story. Stop motion is ageless, it feels like it comes from an earlier time. It will always be there, there's always going to be some guy off somewhere making GIJoes or Barbie or tinfoil or clay move. So in live action Coraline would have been colder, and the scary scenes would have been scarier.

I had a great experience in Oregon but I know I'll come back to the bay area. Maybe get a warehouse somewhere.

Coraline was set in America because I was more comfortable with the dialect. And set in Portland because I wanted to keep the Spink and Forcible British and the Ashland Shakespeare festival was the best excuse I could for what they would be doing in the states. It was coincidental I wound up there also thanks to Laika.
What were the challenges involved in shooting in 3D?
3D is nice in that it captures the strength of stop motion. Stop Motion can't do some of the stuff that CG or 2D does, but 3D can really make use of the fact that stop motion is actual real stuff in the real world. The hardest thing with 3D was not overdoing it. If everything is always loud or always saturated color then it just overwhelms and stops meaning anything.

Advice you would give yourself as a student?
Be Bold! School is your shot to be yourself. It's fine if you want to study under someone's style with the thought of getting a job afterwards. But your student film will be the easiest time in your life to make the film you want to make. What do you have to say? Don't worry about the technical side, it's got to be about story and character. Be bold, it's your chance to make your mark.

What do you think of the animation world right now?
There's always talk of a golden age or something. The golden age is really right now, because it's the age we're in. It's too bad that we're stuck with the idea of a feature film that has to be 70-100 minutes. I'm still looking for how people can make a living doing short stuff. We need to train the audience that you can't just see everything for free, you have to pay a quarter or something. Steve Jobs is selling Itunes .99 for a short film and people are okay with it, so it's starting. Someone's gotta find a way to make shorts sustainable for people to make. Like the Tesla, someone made the electric car sexy.

(I asked)What have you learned as a director between your experience from NBC to Coraline?
I learned how to be a better storyteller. I've always been a tough ass director. I push really hard and ask a lot and almost every time the animator's deliver it. And the animator's who are brilliant I stay out of their way. By Coraline I had learned more what I liked. I wanted it all hand made. "Let's go back to what felt best."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

David Anthony Gibson - Meatballs

Not that it's news, but I keep thinking about this post by David Anthony Gibson talking about the shots he animated for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. And that's the rule, if I go looking for it more then once or keep thinking about it, slap it up on my blog so I can track it down at some later date, if I need to.

"we always tried to have quick transitions that had really long settles. One way I remember our animation director always saying it was: do your move and get 97% of the way to your final pose and then feather out that last 3% of the move over 10-15 frames."

*makes me think of that SplineDr.'s post about people needing to know more then just animating

Oh, he has a new post

Morello & Blur

Blur's Gentlemen's Duel is back on Youtube. As is Jasper Morello!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lost creative screenwriting panel

So I've never actually seen Lost (no TV, no time), but I know it's a big phenomenon out there. Ran across these notes by artistChris Oatley he took at a Lost panel at the creative screenwriting expo. Cherry picked ideas from his notes (definitely go read his notes for more thorough explanation and context) notes 1 2 3 4 5:

make the exposition as emotional as possible. Lost has become such a huge hit because it's very character driven. So when they need to explain some sci fi thing, they embed it within some issue that is very emotionally strong to a character. Like explaining how someone has to swim through an underwater station and flip a switch was tedious until they made it about Charlie being terrified of swimming and drowning.

The writers write the character's as surrogates of the audience. Sawyer is always ‘in on the joke’ with the audience. He knows when weird stuff is happening on the island and he points it out. He says what the audience is thinking and they can relate to him for that reason. Hurley asks the questions that the audience is asking.

They talked about nonlinear story telling inherently having stronger questions as to what's going on in the audiences minds, which compels them to keep watching. Mentioned the scene at the end of Pulp Fiction where Vincent walks into an apartment complex, and that it had resonance because the audience had already seen Vincent get bloodily shot to death there out of order earlier in the film. So the Lost writers with their flashbacks are always thinking of what is the mystery of this episode, and when is the time to reveal the answer. The revelation time is when it will have the greatest emotional impact.

Damon and Carlton have a self-imposed rule for writing the show where they never introduce an element of the story’s mythology without having worked out where it came from and where it is going within the story.

At the end of each season, the LOST writing staff has an intensive, three-week ritual called ‘Mini-Camp.’ They begin by deciding what that will take place in the next season finale. The finale then becomes the goal that they work toward in the planning of each episode within the season.

1st question of minicamp: what do we owe the audience, what are they expecting for the upcoming season.

5 days to break a story. 1st day all brainstorming. 2nd day deciding specific scenes to see. 3rd breaking story outlines on whiteboard. An episode is 5 acts and a teaser. Teaser is opening hook before Logo. 3 or 4 scenes per act. Write entire episode as 1 line per scene. Figure out what the act-out for each act is (mini cliffhanger to get hold interest through a commercial break.)

“To write a great love story, you have to give your characters a great obstacle to overcome...” show WHY they are in love.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Illustration Resources

In the spirit of never actually improving my own skills when I could instead search for the "perfect" tutorial or technique, ran across this amazing site with a billion links for illustration and comic artists Escape from Illustration Island created by Thomas James

one of the links was to Xia Taptara a concept artist for games, he has many many videos of pieces in process.

Old School Indiana Jones

Don't remember where I found this. It's a mash up of old Hollywood era films, the kind that George and Steve grew up on, mashed together to make a trailer for Indiana Jones. In that transcript of George and Steve and Lawrence Kasden talking over what they want the Indiana movie to be they reference all these old movies and scenes, I think this Youtube artist took those specific scenes and remade the movie.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Miyazaki with 3D BG

Just got Starting Point 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki which is basically just a collection of his thoughts and essays from that time period. Excited to read it and get into his head. A quick flip through looks like he unsurprisingly talks about his early work, like his stuff for Toei, so thought I'd finally get around to watching Future Boy Conan (I think the title has put me off this long.)

So I head over to the Ghibli Blog which I think is one of the best Ghibli blogs I've come across, because they have links to torrents of fun subs for stuff not released here in the states.

Ran across this cool post byDaniel Thomas MacInnes (it's his site): "Here is a collection of several television ads for House Foods. If my understanding of kanji holds, I believe Yoshiyuki Momose directed these, with Hayao Miyazaki as his direct supervisor. Which would probably mean he was hanging over Momose's shoulder the entire time, struggling to resist the urge to barge in and take over everything."

MacInnes says it's all CG BG with handdrawn characters. As Lango has spoken of multiple times, the CG stuff feels CG, just because of how it moves, doesn't quite gel with the 2D. But man it's beautiful.