Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is it

Well, I didn't get everything done in time. My reasoning for this is that although I am a very fast animator, I have a habit of rushing scenes under a deadline and most of it ends up looking like crap. Instead I opted for my final film to only complete each shot to the point where I was totally happy with it before moving on. This resulted in about 60 - 70% of the movie being completed, but considering it's a six minute film made by one person doing a one hundred credit point year (while my peers only did eighty), I did pretty well. Not to mention Okki the Octopus blew totally out of proportion and ended up dominating my first semester with twenty one minutes of animation to complete - fast, budget symbol-based animation as opposed to my more careful, considered, thorough approach to Wünderkind.

At the end of the day, all I could do was my best and this is it. This film may be incomplete but I'm damn proud of it. The story is perfect. Four redrafts have rendered the original script practically unreadable as this film has evolved from a flight of fancy to a considered piece of speculative fiction. I decided to take a leaf out of my hero Peter Chung's book and flick the 'V' to conventional Hollywood scriptwriting by writing a film where the protagonist is the villain, a vile maniac to be sympathised with, and though he eliminates his adversary, he is defeated, not victorious. I wish to carry this odd storytelling methodology into all my future works.

You don't mess with killer ten-foot Russian robots.

Victor, the eponymous Wünderkind, who appears as much as a villain as a victim.

Lajos Farenczy has gone between scripts from a one-shot nobody, to a weaselly scapegoat, to a valiant antagonist to the evil Kaiser.

Hatticus is technically the true villain of the piece, and yet it is never revealed whether the character truly exists. Is it an alien? An apparition? Or a mere figment of Victor's tortured imagination?

Poor Victor is so disturbed, even his imaginary friend is a predatory bully.

This scene was improved drastically by the addition of a painted background.

The credits sequence is by far my favourite part of the film. It is a bizarre send-up of patriotism; an American war chant and patriotic icon played out by German cyborgs.

The support everyone has given to me in the making of this film has been nothing short of breath-taking.

Thank you to everyone who believed in me and wanted me to succeed. I am utterly grateful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just around the corner!

When the hell did I get six followers?? That is definitely a recent development.

Anyway, I have six days to complete my final film, and it's going to be a mad rush but I am determined to finish this. I'm actually quite thankful most of the five minutes is just talking.

I decided to take a more serious version of the "Ren and Stimpy", "Spongebob Squarepants" approach, wherein an emphasis shot is in fact, a rendered painting rather than a flat-shaded cell.

Although I am still using gradients to shade the frame-by-frame/tween combo animation:

...whenever there is a static shot without lots of movement, I have taken the liberty of rendering the components in Photoshop for extra impact.

On the sound front, Kuba Komorowski has completed his part of the score, I have nearly completed mine, and David Williams has made excellent progress with the sound design. In my humble opinion, everything is sounding great.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hatticus scene and March sound

I am currently in the process of attacking the Hatticus 'spider crawl' scene and intend to have it finished by about Sunday.

In the meantime David Williams has completed the sound for the marching robots.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Vïshnegradsky!

Ow my brain hurts. I did this in one day.

Ah, the fruits of intensive labour!


The design of Vïshnegradsky has gone through a few designs now but I have settled more or less on a gorilla-like body structure with medium-sized legs and big arms.
He is a mobile weapons platform, and so stands at about eleven feet in height.

I have kept the design loose and rough for the sake of freedom, and have nailed down a look and feel in Flash that I am happy with. I intend to have this shot finished by tomorrow.

The Vïshnegradsky unit (there will be about seven or eight of them in shot) will be the force that brings down the Parliamentary Building at the end of the film.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Ahem. I should probably update.

Hit a few snags with my film but I am still intent on getting it finished in time for the screening.

This has mostly manifested itself in a complete reallocation of time and resources, i.e. rescheduling.

Objective is to have a good few 'money shots' that people will remember and link them up as best as I can with limited animation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A more refined sketch of Lajos Ferency. I'm still yet to finalise his design, but I think I'm onto something here.

Preparing myself for a bit of a 'check up' tomorrow. Unfortunately I haven't made up as much to show as I would have liked (specifically thanks to my WIL Project, see my other blog for details), but I'm making progress and I will show what I have.

The biggest piece of progress I have made is that I am now onto my fourth and definitely final draft for the script, thanks to James Lee's valuable and sharp input. James had a lot to say about my third draft, all of which I agreed with, and yet amazingly it had fallen under the radars of everyone else who had proofread it, including myself.

As soon as Okki has been dispelled, work will officially begin on The Rise Of Kaiser Fate, and I don't intend to tread lightly here. In the best case scenario I will make a good start on production before the mid-year holidays.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This is it. Draft three has been completed and it's tighter, faster and stronger than ever. Our pre production pack is a stone's throw away and so I intend to get stuck in immediately now that I have finally consolidated my story.
The film also has a new title, "The Rise of Kaiser Fate".

I made the decision today that Kuba K. should do the music for the "present" timeline set in Budapest while I will take on the musical duties for the "flashback" scenes. These will keep the segments as separated musically as they are visually which will strengthen the contrast nicely. The music for the flashbacks will be more surreal and experimental, while the Budapest scenes will be of a more epic "film score" nature.

Two more collaborators have entered the fray, Alexander Iveszics and Anherro Reich. Alex is a Hungarian and I have been discussing the script with him to strengthen the authenticity of the look and feel of Budapest, as well as accuracy with choice of names and the occasional word spoken in Hungarian, and of course, he is acting as my speech coach - I am voice acting Ferenczy Lajos, the fictional Prime Minister of Hungary that I have created for this alternative history, and I want his accent to be as authentic as possible.
Meanwhile, I have been in consultation with Anherro Reich, who is a Technical Sergeant specialising in aircraft, regarding the Kaiser's airship - the 'Genghis Khan'.
I wanted the ship to be physically possible, and so its design has gone from vague and fantastical to aerodynamically sound, theoretically possible and much more solid. The new more realistic design is a lot cooler than the airy scribblings I started out with.

Finally, I have been doing my homework and performing some research on the topography of Budapest (particularly around the Parliament Building area) and have aquired several excellent reference shots for both the inside and out of the building.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Major story developments

That's the face I pulled when I realised how long it's been since I updated my blogs.
In terms of actual production or pre production work, I have not progressed very far at all with my final film, though importantly (and this should come first anyway), I have made some absolutely major developments with my story.
First of all, the present timeline is now a focused three-act structure. There are much stronger parallels between events which are happening in the present timeline and those that happened in the past - more than simply graphic matches, these parallels are now deeper at a subtext level and give the conclusion of the present storyline (which barely existed in my previous two drafts) a much more sinister impact.
On that note, this was going to be a dark film to begin with, but draft three - by far the greatest development of the story so far - is going to be unbearably dark in nature. It shows, unflinchingly, young Victor's downward spiral into madness and his unwitting transformation into his wicked father.
The biggest change stylistically is how Hatticus Doomsbury is represented, or rather, how it is not. Now delegated to the role of 'imaginary friend' - a kind of demented parody of Drop Dead Fred - Hatticus D. is only suggested, its face never fully shown, its body phasing between shapes seamlessly, even bonelessly. It is also very pedophilic in this new draft, even more so than in the previous two scripts. Hatticus D. is a monster that preys upon the weak and defenseless Victor - a monster, as we later discover, of his own making.
Now that I have locked down the changes that I wanted and have finally secured a much more powerful ending, I am ready to complete the third (and hopefully final) draft of my script and begin solid pre-production work. Stylistically and narratively, the film is finally coming to a head.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pitched and script developments

Yesterday I gave my pitch, and people seemed pretty interested. It must have been pretty harrowing because I was nervous at the time, and as soon as I got home I slept for half a day, hence why I'm writing this at four in the morning.

Importantly, I also caught up with Charlie Strachan and we discussed my film's script. Draft 2 is currently underway and it's shorter, tighter and a lot more 'focused'. I predict the length will easily be cut in half and possibly down to one third. I still have every intention of making this film 'short but sweet' as opposed to long, drawn out, and worst of all, rushed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Second page of storyboards done

There we are. I'll save the third page for after my Thursday pitch just to give it a bit of a 'cliffhanger' feel. For the time being I am going to try and pump out a number of mockups (like the one with Hatticus and Victor on the bed) to give a clearer picture on the overall look and feel of the film.

In other news, Kuba Komorowski, a Polish musician who is a friend of mine, has had a read of the script and is already assisting me by composing some pretty impressive music. With his permission, I will be posting samples of it here once it starts reaching a more completed level.

Charlie Strachan is currently looking over the script and has promised to get a critique to me by Thursday. All is shaping up well for me to give a killer pitch.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A couple more frames

I didn't get as much done today as I probably would have liked, but I've been working pretty hard at this so far so I guess I needed a break. However, I did manage to crank out another two panels for the next page of the storyboard.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Script completed and a colour rough

I have completed version one of my script. I intend to go over it with Charlie Strachan as soon as possible (I have Television Screenplay on Monday) and get it edited down because it is currently sitting at nine pages. However, I can rest easy knowing I have put my story together.

It's... intense.

Here is a scene I've roughed up from it (again, from the Kaiser's memory) that should give you an idea of just how disturbing the film is currently looking to be.

Friday, March 6, 2009

First page of colour storyboard finished!

Just a quick update, the first page of colour storyboards is complete.

First shot of the colour layout/storyboard

Clearly I have only just begun, but it's a start. For my pitch next week, I am going to put together a few pages of the most important scenes of the film as I have imagined them in a format that combines storyboard with colour layout roughs. In this way they will be similar to a design board.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kaiser Fate

Over the holidays, I have come up with an idea for a short film called "Kaiser Fate", which draws from a rather expansive project I have been working on for quite some time.
It details the development of a mad dictator called Kaiser Fate, showing formative moments of his childhood that transformed him into the man he is today.

"Kaiser Fate" is an alternate-history science fiction piece with fantasy elements and a dark feel. It is aimed at an adult audience.

The film is a complex narrative that alternates between the present, when the Kaiser is leading the assault against a small town in Hungary, flashing back regularly to key impressions from his youth, his strongest memories tied to his ferocious behaviour in present day. The goal of the film is to show, with no more information than is needed, how a man can be made evil.
The two time-lines are stylistically divided. Both are drawn in a stylistic, semi-realistic approach, though the actual rendering of the scenes is more realistic in the present-day sequences while the flashbacks are more abstract. The flashback scenes are also compositionally exaggerated, and contain much stronger mood lighting. The visual style of the flashback scenes will be quite creative in their construction, whereas the current day time-line will draw inspiration from science fiction artwork from publications such as ImagineFX and Exposé. These will be the triggers for inspiration regarding rendering, lighting and composition in the "real world" scenes.

"Kaiser Fate" contains three major characters, Kaiser Fate himself, his father, Kaiser Fé Tournier, and Hatticus Doomsbury. Kaiser Fé Tournier only appears in the past sequences, while Kaiser Fate and Hatticus Doomsbury change looks and forms as they age.

By next week, I intend to have a rudimentary pre-production pack put together for display in my five minute pitch to be given on the 12th of March.