Today we had a tutorial with both Ian Weir and Owen Stickler to show our initial ideas as a group so far.
We took in our idea and story board that we had been working on to present to the tutors, including our moodboards and newly developed storyboard and script. Over the last week, on top of our plans to work on a rough storyboard made up of thumbnail images in order to help us visualise the film piece, I have typed up a script to go alongside it to help us visualise it in even more detail. Personally, I find that having both really helps me to picture the overall outcome of the piece without actually having created it – almost like how a prototype would be helpful in this way too.
Due to the fact that, in the 30-second clip that S4C desire, there would be talking over the top of the moving image, we decided to make the piece completely mute of speech and would instead use only the facial expressions and body language of the animated characters to get across what was being said in the narrative. An incredible example of a film using facial expressions and body language alone, to tell a story, is Disney Pixar’s short film, Paperman – we watched and looked at this piece of amazing animation which really inspired us for our own. Although we are not using speech, we agreed that we could get words across through the use of typography if needed (for example, the scene could be set by zooming in on an office door with a sign or placard on the front reading, “Psychiatrist”).
Since creating the moodboard, we have edited the original narrative slightly. We were very aware of there being a fine line when using humour between it being funny, and taking it too far – the last thing we want is for viewers to feel as if the short film is ‘making fun’ of Welsh people. One of our original ideas was to have a grown Welshman standing in the Psych’s office wearing a traditional Welsh girl’s costume, and although hopefully most viewers would find this funny, the odd few may actually take offence by this and see it as ‘poking fun’ at them. We took out every idea that could have possibly come across in the wrong way, and decided on a new concept. This was simply that, the Psychiatrist would pull out a set of flipcards with different scrambled images on them and flick through them expecting the patient to ‘say what he saw’. The patient would begin to announce different Welsh items that he believes he is seeing within the ‘scrambles’, such as: a dragon, a daffodil, a rugby ball, welsh cakes, a leek, etc. The images would of course look nothing like what the patient is seeing and this would thus lead to the Psychiatrist coming to the conclusion that there is in fact, nothing wrong with the patient, and that it is purely because it is St David’s day and he is Welsh. This, in the animation, would be a prime example of where we would have to deliberately avoid using speech – we will instead show the patient declaring what he sees on the flipcards, using thought bubbles alone.
As we have decided to use animation, rather than photographic film, we have immediately made more work for ourselves as hand-drawn animation is a time consuming process. We will keep the story and animation as simple as possible, while still to a good standard, in order to avoid running out of time – we are also planning on beginning to create the animation as soon as possible in order to get a head start to make sure that we finish the project on time. We are meeting tomorrow to draw up a detailed frame-by-frame storyboard so that we can then jump into animating the piece.