For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Monday, November 21, 2016

No. 114, The Character on the Cutting Room Floor

A frame of sequence 7 in Storyboard Pro.
Having now created animatics of four of the sequences for my film Carry On, I am getting some idea of the length of the entire production. Right now, the screen time is something like 6.5 minutes.

For an independent production coming out of a one-man shop, this is an alarming amount of footage. It is not impossible, but with two more sequences still to be storyboarded, it could become overwhelming.  So I am naturally looking for ways to trim unnecessary shots and otherwise tighten up the production.

Every scene is being scrutinized.  What does it add to the telling of the story? What would be the effect of leaving it out? If important, could it be cleverly combined with something else so that the result would be shorter?

Sequence 7 is a case in point. At one minute and twenty-two seconds, it is actually paced rather nicely. But as I began work on the next sequence, number 8, I began to see a problem with them both. The two airline employee characters from 7 appear again in 8, and the interaction between them becomes complicated and time-consuming.  At last I saw that if I rewrote their whole interaction, I could reduce their screen time considerably, while still putting across the same necessary points about their relationship that are essential to the plot. And somehow it seemed now to work better that the senior airline agent should be a man rather than a woman.

It looks as if sequence 7 will now end at about the same length as before, but sequence 8 will be shorter than it would have been, so that the story will become more concise as desired. In addition, the exposition is more clear, and the production benefits all around.

As for the character of the woman airline agent, she is out.  She is, as film makers used to say, on the cutting room floor, like a length of 35mm footage containing her entire screen time, discarded by a film editor.  But of course in animation, editing is virtually always done now, in storyboarding, and not after the film is shot.

Here is what she looks like, together with an image of her replacement:

A promising character design, I will keep her under contract until the right role comes along.
The new guy.

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