Kesa Animatic

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Met with Tom Bertino last week and got some good tips to improve my animatic. Better camera angles and stronger poses = a better story. So here is the new and improved version. I also changed the main character from a guy to a girl – which was actually my original idea. I’m glad that I went with the original idea:

Kesa is a girl living in a tribe at the end of the Ice Age. Mammoth herds are growing thin so her tribe is having a harder and harder time searching for food. Due to her brother’s death and father’s illness, no one in her family is able to join the hunt. She goes off by herself and finds a baby mammoth – with surprising results.

And here’s the new animatic!

Kesu Production Stills

academy of art, Animation, animation I, Animator's Journal, Character designs, Kesu, Storyboards, Traditional Animation, Zephyr Art

A Hunter seeks out a Mammoth with unusual results.

Thus begins my animated short “Kesu.” Why do a 15 second animated short for class when you can create an entire thesis-film like project for the Spring Show? Sounds like a plan to me. The first 15 seconds are my class assignment, then next minute and 25 seconds are the rest of the film.

One day I will create a short subject. But I love fully fleshed out stories. It’s why I write screenplays instead of short stories and novellas.

Our professor gave us excellent advice – create 10 to 20 story ideas with 5 unexpected outcomes and 5 reactions to each of those outcomes. That led Alice down the rabbit hole of discovery. I planned on filming “The Fighter.” I had created preliminary storyboards, character designs and  was ready to go. But something did not feel right. So I followed my professors assignment and started writing ideas last Saturday at Chipotle. And then the 11th idea came to me.

So don’t listen to anyone who tells you wait around for inspiration. Get out there and churn out as many ideas as possible. That’s how you come up with something. Blood and sweat. (And good food – that helps.)

Here’s the set up of the storyboard that I pitched in class:

Home office set up:

Preliminary stick-figure like storyboards:

Kesu (originally named Kesuk) turnarounds:

Alamet turnarounds:

Size comparison chart:

Kesu and Alamet in action sketches:

San Francisco International Animation Festival

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Thanks to Martha Wilson – the Story Development professor at the Academy of Art and my friend David I was able to get a free pass to last night’s animation festivities at the New People Cinema.

And what a show it was.

I am astounded by the excellent films coming from Europe. None of the animated shorts were anything like what I have seen here in the states. Due to history the US has a limited view of what animation can and should be. For example, that animation is a medium for children, that it is a genre of film, rather than quality film itself, that it has to be funny, that it has to be linear, etc. Studios like Pixar are changing this but even Pixar has its own style and many other studios are struggling to copy them and DreamWorks rather than create original material.

Not so with the films I watched last night. They were the best of Annecy, a film festival held every year in France. And one gets the impression that only in Europe could such masterpieces be created. There was stop motion, 2D, 3D, figures made from foam core, painted backgrounds, stories about life, bugs, zombie attacks, chickens taking strolls, people dressed as bears, fighter pilots in a dance of death.

I have been to many film festivals, most of which I have chronicled in this blog. But last night’s showing was special. Never before have my eyes been opened to what animation can be. What I saw was nothing short of visually stunning, and inspired me to one day create something better and different than what has come before.

I believe that is the nature of true art.