Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Story (So Far...)

So, as of right now I would say my story is but a vaguely conceptual outline. I know things I want to say-just figuring out how to say them.

This is a first bit of art direction, expounding upon the idea of using the animation process as a jumping off point for the metaphor of artistic growth that takes place in the main character.

Moving from left to right, this mood board begins with rough thumbnails and anatomical sketches as you would when first planning out an animated sequence. We then get into storyboards, animatics/key animation, color animation and then fully shaded color animation.

Moving into story, this is a rough (with even rougher visuals) of the story outline. There's a few big ideas in hear I'd really like to keep but other than that-much of it is open to change.

Start with a vast negative space slowly trucking in on the animator at his desk. A bass tone repeats over and over, growing louder as the camera closes in.

Closing in, the animator works with apparent frustration.

The animator's form fades to a rough, anatomical drawing of his character.

Pulling wide, we see his character as part of a mass of rough forms working at desks. Each form listens to the repetitive tones over headphones.

He copies the tone piped into the headphones over and over into sheet music.

His character writes a harmonic tone, breaking the chain of repetitive notes.

He looks up as if searching for something more.

A rough form, strikingly similar to his character, appears and whispers negative thoughts from within the animator's own head.

A second appears and add more negative thoughts of self doubt and inner turmoil.

The negative forms force his head down to continue his work. He fights them off and they dissipate into the abyss as he stands.

Taking off his headphones for the first time he notices all the head phone cords follow a path.

He follows the cords and finds them leading to a far distant figure. He decides to follow them to where the tones are produced.

Shortly into his journey, he discovers that his own cord veers off from the others. He decides to follow his own cords, having faith that it will lead him to his destination.

His cord leads him into some dark woods, where he finds an impassable cliff side.

Contemplating his situation, he takes his length of cord and uses it to scale the cliff.

Atop the hill he finds a gleaming instrument. He takes it and uses it to compose his own tones as he journeys onward.

Finally arriving, he finds the figure is a gargantuan idol with  speaker for a head and a factory at its base.

Entering the factory he finds a mass of forms writing the same notes over and over--creating the initial signal sent out.

He leaves, truly saddened by his discovery.

Gathering his thoughts, he contemplates how wrong he was to take the journey. The negative forms appear and coerce him to returning to his desk where he belongs.

Gathering his resolve, he ties the two in his cord.

Finding his own inner strength, he uses the negative forms to begin scaling the massive structure.

As he climbs, the figure comes to life and begins thrashing around in an attempt to ward him off.

He reaches the top and plugs his instrument into the massive speaker.

We end on his hand raised, about to strike his first note.

Welp, that wraps it up for now but there's plenty developments coming up so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


This is the production blog for the 2D animated short film, Heard(working title), by filmmaker David Howard(that's me...also a working title). This film will serve as my MFA graduate thesis film for my studies at Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta.

Heard is about an animator whose frustrations take him on an allegorical journey through his own artistic development; his drive, resolve, and experiences help him ward off inner demons and find his own path toward the ultimate goal of being heard. The self-reflective piece begins as rough visuals/sound building to full-color 2D animation-showing the animation process moving forward in tandem with artistic growth and progression of the journey.

I will be posting progress posts on this blog as well as progress tests. I will also be live streaming work sessions to give an in-depth look into production. This film contains a great deal of self-reflexivity so I will be as transparent with production as I can. I will also talk about the thesis paper which will accompany the film, "Self-Reflexivity in Animation."

We'll start with the paper to catch up to speed (though this may be old hat for some.

"Self-Reflexivity in Animation"

We begin with The Enchanted Drawing in 1900. The film features James Stuart Blackton drawing pictures on camera as an adaptation of his lightning sketch vaudeville show.

In the late 1910s and early 1920s, Max Fleischer began producing a series of animated shorts out of The Bray Studio titled Out of the Inkwell. In these shorts, Max Fleischer would interact with an animated KO-KO the Clown in a real-world environment. Fleischer would go as far as to draw pictures such as KO-KO himself which sprang to life.