What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

August 15, 2009

Intellectual Curiosity

Intellectual Curiosity - A desire to learn more about a person, or a thing, or a way of life.

Again from Animonday about comparing the Animation Block Party and the 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

"just about every entry was bogged down with the trappings of pop culture, animation self-referencing, and light-weight themes and ideas. None offered much (or any) insight into important issues, the state of world, the human condition, or even simple human relationships."

"Despite endless possibilities, many animation artists would rather contemplate how to use any story set-up as an excuse to create an epic fight scene. Among the most technically polished pieces in the ABP show was a seemingly endless film that featured a pint-sized character rambling on and on in a post-game locker room. The attractive design work and subtle character animation were not enough to generate interest in the tedious film. Can you imagine a live action equivalent, with great lighting, art direction and cinematography but no story, just a guy rambling on and on? If you're doing a narrative film, it’s not enough to have good animation or high production values. A narrative film requires structure and interesting characters working through something the audience can relate to."

"A personal film has the opportunity to explore areas that a big budget theatrical animation or an animated TV series couldn't touch. But, many personal films are love letters to those very institutions, repeating themes and scenes and jokes we’ve seen before, with the effect of diminishing returns."

"It’s ironic that animators are the first to defend the potential of their medium and are also the least likely to exploit it. What does it say about us that we are more concerned with getting a cheap laugh or recreating a fight scene from “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” than we are about really saying something?"

"What some of these student animators are choosing to express does not give me hope that they have the needed intellectual curiosity to create work that will surprise the older generations like mine and inspire the generations after them."

Creative Currency.

From Animondays a article about creative currency.

"To develop a pitch is to develop your voice as a writer and an artist. Even being strung along by an insincere development executive (no, they are not all insincere) doesn't change the fact that you created something that you may take with you to greener pastures."

"I share this story because I think it's evidence that pitching is only a waste of time when you choose to pin all your hopes on one idea or on one particular opportunity or executive."

"I have come to believe that development executives will always let you down; not that they intend to but there's just no way they could ever be as excited about your project as you are. And in turn, most creators they strike deals with probably disappoint the executives since it's got to be tough to live up to what an exec might imagine your project to be before it's made.In the end, it's up to you to make sure that pitching isn't a waste of time. All your efforts travel with you and build up your creative currency over time. "

August 14, 2009

What's at stake is nothing less then life and death.

In the making of my animated short, I felt that there was something lacking in the emotional investment that the audience needs to make. That statement above pointed out in neon bold letters the problem I think I had.

The one below struck me.

"Remember the goal we are after? We want to give the audience an emotionally satisfying experience."

It was a section from a book "Directing The Story" - by Francis Glebas.

Most of it is something that is common sense about but often something that you do not give serious thought. Its a really good book to get your hands on.

Some useful notes about it.

- "The most important thing about making a movie is that it must be about something big, important and significant. Otherwise why should we care. "

It has to say something important about the particular subject matter. i.e friendship, love.

- "Show the audience why your characters are absolutely driven to do what they do"

- "Characters drive stories, like characters who go after a goal and face obstacles, make decisions, then take actions of life changing consequences."

- "It has to speak to something that we can relate to". Does not have to be a big story. But got to be big issues. e.g family, honor, law, crime, freedom, guilt. etc...

- "Something has to be at stake" e.g Have to show what the consequence is if the mission fail."

There is a paragraph about the hero's journey, about creating obstacles which is already covered in many other books. So I wont get into it.

But in summary

- We watch movies to feel good. Meet that need in your audience
- Make sure your story is about something that matters
- Aim at providing an emotionally satisfying experience for your audience but works at a structural level
- The secret of storytelling is story-delaying. There is a whole repertoire of story-delaying tactics based on the control of info of who gets to know what, when and how to tease your audience by making them wait.