Monday, 1 October 2012

Summer 2012 & Back to Uni

Literally on the Monday after we were dismissed from university at the end of 2nd year I began a two week placement at Spider Eye Animation LTD in Penzance, Cornwall. I was Assistant Production Co-Ordinator/ Animator shadowing Charlotte Wadsworth for two weeks. Its was really good and I got to animate several key shots on Castaway Cove which the pitched at Cartoon Forum in mid September. It was a really good opportunity.

Over the summer I have been putting a lof thought into my final major project. More so than my dissertation unfortunately. I knew I wanted to pitch an animated series instead of a film start of the bat so i went through some of the sold story notes I had on my laptop and two came to mind. The first was Light-Speed Champion and the second was called Little Loud. I decided to go with the first but soon realised it was getting away from me. But not before I had recruited a sound FX designer, composer, and tried to pull together a pre-production team who even began making artwork.

The change came about 2 weeks ago when I went to the Bristol Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival. I was able to do the The Creative Business of Producing Animation Course under Hellen Brunsdon. The course was only intended for industry professionals but through persistence and some luck on part of knowing Hellen Brunson through Andy Wyatt, my course leader, I was able to volunteer" and sit in on the entire event. It was brilliant I was so grateful to have got it and I learnt a lot. We had lectures from and had the chance to meet...

Alan Dewhurst; Producer of 'Peter & The Wolf' (great guy we had a good chat over some red wide)
Julie Lockheart; Producer of Aardman's 'Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists'
Ken Anderson; CEO of August Media Holdings (this man's track record is something to aspire to)
Melanie Coombs; Producer of 'Mary & Max' (she even offered to mentor me.)
Sam Fell; Director of
Fraser McLean; writer of the book 'Setting The Scene' (I swear we were talking about life for like the best part of an hour and he should my hand vigorously with a huge smile when I said I wanted to be a producer.)

Advice for networking from:
1) Always have a 2nd thing to say.
Melanie Coombs told me that and to be honest its easy to forget. Its an awkward when students approach (especially animation students sorry to say that) because they often come across quite unconfident

2) Be able to talk about other subjects than animation when necessary. 
I know what you're thinking its a given that your conversation with drift in and out of animation but once I was done with animation I found myself gradually moving off the subject talking about things such as film, politics, Nasa, Kony 2012, ect. Random I know. But when it comes to it these moments were key in building those relationships (, getting business cards) and maintaining them.

3) Dont ask for a job (strait away)
Hard for student to resist when standing in front of producers. I was having a chat with Charlotte Wandsworth, Assistant Producer at Spider Eye Animation LTD, and she was telling me as soon as student realise she is a producer they ask her for a job immediately. They should get to know then instead.

4) Make them remember you (for the right reasons). 
If I am being honest I think I left a good impression with everyone I met.

Being able to catch up with some old friends such a Neil Richards from Digital Film Company and Will Harding (Senior Model Maker for Aardman's Pirates)
attend the rest of the festival already knowing several producers gave me a bit more confidence when working the room. (I think I actually really enjoy networking too. I found myself quite easily able to circle the room and approach people.

More to the point when industry professionals realised I was a student they all asked what my idea was so it gave me a good opportunity to practice my pitch. I made the decision when I could not easily narrow down Light Speed Champion to one sentence. However when I mentioned Little Loud I was able to sum it up easilty... "Oh its about a good little girl with a big bad shadow..." which was sually met with eaither smile and nice comment or a blank face meaning I needed to elaborate further.  That was the best pitching practice I could have. Thats why I chose Little Loud over Light-Speed Champion.

I think I have potential to be an animation producer but I have been warned about how hard it is. What I want now more than anything else is an opportunity to show what i know and I guess my final major project is that. What Georg said in the lecture this morning about how little time we had came as a shock but I think he is just trying to scare us into working faster and I don't blame him.

Right then about Little Loud.

Title: Little Loud: The Animated Series
Tagline: "Good Girl. Bad Shadow."
Synopsis: The series follows a trio of kids on their misadventures into supernatural mysteries in their small town.
Pilot: 3-5mins, CGI, (Stereoscopic 3D)
Plot: She is your average eccentric 10 year old girl. But she has a secret... her shadow is a living, breathing rage monster forever getting her into trouble. She must summon all her courage to find her true shadow while keeping the shadow monster at bay and all before bedtime.
Audience: 8-12 yrs
Deadline: May 15th 2013 (course deadline)
Length/ Quantity: 22mins x 52 episodes

Questions I still need to answer:
what is the story? (I have the middle and the end I just need to work out how they connect)
what does each character want? What can't they have it?
What do the girl and her shadow have in common?
What aspects of her personality does her shadow represent? (how can we convey this in design)
What other characters are there?

My Role as Producer:
weekly production schedule*
monthly production schedule*
Pre-production schedule*
Prod-production schedule*
Post-production schedule*
Organising dailies (these should be in the schedule)*
shot sign off sheet
contact details database
roles & assignments
file naming conventions & CMD line render template
asses management (dropbox, daily DVD(x2) backup, weekly google drive overwrite backup.)
one-to-one feedback sessions (to have personal chats with team to ensure the dynamics are working)

Everything with an asterix (*) next to it is only a draft as until we have story boarded it is difficult for me to finalise these things.

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