This morning we had a lecture with Helen Brunsdon on Pitching. I don't think a lot of the student in third year know how lucky we are to have her and some don't even know her name. They will soon. She is a very sought after producer and a brilliant contact to have in the animation industry so I just hope I can impress her enough to work with her in the future. Today she gave us an overview of Do's and Dont's when pitching. She did sort of bring up some of the stuff I heard at the Producing Animation Course but it was a dumbed down version because students don't need to hear about pitching to investors and co-production partners. For me it was sort of revision but I still needed to hear it and to practice. Below is a snippet of some of what she said:
- keep it short and sweet
- learn about breathing exercises
- dress smart. wear a suit
- use cue cards to ensure you those key points. highlight key words
- practice pacing and timing
- identify tough questions. Answer visually not verbally. (see "Questions To Answer" below)
- Elements; intro, title/ fomat, characters, world, story, visual style, outro. All in 5 minutes. Easy.
- don't put test on the screen. if you must use as little as possible. keep it visual.
- don't bling with science: avoid talking about the science/ tech behind the work.
- dont' argue question the judging panne. Accept what they say and move on.
- don't change the speech at the last minute
- tell them what series is about but don't tell them what happens
- know the timing of your pitch in the short tie you have, plan the timing of the slide change
- Premise: one to two sentences
- Characters: main, supporting, villains
- Locations/ Sets: establish world, whats in it and the rules
- only show artwork that reflects visual style
- pick iconic words to describe personality. Do not describe what we see.
I want to get something nice printed to show hand it for the pitch document deadline. I know I can use my design skills to have something that looks professional but I will need a lot of illustration work to go in it, preferably CGI 3D renders, but I know I will not have those in time.
Questions to answer:
Why will this series be popular? (viz style, music, culturally relevant)
What is the USP?
what is the overarching emotional journey of the character? what do they learn?
Story/ Script Feedback Sessions:
I sent out my script the the lecturers and this is what they had to say, these not direct quotes but what i was able to pull from their feedback. You will get the idea of what they were trying to say. If you have not read the script you can see it here. It is very interesting to see how their opinions of story differ, it is basically left you to you as to which direction you go.
- script was well written and felt very cinematic but needs work...
- Up the ante. Whats is at steak is not enough for us to care so needs to be pushed. A cookie will not cut it how about its her dad's birthday part and there is a table full of cake, jelly and treats that she cannot touch. They could hide behind the cake that is the same shape as her head.
- Establish the cleanliness of the house so when we see it messy it means more.
- A parent would never leave their child at home at that young age. Why would we believe they would. Give them a reason to leave the house for just long enough and have them leave a note.
- keep the game of hide and seek as this helps to build/ establish her relationship with the shadow.
- keep the thunderstorm but use it creatively cinematically lighting, interesting shadows, heightens threat and is nice contrast to birthday.
- ending left satisfying but
- resolve unfinished set pieces; hide and seek, cookies, ect.
- use a formula. Every episodes ends with her in troubles.
- find and trace the original influence of shadow idea. Work from that.
- look into stories from my childhood. How would little Omari handle that situation?
- what aspect of the girl does the shadow represent?
- Parents would never leave kid at home maybe they are upstairs sleeping.
- Watch: Tom & Jerry; look at the antics, slap-sttic and physical comedy.
- establish and keep figure of authority such as the mother. Children are sue to figures of authority that they aspire to escape. Thats will make it relatable.
- Push shadows antics into the outrageous Why can't he just pick up the safa and the television and start juggling while she tries to stop him. Don't limit yourself and the world of what shadow could do.
- Use physical comedy; kids like it when characters get platted or trips, slips and bumps.
- Shadow should not be aware of rules, boundaries and barriers of the world like the girl is.
- Watch: Aladin; The Genie of the Lamp breaks the rules of physics constantly for comical appeal.
- Watch: ET The Extraterrestrial;
- Watch: Charlie & Lola;
- the end of the story had no real consequence. how would parents react?
- at the end the shadow must realise that what he has done is bad
- they could try to clean up and fix all the bad things before parents see
- write a beat sheet on post it notes outlining the story
- consider adopting formula; has control >> looses control >> gai control again. Each story should have a morale that she tries to teach ehr shadow but shadow never learns because it is in his nature.
- Pitch it as a short film. Mention series potential in pitch documents; other episodes, characters.
- Episode Ideas: Grandma comes round. Trip to the supermarket.
What Have We Learnt & What I Take Away:
Formulaic is your friend; Every episode starts with something she is not supposed. Climaxed with that very same thing actually happening. Resulting in her being smart enough to solve fix everything and keep shadow a secret at the same time. Im feeling good about this project. I think i will have solid scrips before the end of next week with only tiny changes. I also want to establish rules of the world and the shadows like in Gremlins when
Little Loud Production Meeting:
I arranged a production meeting for the Little Loud core team today. In the meting only Phoebe Kylie, Jamie and Ryan tuned up. I introduced them to each other and was able to delegate a few talks and I them an idea of what I wanted. Unfortunately I left my notes at home and was unable to recollect everything I was supposed to bring up. I started by introducing the team, defining the role, understanding what they wanted from the project as an individual. I am going to get them all a script by late tonight or early tomorrow for them to start building a sound library from and thinking about instruments Below will give you an idea of where we go from here. We are going to keep this core production team meeting to once a week. I also need to arrange the next meeting date during future meetings
Plan Of Action:
Watch: Day & Night (music, 2D animation style)
Watch: UPA Gerald McBoing Boing (music & animation style)
Watch: Coraline (music)
Ryan Jones (Music Composer) & Jamie Romp (Sound FX Designer):
Please think about the sound of shadows transitions, instruments.
Kylie Burrell & Phoebe Herring:
send mood board, character profile sheets as PDF
Luke Ridgeway was nice enough to send me a link to Tim Noble & Sue Webster's Shadow Sculptures. After scouring various creative blogs I was able to find other gems such as Alex Benij's website and Shadow photography here, , Kumi Yamashita's Shadow Portraits and Predatory Bird's Vimeo video Shadows to Life. Brillint creative work with shadows.
To Do Tonight:
re write script
character mood board
(upload al of the above to dropbox)
toles for team:
phebes to work up kitchen environment
Amber Hyde also offered her services. I have asked her to practice the following; multipass compositing in NukeX, look at creative title sequence involving shadows and kids TV, edit for our animatic/ previz dailies.