Tag Archives: idea

Reality check 1… *sigh*

Hi again!

I’ll need to postpone the One sheet post I promised because some more important questions came up yesterday morning.

We have now an assigned Final Film instructor: Peter MacAdams. Peter is awesome! Is the only teacher that constantly pushes me to achieve even more than I push myself (And I have suffered some major drawbacks because I push myself really hard… I try to learn and do some stuff that sometimes grows way out of hand! More often than not, I try to chew more than I can swallow.) So it is great for me to have Peter as my final film instructor because it will help me make it better and then learn a lot more… but I have to control my own perfectionism impulses and keep everything in check so things don’t grow out of hand!

So my first honest reality check was yesterday. We saw the latest Leica Reel together (The Leica reel which I already posted about here) and he was… how can I say it? … Not convinced.  After questioning him a little about it, the truth came very clear to me as I finally saw things the way he did: The story has major composition problems and there are two major points of the storytelling that don’t actually help. This points are there, but it wouldn’t matter if they are removed because they don’t help the story to grow. The great part is that he understood the story just the way I wanted to be so THAT’S GREAT! Once again… time to draw a lot and polish, polish and polish it some more!

Now, that’s a major issue for me. I’m rethinking the whole story as I write down this, and lucky for me, all this happened on this part of the process. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

On a different note, autumn is starting to leave and winter is starting to come… So sad, I  sure love the colour of winter!


The Leica Reel…and the story

For most people, this is like listening to alien mumbling. At least, that was my case.

In most animated features and animated shorts, in the DVD “Special Features” section, they have all the secrets of how the production was done. First, you start with an idea (usually, the most complicated to define yet the cornerstone of anything in this media). After developing your idea, nurturing it and make it stand by it’s own, comes the next step: defining the style or “feel” of your film.

This is where the storyboarding process and Leica Reel come into play… and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now at VFS.

The first is a storyboard, where you translate all of your visual ideas or/and the script (if it there is one) into a physical state. This process is painful because most times, everything that is your head is close to perfect…and for some unknown reason, at the moment of putting it down on paper and drawing it, comes nothing close to perfection at first. So after a couple of drafts, usually in the form of thumbnail drawings, you’re ready to apply all the technical side of how you’re planning to tell your story.

After the genesis of the idea becoming a coherent storyboard that looks kind of a comic book with camera instructions and some other technicalities, The Leica Reel comes next. Here, you scan the complete Storyboard and you import it to a video editing software program, like Adobe Premier. There, you add a scratch track of music -not necessarily the final audio you plan to use- , special effects, sound effects, basic motion and ANYTHING that helps tell the story. No animation is done at this point.

At this part of the process, all the storytelling issues that may not be seen before are more clear and sound. Usually, the Leica Reel is shown at a producers meeting with the director and his team… or the director alone. There, changes are usually required from both sides and the cycle repeats itself a couple of times. The Leica Reel, though, may not be shown to the public, and usually the final draft is the one on the features at the DVD’s. This is done to save money in the production and to come out with a good product

I’ll leave a couple of examples. One of my favorite movies of all times, Pixar’s Monsters Inc., with a Leica Reel comparison with the movie!

And also the fantastic intro sequence of Tarzan, from Walt Disney Studios:

Did you like them? Wish me luck with mine!

Quick edit: I found the first Leica Reel of the opening of Tarzan. It’s a great example of why this works perfect as a story refining tool… and the previous one I posted was chosen over this one.

Enjoy!