Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I drew the wide field, and the far trees, and photoshopped them all together with the big tree. So, this is more or less the first shot of the film.
Here's a variation to illustrate what I mean. Try to ignore the nasty colour banding in the sky - these are just sketches.
Scene 1

This is how i'm picturing the opening shot - I haven't decided on the moonlight colour scheme yet though, just an idea. I plan to play quite freely with the framing and aspect ratio in this film; i.e. not all shots will be panoramic - probably just this one. I also plan to section off the frame now and again, sort of like a Japanese screen. In fact, 'Japanese woodcut print meets Japanese screen' is sort of the aesthetic i'm going for.

I've finished an element aleady - it's a tree! The colors and photoshopping aren't final, but this is more or less the aesthetic i'm planning.
Another little study.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's this? What am I doing now? Well, for a little while now, i've been toying with the idea of taking the current project and turning it into a 2D After Effects layers + pixelation type film. There are many good reasons for doing it this way, not the least of which is that I can do everything myself, which would be a decided advantage as has recently become apparent. To this end, i've been messing around with .jpeg frame compilers, photoshop, pixelation, etc. The above study is from two quick sketches which were photographed and photoshopped. Seems quite a speedy way to create images.

This would mean tossing out my existing set-design work, but who cares. I'm excited by the idea of not having to rely on anyone but myself to move forward.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The set has now been thoroughly designed, down to a shopping list of building materials. Now, I just have to build it. However, access to the studio may be limited for a week, so I may mock up another set before I start the sawing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Here is the resulting set design, the drawing i'll actually take to the studio. All the little lines and scratchy notes are me figuring out the various camera angles, and the set adjustments resulting from camera location - i.e. I can't have a bunch of trees where the camera needs to be.

See - it didn't take many trees at all to fill the space. After finishing the mockup, I spray-painted all the objects to mark their location. I'll then be scaling the resulting 'drawing' down to about 14x11, which will be the final set design that i'll take to the shop. One catch with this whole process is that my mockup camera has a narrower field of view than Dave's camera, which is 64 degrees. However, I have taken this into account, because I am so goddamn smart.

I mocked up the interior woods set with paper, tape, card, etc. As usual, it's quite enlightening - I learned quite a bit about how dense the trees should be, how wide the road should be, how high the bushes should be, etc. It's apparent that it's actually going to take very little to fill the field of view, and it's likely going to be quite easy to fill in the spaces with digital crap.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Mask of the Red Death <#1298>

Dear Andrew Brown,

Thank you for submitting your film to Ouat Media Distribution, we are currently considering it for acquisition.
Please expect a response within 6 to 8 weeks.
We appreciate your consideration and support of Ouat Media Distribution.
Thanks again for your patience and we will contact you with our decision soon.


Ouat Media Distribution

I received this email recently. Which is funny, because i've never heard of these people and I certainly didn't submit our film(s) to them.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just another little study of how I envision the woods. Maybe a little less foggy, though.


So here's the challenge; our 'INTERIOR FOREST EVENING' set would look like this and would be about this large on 1:12 scale, i.e. too big (12' +). It could be done, but that kind of size would be a little excessive. The trouble is, how to represent the farther-away forest in a way besides simply building it to scale (see close-up image - it's the parts furthest away from the camera cone that i'm talking about). We could simply drop in a flat image with a bluescreen, but we track forward throughout these shots, so that may not fly.

So, i'm not sure what to do. However, my experience has been that it's remarkable to what degress you can b.s. a shot; i.e. we could just stick a couple of modular pieces back there to fill the space as need be, and the viewer probably wouldn't notice and continuity errors. But, shit, i'm not sure.

As usual, the proper step is going to be busting out the ol' camera and mocking up the set with cardboard. It's difficult to visualize the extreme distortion of a camera lens until you see it.

Here's some new storyboards - i've got pretty much the whole story thumbnailed out. but i've got the first 2/3 drawn in fancier version, right up until the point when the protagonist meets the jive-talking ape that teaches him the meaning of Christmas, and shows him how to slam-dunk.

Here's another highly-technical drawing.

The real work of a project like this, I find, usually looks like this - not fancy drawings with fancy-pants fancy markers, but little nasty scribbles. Everything else is just polishing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Here's the entrance to the woods!!! Oh boy!!
Here's a little map of the forest and some 64 degree camera angles. Boogaloo!

This is a little map of the forest path, specifically the left-hand fork of the road. This part of the trail will be a bit more overgrown/congested, the action will be faster, and the shots will be framed a bit tighter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Here's a little study I did of the dude and his kid. I guess he'll look vaguely like this; non-contemporary clothing, but not dated to any specific era - all natural materials like leather.


I've finished designing the first set - not too much to this one. Just the road seen on the opening shot, and the fields on either shot; see storyboard and marked area. I did a little sketch to determine how i'll approach constructing the basic structure, using standard sized building materials. The red lines illustrate a 64 degree angle of view, i.e. the angle of view of the lens of our camera. Hopefully i'll be able to bang this thing off in fairly short order.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Here's another little sketch I did. For the film.

Friday, November 03, 2006

S t o r y b o a r d s

Here are the storyboards for the first part, justbefore he gets into the woods where the marker is. Notice that the man looks exactly the same in every drawing; this is because I am number one awesome drawer guy.
'The Place"

Here's a big wide, partly aerial shot of the field, sort of like the view you'd have if you were wearing stilts or high heels. The perspective is a bit screwed and it doesn't have quite the layout i'd like, but i'm going to feed it through the ol' photoshop. Working digitally sure is handy - I have a lot more patience working with photoshop than scribbling with Pantone markers.

' T h e P l a c e'

As mentioned in a previous post, we've substituted the cedar grove of the original story for a big, ominous field with the remains of some sort of structure(s) in it. The little sketch shows the view of our main character when he comes upon this place. The map shows the scale, and the (rough) camera angle. Obviously we don't intend to build a set this large; we'll be using digital smoke and mirrors.

Here's an idea of what i'm visualizing for the opening scene - an abandoned road leading to a grove/forest.

Try to ignore the crappy Photoshop job.

I've been doing lots of thinkin' and sketchin' and head-scratchin', developing our approach to this story. Here's what i've come up with.

I've replaced the path through the rice paddies with an overgrown abandoned road, that leads to an ominous-looking forest/grove of trees.

I've replaced the grove of cedar trees, where the murder took place 'one hundred years ago' with a wide field, in which are seen the remains of a complex of buildings, weathered done to little more that outlines on the grass. The implication is that the 'murder' was tied to some sort of larger historical or political event.

I've done concept sketches illustrating these ideas - i'll post some of them as soon as I can get access to a scanner.
The Story

It looks certain that we are going with this story; it's short, has only one armature, and is choke-full of landscape/digital composite goodies.

Here's a summary of the story (posted in full in the previous post):

Guy has a dream.

He's carrying a blind kid on his back along a road.

Kid acts all creepy like he knows something.

They come to a crossroads. Kid says 'go left'.

They come to a grove of cedar trees.

The kid says, 'this is where you murdered me one hundred years ago'. The end.
html hit counter
Locations of visitors to this page