These are a few simple points that we could use to question ourselves to see if we’re on the right path.
- Know your ending, your punchline.
- Make me care.
- Don’t give the audience 4, give them 2+2. The unifying theory of 2+2.
- Every character is driven by an itch that they need to scratch, the spine of their character that drives them. It doesn’t always drive them to make the correct decisions.
- Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.
- Have you constructed uncertainty? Have you made me want to know what will happen next?
- A strong theme is always running through a well told story e.g. identity in Lawrence of Arabia.
- Can you create wonder in your audience?
Out of all the animated shorts that I’ve seen on YouTube, story is definitely the biggest let down. We (the team) seem to share a liking of shorts that quickly show character and conflict. This seems obvious, but so many shorts very quickly loose engagement through poor storytelling. The artistic, visual appeal of the short can also influence whether we like a short or not but this is because we tend to watch the start longer if it’s ‘pretty’ and often the story will be present already in the mood and atmosphere if the art direction is strong.
Season 01, episodes 01 – 10 of Writing Excuses so far has made some useful points on making original ideas, cutting what doesn’t work, beginnings, heroes, protagonists, villains, and pacing.
Episodes 01 – 10 notes:
Character Trees (2015) RocketJump Film School
The following description prompts, starting from the feet up, could be a useful way for us to build a picture of our characters. The exercise is meant to help you figure out the psychology of your character which will impact what decisions the character makes within the story. The example below is from Video Game Highschool.
The following is FILM CRIT HULK’s outline of each part of the tree:
- Who is your main character?
- What do they want?
- What’s in their way?
- How do they overcome it?
- Where does it take place?
Write down the surface details, e.g. profession, and personality details of your main character. Combine the key character descriptors, those that will drive the narrative, with the setting and conflict to make a 1 – 2 sentence logline.
Animation Development David B. Levy
This book is a great introduction to the process of creating a pitch bible and the process of pitching to and working with development executives and networks. Two main emphases have been made so far in order for a pitch to be successful:
- Demonstrate your industry experience as proof of your ability to put a team together to drive your ideas onto the screen.
- Demonstrate the strength of your ideas with unique characters that drive stories specific to how they react to the world and conflict you put them in (the pitch bible).
I’m aware that my industry experience is relatively small at the moment, with only placement year behind me, but I’ve often read that ‘projects are the new portfolios’. Hopefully by working hard in final year, we can create an outcome which will be proof of our abilities with teamwork, storytelling and production.
Audiobook Notes Chapters 01 – 03:
In week 07 of Designing with Color and Light, my biggest take-away was the power of contrast when telling a story within a frame. Contrast in the wrong places will draw the eye away from the flow of the story. This could be contrast in value structure which is designed with local values, the effects of atmospheric perspective and placement of light and shadow. Also consider edge softness and depth of field. Fowkes also talks about creating more interesting greys.