Production log

Feb 10th

I have begun working on my pitch to the class for my final major production, I have narrowed down my options to already existing scripts I have on the back burner like my animated scripts such as Mako and a currently unnamed project about a village in the woods.
Both of these projects seem promising but due to them being animated it will be difficult to produce a full film to the quality I desire within the time frame for the module.
Other options I have looked into could be my script ‘Business as usual’ which I submitted for Cory last year as I only completed the first ten pages, it may also be possible to film and produce my finished script for ‘Loop’ which was written in the first year, at this point Loop seems like the most viable option to film, just need to gauge interest from potential crew and look into finding actors.

Feb 20th

I gave my pitch last week and received a form of feedback in an email detailing people’s presentations, the ideas for my project seem to have gone down well enough that I have been given an amber light so I can only assume the ideas I have are viable enough to get a decent grade.
I also spoke with Lucy before the presentation and she has said it is more than possible to simply submit a script, admittedly this feels like a cop out for the final project but at this point I am hesitant to film as there is no real creative spark driving me at this point.
After completing the Drawn to the Valley project just before Christmas it has reinforced my strengths as a director and camera operator, I know that I have a variety of options such as getting a credit on someone else’s film as crew in one of these roles, this could be a route for me as I helped friends in the third year complete their film ‘Nosy Neighbours’ last year and enjoyed the experience.
I will wait for more feedback before making a decision.

Feb 27th

After a week of thinking it over I realised I have no drive to shoot a live action piece, I currently am only excited about my work when it comes to writing and discussing ideas. For me to create a piece of work that I feel will be substantial enough for submission I need to write a script, maybe multiple.
I know that it is possible that I can write and others can shoot it as a collaboration piece but I know that many people in the class if not all, want to work on their own unique ideas, This means that I will be limited in terms of crew and whatever crew I get will only be half hearted.
For these reasons I think going down the animated script route will be the way to go.

Feb 28th

After looking at the content I have been watching lately it is easy to see why I am so insistent on writing my own animated story. The script I am thinking of completing and submitting is one that I mentioned to Cory last year but due to constrictions with the animation department was ultimately unable to produce, I am hoping that with three months left I may be able to collaborate with animators this time, building not only a final piece but possible collaboration options for the future.

March 4th

Spoke with Lucy today about getting in contact with the animation department, she has said she will talk to the head of the course and given me a name to email, I have started work on my character designs and general idea for the aesthetic of the film so I should have something to present for my meeting with them. I have begun rewriting my initial script for Mako which I began last year as I feel coming into it fresh will help the story grow rather than picking up where I left off.
The story details Mako’s loss of his grandfather and how he must now deal with the five stages of grief to overcome his pain and move forward with his life. This idea has remained from the original script but now with a bit more research and insight I feel I will be able to produce a script, double in the length of the standard film submission size. Having a sizable script I feel may make up for the lack of a moving picture piece.

March 7th

Finished my character designs today, it is clear looking at them that I have taken influence from films such as summer wars in the art style. Mamoru Hosoda is one of my favourite anime directors so it is easy to see why I have subconsciously gone to that style of artwork when visualising the world within my script. With these designs done I now have something concrete that I can bring to my meeting with the animation department. I am still waiting to here back on if I meet with them but I am now at least prepared for the next step.
I have also begun looking into the Kübler-Ross model otherwise known as the five stages of grief to get a better understanding of the themes within my script, looking at each key step and how they can differ depending on the situation the person going through these steps may be facing.

March 13th

Today I met with the head of the animation department and explained what it is I want to achieve by the end of the submission deadline, unfortunately even with a team of animators Tony doesn’t believe that I would be able to produce at least two minutes of a high quality animation.
This was my fear when I originally set out to work on this script and it seems like a repeat of last year when I attempted to do the same, knowing that I wont be able to produce anything really relating to moving image definitely puts a dampener on the project however I am committed to completing Mako this time around.
I have been shown a programme however known as Cell Animate, the programme is fairly knew and they are holding a workshop with the creators of the programme at the end of the month, Tony has invited me to the session as he believes I may be able to create at least something utilizing the software, but I will still need a team of animators behind me otherwise I will still have nothing.

March 20th

I have received no further word on working with animators but from my meeting with Tony it seems that the students are already deep into their own productions, this is a shame but I have tried my hand at simple flash animation over the past week and it is clear to see that whatever I produce wont be of submission quality. This opens up another possibility for me though, within my RED project I mentioned a short piece called 2AM in the PM by JG Quintel one of my favourite animators.
This was a piece he submitted for his course at the California Institute Of The Arts, the piece utilised moving storyboards to create a basic yet effective animation.
I may be able to try my hand at this technique as well to plot out a scene and have something to submit this would mean however that I would have to get all the voice recordings for Mako finished and find some foley sound effects but this could lead me somewhere interesting.
I am still aiming on heading to this workshop at the end of March to at least see what Cell Animate can do.

March 27th

Production has slowed over the past week and I imagine that it will for the next couple as it is half term, I have had to come back home over easter due to personal reasons which unfortunately means I am going to miss the Cell Animate workshop, this definitely has put a downer on my project as it would have been something I could of carried on within my future development as a film maker but what can you do.
I will continue to work on my project over the easter break as I have finished the first draft for Mako over the past week which means I now need to start on my CPD which will encompass all of my research and pre production for the script.

April 12th

I have just got back into Plymouth from the easter break and while away have been working on poster designs, I have had experience in graphic design working with IPC in London so I am confident that I can create something to a high quality.
I have many ideas for the poster itself all of which have inspiration from various animated productions.
The main inspiration I have right now is from James Bacon a Cincinnati based artist who has recreated cover art from many of Hayao Miyazaki’s films in a very simplistic yet stylized way, the use of gradient colour and the simplicity of the art has really spoken to me and it is something I would like to try my hand at replicating.

April 23rd

Today I met with Allister to discuss the scripts first draft, He says my dialogue flows well and you can visualise the scene well through my description, this is good it means that I actually have some talent for what I’m doing which further reinforces my confidence in the project.
The advice he has given me to improve on is when writing the actions of the scene down to not write in such a novelistic style, there is a lot of description but some of it doesn’t need to be there to paint the scene, its just added bulk. After reading through the draft again I can see where he is coming from and have begun to change the style of writing more toward the aspects he said worked, I have also added a few extra scenes to give the story a bit more pace and to focus on the more surreal aspects within the story.
Looking at it, the first draft seems a bit rushed almost as if the character is just racing through each location, I realise why I had originally wrote the story in this manner as I was so focused on my characters end goal I myself was just racing to get to the end.
I may now extended the scenes and hopefully allowed the more symbolic aspects of the scenes to shine through.

April 30th

This has been by far one of my more busy weeks in this project, I have completed the second draft and shown it to some friends and family to get an outsider perspective on the story itself, the feedback I have received is good and many people can see the symbolism hidden within the scenes.
This is good it means that my second draft is more up to standard I want it to be, I have been told the story is good and been given some pointers on some things that didn’t quite work for some of the readers. One issue that was found was that during my characters stage of bargaining I had the definition of it as gambling, although the scene I wrote made sense it needs to be changed to match up with the themes present within the story.
I have completed my first draft of poster designs and will begin to narrow them down for the submission and for the book we have to submit.
For the book I will be classing myself as writer/director and use stills and posters from my previous works so it has some diversity.
I have also been helping Luke Hurley with some of his script ideas as he has decided to change his story entirely, this has been a good exercise not only for him and his story but for me as well as it has allowed me to have some experience in compromise while working on a story with another writer.

May 7th

Today I received feedback from Allister on my second draft, he has given me some pointers on some ways I can improve my script, adding more detail into the things I am describing and truly painting a picture with my words. I am going to work in these final weeks on buffing up the script and hopefully refining my writing style even further and developing the story I wish to tell to its final step.
I have completed the majority of the paperwork for this module now so I aim to push myself over this last hurdle and have everything ready for submission by next week.

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