Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First Time Out

O.k., here it is, film fests be damned. A few production notes: started in 2002 as kind of reaction to the proliferation of cutesy toons from Japan (Hamtaro and Tokyo Pig, shtuff like that) and too many episodes of Gundam Wing. The main jist of the project was: Why not give a giant fighting robot to something that could actually use it? Like 1 1/2 foot tall day-glo bunnies?

I originally envisioned the project as being a machinima piece, fully realtime online in Shockwave 3d with code controlled cameras and all kind of fancy realtime bells n' whistles. When I couldn't get A) a coder or B) the time to learn Lingo, Shockwave's coding language, I re-examined the piece and decided that having a bunch of fancy-shmansy realtime interactivity wasn't going to add to the story or characters at all. So, I decided to just render the whole thing out. Modeling and animation was done in Plasma, a web-only version of Max discontinued before Autodesk bought out Discreet. Animated maps were created in Flash and exported as Mpegs, then mapped on in Plasma.

Bit ass backwards on this one...I designed and modeled almost all the characters and props before doing an animatic in Flash...I knew what elements and characters I wanted for the short, but the story needed to evolve visually. I created a full animatic in Flash over the course of 8 months, refining the story and dumping a whole lot of dialog in favor of action in the process.

Initial designs and model sheets were done in '02, with the modeling taking place in 03/04. Took a break, then started the animatic in July of '04, finishing in September of '05. In April of '06 I started the first scene, and finished animation in May of '07. Enter Drew Frohmann, that most excellent half of the most excellent comedy duo of Rub (Rob Collinet, Splashworks art director) and Tug (Drew), who together comprise the team known as Hot Dog Boy. Drew had a gig at a sound studio, Pirate Radio and TV, and Rob suggested he might be able to help out with sound.

We recorded the dialog at Pirate (3 1/2 hours and 63 takes for around 1 1/2 minutes), with Dan Branco designing fx, Chris Tim and Tim composing, Bill Turchinetz supervising, and Spenser Hall putting it all together in Pirate's Dolby 5.1 lab. Drew and production diva Tyna Myaerzke made it all happen after hours. All just for the kudos and a piece for the ol' demo reel...they, of course, rock the ass. Got the final mixdowns from Spense on Sept. 17th, just before heading off to Ottawa, where I managed to get a copy into the hands of my two college profs, Don Perro and Paul West, as well as Pilar Newton, Jerry Beck and Lev Polyakov.

That's that! The plan right now is to try Kalamazoo and Platform, amongst others. Haven't had much luck finding a fest that the film fits into, but I gotta keep pushin', cuz me Pirate mates worked too damn hard to allow this stuff to not get heard. Let me know whatcha welcome, people! And thanks for watchin'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for you !
More animators should be dedicating some spare time to their personal projects !