November 25th, 2009

Ann Vole

Enchanted, Heaven, badger, badger, badger

There are a few movies and TV shows mixing animated characters and live action characters but the movie "Enchanted" seems to have one aspect that is unique; all the characters are one way or the other (animated or live action) based on the world they are in. It does not matter which world they are born in, they match the world they are currently in. The only exception was Pip's ability to "tip the scales" (rather a "cartoon logic" thing) in both worlds.

I figure Heaven will be like that... a different dimensions so-to-speak with different physical laws and we will have different bodies to match. Some people object to that idea because they feel (rightly based on quite a number of verses) that our physical bodies are reserected when we go to the afterlife. The idea that our reserected bodies match the logic and physics of what ever world the person is in allows me to believe in a physical reserection because I feel the physics and logic do change in heaven but also angels can show up on earth as normal humans.

A funny thing I just noticed in "Enchanted"; the animal lineup handing possible lips for the prince-maniquin to Giselle ended with a badger and the next item the badger would have been holding (before the cut of that shot) would have been a red-with-white-spots mushroom. I figure that was a nod to the "Badger, Badger, Badger" Flash animation (internet meme).
Ann Vole

Write lines or draw them?

I bought several used DVDs at a place near the cheap theater ("second run" movies that recently quit showing at the other theaters) with a sale on: 6 DVDs for $20 including tax. Because I only wanted 4 particular movies, I grabbed two that had me curious, one of which was "Ace Ventura Jr". It was a fun movie if you remember the original "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" movie but otherwise a poor movie based on my "gut reaction". I could not see anything specifically wrong though, just lack of ... something. On the DVD extras were several "extended scenes". Watching those, I saw even more of this missing something. I found all th
e stuff funny and entertaining and even well acted and directed so the problem is what the contained rather then what they forgot. My conclusion is that there is too much writing... too much witty statememts, too much great story arcs, too much fun dialog... the problem is not the quality of the content but rather having too much content, the quantity.

I took three script writing courses (two by people who wrote scripts of Oscar-winning movies... but neither won "best writer" -hehe- but big-time movies) and they all said to only write dialog and leave the movie making (actions, camera angles, emotional cues) to the directors and actors. The third script writing course included hands-on directing of your own script. At the time, I was intent on making a half-hour movie based on a children's book "Robinson Rabbit, What Do You Hear?" with an important scene that was not in the book (but still true to the book). I chose to do that scene for my director part of that course. The 5-minute scene had only three words of dialog and I wanted it to be said by an off-screen character. This meant 5 minutes of script writing with no dialog. I must have been a bit crazy to do this as well being that the main character was a rabbit who was ashamed of his big ears... produced by professional actors, lighting crew, camera people (shot on broadcast-quality video). The set designer made the ears and the actor did a wonderful job but... he was used to memorizing dialog rather then my pages and pages of actions and emotional cues and camera angle suggestions. I realized then and there that I was truly an animator at heart and should have story-boarded the scene. My goals have changed in terms of what sort of movies I want to do... realistic animal acting stuff rather then cartoon characters (even if the animals are completely computer generated characters). What I need to perfect is my story-board skills rather then script writing.

The key difference between script writing and story-boarding is that of jobs two of the most important people on a film, the DOP (Director of Photography) and the editor. A good script should be free of any cues for those jobs but story-boards are almost purely the work of DOPs and editors. Script writers expand a film with content but DOPs shrink films by using "film language" to convey ideas and emotions in parts of a second without anything being said and obviously an editors job is usually to make a fim shorter (but that is not the real job of the editor). Script writers do not deal with time (although a well writen script will generally have a certain page-to-film-time rate) but DOPs and editors key jobs are to manipulate the audience's sense of time and pacing. Animators and musicians -and good storyboard artists- deal with movement, syncronous micro-second timing, and emotions.

The animator, the mucician, and the story-board artist in me are all saying to start drawing storyboards.

I fell asleep while writing this and was puzzled that it was dark outside in the middle of the day. I finished the post and before sending it, had another dream that happened in a movie set... the lights are only on the scene outside of a window if the camera will see out that window.