Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beats & Turning Points

This is something that I'm looking at right now. Going through the scenes and picking out the beats and how they build up to turning points. If there is no turning point then it may just be that the scene is merely exposition, and in that case it could be cut. It also helps clarify what I'm wanting to achieve in scenes and how I can better communicate that to the audience.

The build up to the turning points is important too, that's why I'm really analysing the beats of the characters to ensure that there is escalating tension and gaps between expectation and what actually happens. An example is when Josh is outside his house in the street looking for Cicada shells. Rather than just have the bird fly over from nowhere, Josh goes to collect a Cicada shell, then sees the live Cicada, then sees it snatched by the bird. So that rather than jumping straight to the turning point, the audience can build up some expectations that we can hopefully break making the audience anticipate more and more the actions to come.

Something that I've been continually returning to during this process is Robert McKee's "Story". While I don't want to fall in the trap of simply following formulas and connecting the dots I still want to get a good grasp of the basic principles. McKee aptly says on the back cover "Anxious inexperienced writers obey rules; rebellious, unschooled writers break rules; an artist masters the form". When talking about McKee though I can't help thinking of the clip in Adaptation (featured below) that portrays McKee in a fairly harsh manner. I don't think this is a very accurate portrayal, it's more poking fun and presenting Kaufman's impression. Ironically McKee references Adaption in his seminars now which shows his versatility and how the basic principles can still be applied.

Character Designs - Aden & Josh

Here are pretty much the finalised character designs for Aden and Josh. I'll inevitably tweak them a bit more in the modelling process but this is them in 2D. Just excuse some of the loose proportions :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Updated Timeline

New timeline! Some dates have been pushed around. In particular the character and set designs which are not finding the time they need :/

PDF can be downloaded here.

Tree Research

Checking out some trees in the local area and some of the structures that would suit the animation! Looks like the Elm tree will be the way to go.

Revised Logline, Synopsis & Second Draft

While I'm still a bit unsure of the way to write these documents here they are.

Logline -

Josh, an 8 year old boy isolates himself from his Mum and his 3 year old brother Aden. When Josh one day adopts a wounded Cicada tensions erupt, leading to resolution on when Josh learns the true value of family.

Synopsis -

Josh is an 8 year old boy who isolates himself from his family and turns to his fascination with Cicadas for fulfillment. Joshes life changes when he rescues a wounded Cicada from a bird and decides to adopt it. Aden, Joshes 3 year old brother who refuses to talk, becomes hostile towards the Cicada when he sees that it is coming between him and his brother. Meanwhile Aden's refusal to talk puts increasing strain on the family. When these tensions climax their Mother takes the Cicada away from both of them. The next day while Josh is at school Aden takes the Cicada from his Mums room. Unsure of what to do he takes it outside. As Josh arrives home from school the Cicada is snatched up by a bird. Josh climbs the tree to save the Cicada but when his brother slips at the top of the ladder he has no choice but to save him. Stuck in the tree their Mother comes out and begins shouting at Josh. Upon seeing Joshes face Aden begins to talk, defending his brother and startling his Mum.

While these still need work they really start to put the story into perspective, and allow us to see the bigger picture. One thing I particularly found interesting was how all the exposition in the script is immediately revealed. The plot becomes very clear and this with really help on my next pass of the script.

Script -

The second draft of the script can be found at this link. It contains quite a few revisions and should hopefully read a little tighter.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Refining Characters

Here's some refinement of what the characters are shaping up to look like!
Unfortunately I've been dragging my feet with these and I really need to start getting on with the set designs, not to mention the other characters. Hopefully things will start coming faster from here.

First Draft!

First draft of the script! not looking like much at the moment but hoping to beat it into line over the coming weeks!

I ended up using a program called "Celtx" which formatted everything for me and made writing it very easy.

The pdf of the first draft can be downloaded here.