Friday, May 23, 2008

Set Research - House Features

Some great pics I found a book called "The Australian House" by Balwant Saini and Ray Joyce. These really capture the look and feel of what I want to achieve with the set design of the house!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Actors Workshop

Today we had a workshop with talented actors Petra and Travis. It was really valuable getting their input as they came to the script with a very character driven point of view. Being naive about all that is acting related this was exactly what I needed to better understand and write the characters.

However now with one and half pages of notes the script once again needs to be tamed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Understanding Colour Scripts

Colour scripts are very cool, they're basically a storyboard for each scene depicting the mood and tone of the scene through colour. Attached is an example by Lorelay Bove (, it's for the fairy tale 'Hansel and Gretel'. You can see the progression of colour throughout, as they get lost in the woods, they find the witches house, they face catastrophe as she tries to cook them in her oven, and then them finding their way home to their mother. This informs the film on how to look and what colours to use when the sets are made and scenes are lighted. This is something that I will be working on this week!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rough Set Sketches

Getting the idea of where things will go and how they'll be laid out. To get the finer details more research is being undertaken.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mum Character Design

Here's the design for the Mum. It's a little rough but it's something I really need to get a move on with to keep on schedule. Modeled characters and set designs to come!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Forth Draft!

Up to the forth draft! I'm happy with how things are coming along. In this draft more attention is paid to the mother and her grief. I'm planning to do a bit of a run through with some actors in the next week to see how this writing will translate into actions and dialog. I want to keep pushing this so that I can really get to the heart of the characters. Another pet peeve of mine is cliche's, and there are a few that stand out. Even some of just the minor actions the characters take, it's something that will require more thought from me.

Download the forth draft here!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Character Breakdowns

Josh is an 8 year old boy with a fascination with cicadas. He's quiet and sensitive and appears selfish on the surface, but underneath hides true feelings. He rejects advances for friendship from his brother Aden in favour of isolation. He pretends not to care that Aden gets more attention from his Mum but buries these feelings of resentment in his anti-social behavior. Josh confides his emotions in his interest with cicadas, creating a shell around himself that separates him from his family.

Aden is a 3 year old boy that refuses to speak. He is adventurous, playful, possessive and sensitive. He yearns for his older brothers friendship and rejects efforts by his Mum to make him talk. The reason why he doesn't talk is a mystery, however it may have something to do with the absence of his father. Aden adores his panda bear doll as it is the closest thing he has to a best friend.

The Mum is in her early thirties and is consumed with insecurities over her youngest son Adens refusal to speak. She's a little unsure of herself at times but is strong, warm and compassionate. She directs most of her attention to Aden, due to his late speech development however still cares deeply for Josh, her oldest son. She is worn out from day to day activity and this results in her having a low tolerance for misbehavior. The Mum yearns for security and will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Father and Daughter

Father and Daughter is a short animation about, you guessed it, a father and a daughter. The reason I'm posting it is because it portrays a very sweet story without the use of dialog. It also won an Oscar in 2000.

Mum Character Sketches

Some sketches of the look of the Mum so far, also some research below.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Third Draft

Here's the third draft of the script. I feel that I'm making progress but I'm not convinced it's clicking 100% at the moment. A few of the characters actions/reactions stand out and there's still some smaller details to be added.

Anyway, it can be downloaded here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Director's Statement

Might need a little refining but here are my thoughts on the project.

Director's Statement

Cicada is about an 8 year old boy, Josh who isolates himself from his family and turns to his fascination with cicadas for fulfillment. The story also features Josh's brother Aden, who is only 3 years old and refuses to speak. When Josh discovers a wounded cicada he decides to take care of it, however problems arise when Aden sees that it is coming between them. When Josh is faced with rising conflict he must choose between the familiar comfort he finds in solitude and the warmth of his family.

I was originally drawn to this story because of the relationships it touches on. The bond between brothers and the mother to son relationship. The ways in which people treat each other because they love them, and how these relationships can be so strong yet at the same time so fragile. As an offshoot from this main idea I wanted to look at isolation as a type on insulation from these relationships. The way people can close themselves off to avoid feeling and interaction. This is personified through Josh who, as a fairly sensitive character, represents the idea of isolation as a form of emotional comfort.

As this will be an animation I have a lot of creative freedom in the visual style that I create. I'm wanting to create a world that is very illustrative, that incorporates vivid colours and striking shapes, that could possibly resemble a picture story book. However I don't want to stray too far from reality as I feel that it may trivialize some of the story's content. The colours will be quite warm, drawing inspiration from an afternoon sun covering a suburban landscape with a soft glow. However the colours will vary as they will play an important role in communicating the tone of the scene. I plan to be fairly conventional with my framing and editing on this animation as I feel that anything else would just distract the viewer from the story.

In terms of influence and inspiration for this animation I've tried to keep myself fairly limited. While I'm aware that I'm no doubt subconsciously influenced by a myriad of films and other forms of art, I'm not actively trying to inject anything into my work. That said the Pixar films have always been a huge inspiration to me, not only for their gorgeous imagery and animation but the stories that they craft. Something I want to achieve in this animation is conflict. What I mean by this is that I want the characters in the story to clash. The last thing I want to do is have a bunch of scenes that are just exposition, that would be boring.

The crew on this project is pretty small but are going to play a pivotal role in its success. Jack Haycox is producing the short and his experience in dealing with actors and other external factors will be invaluable throughout the process. Pete Giannoukas is covering all things sound related and I will be collaborating with him closely to create sound design that will help immerse the audience in the story. Right now the use of music is still very much in the air, mainly for fear of over saturation. I don't want the music to inform people of how they should feel, I want the actions that the characters take to evoke emotion.

I'm excited to be working on this project and look forward to seeing how it grows and evolves over the coming months.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Writing sound into the script

I stumbled across a great video when I opened up 'Celtx', my script editing software, it talks about the importance of sound and how it should be written into the script and into the actions. There's also a small collection of other videos that talk about acting, script form and images and feature interviews with actors, sound designers and other professionals.

More Animation Practice

Here's my April entry for the 11 Second Club!.

11 Second Club - April Entry from Pete on Vimeo.

Some of the movement is a little bouncy and some of it could probably be simplified but I think it's an improvement on my last entry =)