4. Design and References

I’m quite happy with last week progress, I finished editing the first half of the animatic. It’s already 6min30. I will probably need to cut it down a bit. I am planing to have a full animatic by wednesday night.

I edited with a lot of attention to sound. I think sound is a really good way of getting the film rhythm going, not only for the audience, but for future animation.

Let’s say the character crosses the screen walking. I only drew two poses. To time how many seconds each picture should be on-screen would require quite a complex mix of stop watch and imagination. On the other hand, if I find a sound (or record it) that matches the right speed of the guy walking, then all I need to choose is the amount of steps. I can just stick the two pictures on that timing, giving a greater impression of a guy walking. You can see what I mean in last week post, with the match or the drinking, the sound plays the biggest part in timing and understanding.

I’m using http://www.freesound.org/ the amount of sounds available is incredible! It’s also the first result in google…

I don’t want to spoil the final film by showing to much of the plot so I won’t post the whole animatic. You will be able to access it when you buy the book. But I want people to choose the amount of Work In Progress they see.

I thought a bit of Design and References would help getting in the film’s mood, plus there is some great short film in there, which can be very useful on a Monday morning .

You can see them Here if the window below doesn’t work.

You need to click the full screen button to be able to access the video references.


3. First Shots

Week two is finished and I am already late on the planing!

Mainly due to the excitement of receiving, signing, packing and posting the books. Greatly due to the promotion tour of the book which involved a lot of celebration beers!

Never the less I’ve changed my approche to the animatic. I was originally going to draw one drawing per shot, edit and then, later, add extra drawings to make actions clearer. I don’t think it would have worked. Instead I’ve drawn all the key action from the begining.  I have storyboarded a bit more than half the film.

I did that in order to edit only once and to not have to spend an entire week on the computer. I will share the day between computer (scanning cleaning of  the storyboard, after effect “Animation” and editing) and hand drawing.

I’ve edited a small sequence to give you an idea of what I am aiming for. Music is a cover of soft cell’s Tainted Love by Ben Franklin JR, who will be the voice of the main character, Jimmy.

Watch On Vimeo

2. Shots ContactSheet

Big day today! I received the books! It took me a while to make them, I’m really relived as they turned out AWESOME, a bit more info here: BUY A BOOK.

So here is what I’ve done last week, I cut the whole film into sequences and shots. Then I drew thumbnails  so they could be quickly defined. Those thumbnails are purely technical helps, and certainly not piece of art! You can judge by your self:


Contact Sheet, All the shots. 

The next step will be to work on the composition and feeling of each shot. I also need to start selecting sounds and songs for the animatic. Record some as well. 

This way by next monday I should have a first draft of the animatic. 

A Few words on how I worked:

I have been using free and cloud based tools. This way data is safe and accessible from everywhere.

So far I used Google Docs to creat spreadsheets for the over all organisation of shots and sequences.

I used DropBox to edit thumbnails and drawings everywhere.

And the big one is CELTX, which I highly recommend. It’s FREE and makes your script available on every  device. The script corrections are so easy to do, you can move scenes around, colour code them, and the whole formating is completely automatique. Once you’re happy with the script, you can turn it into a storyboard in one click. After that, You just need to load the thumbnails. You can even play it. It gives you a very badly edited animatic, but it’s incredibly useful to check framings extremely quickly!

One last thing I’d like to mention is the shot/sequence organisation.

Since I don’t have an edit yet, I needed a reliable naming convention for scene and shots. I decided to gather shots by location (i.e. Ranch) and call that a sequence, giving it two letters (RA for Ranch). After that each shot has a number as follows: 01_00. This allow me to add new shot numbers really easily, without renaming other shots. (i.e: RA_01_01). This naming convention makes the shots not tight to the scene numbers in the script or in the edit, meaning more flexibility.

1. Day one, Week zero

Ok this is it. Today starts the making of Deadman’s Reach, my short film.

Where do I start? How to not Procrastinate?

I have six month to direct and animate a 13 pages scenario I wrote this summer,

meaning that I should have a finish film by the 7th of october.

Here are my goals:

* Finish the short film animation and backgrounds before I run out of money.  (Sound can be finalised a bit after that)

* Animation Backgrounds quality should be so that, at the end of the project, I can use them to have an exhibition.

* Finance the film by selling my Deadman’s Reach Book, more on this to come, Here 

*  Get all the song covers and rights that I need.

* Update this blog EVERY monday.

* Use the computer as little as possible

I have started a small planning, so far it goes like this:

20 days of animatic, sound and planning:

At the end of those 20 days i should have an animatic so close to the finish film, that you should wonder if I really need to animate it.

For those who don’t know anything about animation, an animatic is a rough version of the film, like a draft. So much energy is needed in production, that the animatic allows to focus this energy.

50 Days of Backgrounds:

I need the film to have only 50 backgrounds (or less), during those 50 days I will be doing one background a day or more. I will also start planning the final animation.

50 days of animation:

Those 50 days will overlap backgrounds obviously. I have very few experience in 2D animation, I’m planning to develop a simple technique that will allow me to animate fast and efficiently by using a mix of pixelisation and rotoscopy. We’ll see how this turns out!

That’s a lot of info for day one!


So this week I will be cutting my script into scenes and thumbnail so I get it into the 50 backgrounds allowed. And getting it ready for storyboarding.

preparing my edit tools, time lines, sounds etc… Starting dealing with production side of thing, music write, finance, paper buying etc… 


My friend Vincent Aupetit already had a go at storyboarding the whole film, talented chap. Here’s a little sneak pick:


Jimmy rips the skin of his chest off, revealing a rib cage with no heart in it.