Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What? Are You Writing a Book?

As a matter of fact, yes I am.  Sort of.  Well, I have.  I'm just waiting on the edits.  If you're wondering who the publisher will be, look no further.  I'm going to take a stab at self publishing a collection of short stories and one "novella".

This is how it happened.  About 2 years ago I started having some eye trouble.  It didn't keep me from shooting movies or shorts, but it did make it difficult and not very pleasant.  I still got some movies out, but I wasn't enjoying the process as much as I had in the past and I began to fall behind a bit.

At the same time, all of the downtime and "rest" was causing some new ideas to surface.  More than I could have gotten on film on my good days, no less during this time (My eye is much better now, by the way.  Thanks for worrying.)  So, I needed a way to get some of these ideas down.  Organized and prepared to become full blown movies when time and budget allowed.  As those who know me will tell you, once characters start to live in my head I need to let them out or they begin to scream for a life.  For many of these stories I hadn't gotten that far yet, but the situations themselves were insisting on being played out.  The scenarios would plague me until I could the words typed out on a screen and out of my head.

I decided I'd put together a book of short stories that could later serve as treatments for films.  Since these versions weren't to be actual shooting scripts I could let the thoughts of budget fly out the window and write things as I really wanted them to be.  I still kept the character rosters lean and the locations limited, if not simple, because that's just how I write. 

Right now two people are editing separate stories for me and in a month or so I hope to unleash the collection of 4 or 5 stories upon the world.  I think it will be a new look at my storytelling for some and seem very familiar to others. 

In the coming weeks I will be printing excerpts here for you to read and to give people a taste of what is to come.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stop Motion Time Savers

Sorry, gang, it's been awhile.

I fell behind on getting episodes of  Season 2 of "The Simplest Things" out because I had written two episodes with dinosaurs.  I can't make CG dinos myself and even if I could, they wouldn't fit the campy, retro comedic tone of the show.  So, I wanted to do stop motion.  I finally decided I was never going to get the block of time I needed to do the stop motion the way I wanted, so I'd have to come up with something new.

What I decided to do was this:
Shoot the T-Rex frames in front of a blue screen (can't use green because the model I was using was green)  I had done the Triceratops in front of blue on a miniature set and left the blue in as sky.  He only walked a few steps, so that was no problem.  For the T-Rex, he is running after our alien Pratt and the miniature simply wasn't large enough to give him much room to run.  I had to come up with something else.

I decided to have the dino "run in place" and move the background in post.  So, I found a background with no obvious indicators of the modern world,. blew it up to 6x its size and slowly shrunk it behind the frames of our dinosaur running.  Our live action character also ran in place in front of a green screen and was keyed in on top of everything else, so the two seem to run at the same speed.

Another time saver I used, that will look obvious once you know about it was looping the frames.   I did my best to animate only a half dozen or so frames full circle so that in a second or two the dinosaur would shake his head or throw his legs back and forth.  He is running after all. 

These techniques all saved some time, but in the end 14 seconds of running still took about 2 hours to get to the small screen.