Green screen project part 1

I have recently been writing mainly about my main project and various techniques I have discovered and want to share.  It looks like I haven’t been doing anything with my green screen project for JFPP09C Project 1: 2D Production, the animated portrait.  I have in fact done plenty; I just haven’t written anything about it.  Until now of course.

The idea of the project is to do a short film that combines live action and animation, but it has to be more of an “animated portrait”.  So think less Roger Rabbit and more Seventh Seal.  Ok, maybe nothing quite so deep, but a certain amount of metaphor is required.

We were given many examples of films that could be used as inspiration.  One of my favorites was surprisingly not a comedy and is of quite serious subject. It’s one a series of shorts called Animated Minds which tries to explain in animated form how people feel when they suffer a mental illness.  This one in particular was about a person that finds it so difficult to leave the house.  They find even going to the supermarket a major difficulty.

I had a few rough ideas jotted down, but the one that really struck me was about my lifelong love of reading.  I had two videos that really inspired me.  The first was my very own video that I did for the Douglas Adam competition.

And this Star Wars Lego stop frame animation done from a live performance from Eddie Izzard.

With both project I liked the way the animation had to work with the audio.  Particularly with the Eddie Izzard piece, because you can’t edit it to leave pauses to fit the animation.  I did a similar thing with the Douglas Adams piece.  Because it was such an old recording, it’s full of hiss, so to cut it up would have left silent gaps.  But there was something really lovely having that restriction and it made the piece quite frantic to fit the story in.

I was originally going to write the story of my lifelong love into reading into a stand up routine then animate the recording of me performing it live, but I realised that’s easier said than done.  As much as it’s a sweet story, there aren’t many laughs.  So I decided to do it as a monologue, record it and then find humour in the animation.

The script was fairly easy to write.  In fact I had to cut it down a bit to make it pacey.  But the problem with it was I needed to have a thread that linked the various staged of my life together.  And then I thought, what was the one thing that linked my loved of books together and that was a library.  So that became the thread throughout the piece.

I started to storyboard and straight away the jokes started to happen which was great.  I used my graphics tablet and Photoshop to do the storyboards and had me as a little child with a beard.  Then other jokes started to come about.  I do enjoy storyboarding with the graphic pen.  It means the storyboards can be a bit more detailed, because like animation I can get reuse the backgrounds and characters.

Once I finished the script and the storyboards I got in contact with a cool actress friend of mine called Nadia Ostacchini who I’ve known for about 15 years and asked her if she could play the two women in the film.  I thought it would look really good on her show reel that she’s making up.  I went through the script and storyboards with her and bought her lunch (that’s her payment) and she was fine with doing it before I even met her, but its good to keep these things professional.

Last week I went through the initial idea and some of the storyboards with Pia and the class and Pia thought it was a great idea and even liked the style of drawing in the storyboards and said that would be a good style for the animated parts of the film.

Once I recorded my dialogue and finished my storyboards I put them together in a rough cut in premiere.  It’s not an animatic as there’s no movement, but it gives me an idea on how long it will be and the pacing.

Ding the class a few weeks ago Marrianne and I messed around in front of the green screen cameras and once we got the footage I got rid of as much of the green as I could and put together some mock titles for The Mike and Marrianne Show.  It’s a bit like Donny and Marie but with more bitching.  It’s a nice way to work out the scope of what we can do.  I was really happy with the results considering it was all unplanned and just messing about.

Once I did all this work and recorded my vocals and put the storyboards together with the recorded voice I noticed a few bits where I would need to add bits, but most of all, I saw the Dr Suess theme come back like that was also a thread and thought perhaps a way to make the film that  more interesting was to try and write  monologue in verse.

About Mike Belgrave

I am Mike Belgrave, stand up comedian. animator, outsider music musicologist, shambolic ukulele player and music video director extraordinaire.
This entry was posted in Animation, Animation MA, Green Screen porject, London Met. Bookmark the permalink.

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