It seems so easy when you storyboard it?!


So for the past 5 days or so I've been animating one of the more complex animated sequences in the film which ends up taking a lot of time due to crowd scenes and lots of vfx- I'm just barely making my quota before passing out every day but I'm almost through this part-

Its SO easy to storyboard crazy shit without having to consider how difficult and time consuming it will be to animate it- since I've animated a couple thousand shots and completed a fair number of productions I have to keep a balanced view-

When I'm storyboarding these days I try to keep things as simple as possible to tell the story/create the emotion BUT I'm also a sucker for crazy actions and characters doing amazing things-

I know how much time it takes to animated the crazy stuff so I ration it out- if this whole film was non-stop crazy action it would probably take me 10 years to do instead of 1- my goal is not to create the best action animated film ever- my goal is to tell my story and get that story out as soon as I can while retaining an acceptable level of quality FOR MY TASTES.

It's this acceptable level of quality that can fuck you- because what if you as an forever alone filmmaker decides "pixar quality" is an acceptable level of quality? Good luck taking 30 years to make a full length film haha

In my opinion when discussing animated films EMOTION IS KING- I know the cliche is "story is king" but just because something has a coherent story structured logically which comes to a climax when its supposed to as dictated by the status quo of cinematic storytelling doesn't mean it's going to make me feel anything.

I'm a follower of Zeami- the man behind Noh- he valued emotion over everything else and that is what feels right to me as well.

So when I'm storyboarding or animating- I tend to do what needs to be done to elicit the most emotion- I don't go for the visual/narrative cliche's or mindless action which only serves itself.

Like many amateur filmmakers my first films were full of shots of characters turning door knobs and doing all these ridiculous things because I was concerned with having the viewer follow what was going on- in the end no one knew wtf was going on- they didn't feel anything either haha-

Then I decided to focus on the emotion- so then people started to feel things but in a logical cause and effect sense they still had no idea what was going on if they couldn't follow the emotional narrative.

Now with I am Nightmare I think I'm finally able to put it all together- it really feels like my first film- or my first film as a professional. I think it's my first film where I'm able to tie the emotional and logical narratives together.

Now it seems SO SIMPLE to do it- just like those shots seem easy when storyboarding them- but in practical application its not so easy- but with experience it starts to get easier- now I'm not trying to say I'm some master storyteller or something now- just sharing my learning experience with you.

I always marvel at the works of Osamu Tezuka as that man was the master of storytelling in my opinion- he could take such simple situations and in an instant make you care so much about what was going on with a few images- masterful.

So anyway don't kill yourself with complexity when storyboarding- focus instead on the little things that can generate emotion- the tweak of a characters posture- a slight change to their facial expression- the mood of the lighting- the colors in your scene- that reminds me I wrote a whole essay about this I should clean it up and post it some time haha

Back to animating this crazy stuff!

Comments

  1. I've never seen any Tezuka outside Astroboy. What else is good? I've heard a lot about Black Jack, but I have no idea what it is or what it's about.

    There's a biography of Tezuka done as a manga sitting on a front display shelf at my local comic shop. I always mean to pick it up, but never do, because it's big and thick and crazy expensive.

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  2. Thanks so much for this post! It's exactly what I needed to read as I'm struggling to make my animated film. I, too, am discovering that some scenes from my storyboard and animatic are much more complicated once I get to animating them (I'm drawing the animation on paper.) Thanks for making me consciously aware about emotion being king. I feel strongly that movies should have solidly structured stories but, as you said, story will ultimately fail if there's a lack of emotion in it (this is where Pixar beats everybody else). I'm going to reference your post on my blog and twitter feed because I think it's important to share with as many DIY filmmakers as possible. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

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