Break but not Really

After researching the project’s initial idea and story, I sent a summary to the Children’s Society for feedback.

However, they felt the animation was not fitting the experience and were worried the child would be offended to be represented by a dog. This is a setback I have previously met working as a freelance illustrator. The important thing is to move on and come up with a new, better idea.

Fortunately, even though I was away, I was lucky to be able to discuss this with a few of my classmates that helped me and bounced some ideas on me. A new idea has now been developed and hopefully approved next week. I do hope that I can still realize this in 3d, however, I now have to research sculpting and rigging human characters.

In addition to developing the Children’s Society project, I have been working on my animated documentary essay. I have watched “Life,Animated”, a 2016 documentary about autism using pieces of animation, live action and interviews as well as “A for Autism” , a 1992 short animated documentary.  I now plan on using both these animations to demonstrate how animation deals with such a delicate health topic. Both the documentaries use very different types of animations and in very different ways, which I believe; put next to the live action pieces; gives me a clear idea of what animation brings to documentaries.

Moreover, I have been reading information about autism and comparing it to its portrayal in animation. The “Animated Documentary” book by Annabelle Honess Roe gives me more insight and history about animated documentaries that I can as well use in my argument. This is and will be a challenge as essays are not part of my habits anymore and expressing ideas clearly is not my forte.

Children’s Society Process

As the term ends and we go on to have a break, we really do not.

Just before the term ended, we had a few classes to prepare us for what is expected of us. One in particular, storytelling with Clare Murphy, was very useful. We went on to exercise our brain through little tasks to be creative and ended up sharing ideas about the Children’s Society project. I realized though I thought I did not really know how to create stories, once I put my brain in the right place, I could think about a 1000 of them.

I left this class having a clear idea of what I wanted to do. Moreover, I already knew which style I wanted to go into. We are creating to tell a story, but also to attract and touch people for the cause. In addition, we need to keep in mind the children are going to watch their story turned into animation. I thus want to create a universal animation, that everyone will understand and relate to. It is clear then that I want to avoid using human characters as much as possible. My mind was set on using dogs as metaphors for the characters.

Now it is all about research, practice and scheduling. I have been looking at the style of the “101 Dalmatians”, “Lady and the Tramp” and “Bolt” for visual research. I have also set out a schedule to hopefully not be out of time. The first step is to be able to formulate the idea and have a visual to send for the Children’s Society to look at and give feedback.

Finally, I count on Youtube and Lynda to be my new best friends and teach me sculpting and rigging in 3D.


Creating an Animated Documentary

We were finally introduced to what the last semester will be all about: an animated documentary for the Children’s Society.

I was honestly very worried at first. Animated documentary is a field I have zero experience in. As a core Disney fan and a believer that animation should distract, I had never shown interest in animation that educates. However, I knew this Masters would challenge me in ways others would not. And going out of my comfort zone is exactly what I need to make my animations work, and matter.

We are now to produce a one minute animation based on a piece of dialogue given by the Children’s Society. This project will last three months and we are to treat the Children’s Society as a client, which adds to our list of challenges. We are now not only to animate a whole movie but also to communicate, pitch and storyboard. We are to empathize and be tasteful in the way we are going to tell someone else’s painful story. Mine is about mental health problems and the loneliness that is entails.

This represents a huge amount of stress only to be quieted by good advice and exceptional organizational skills. I do believe that is why we were given an essay on animated documentary and simulated work experience before we start, to be ready for what’s coming.

As a true control freak, I have already started thinking of how I will be animating this piece, but I am still unsure if I should launch the 3D wagon on such a big project. My 3D knowledge is very rough and I want to portrait this story well. Moreover, I cannot make all the decisions by myself anymore. I need to share my ideas to my tutors first to make sure I am not portraying the story in a way that may see insensitive to others.

In the end, this project is more than animation. It is frightening, but also incredibly exciting!