My team and I had to redo our first animatic as it turned out to be ineffective, to what we had initially planned to create. However we were determined to go back and make the necessary changes that required the animatic to succeed in our goal.
Our first step took us back to the “drawing board”, we started by looking over the storyboard again and figuring out what changes would need to be made; we came to some agreements about some character changes. Our tutor had sat down with the team and analysed the animatic step-by-step with us, and gave us great advice that helped point us toward a better direction.
There was a point he had made about the characters not performing as they should; the team of heroes did not appear as though they were on the same side, as too many shots exposed them as being separated from one another. The Evil Overlord character in the story, our tutor explained, could have had a more efficient part in the story, the audience would want to know what his intentions were on capturing these characters and experimenting with them. Then there was the dog creature character that randomly popped out of nowhere within the story; where did he come from and what was his purpose within the story plot. However, our tutor did also remake that this could have been a very humorous animatic, the characters were appealing and the backgrounds were very well thought out and had an appealing design; the only thing he felt missing or lacking was a better process on developing the characters and the story plot. We also had within the animatic at the very end a heading that read “To Be Continued…” which our tutor felt was a cheat in a way, and felt we could have produced a better alternative ending to the story.
Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story have something important in common that I think is essential to Disney Pixar’s continued success. Both films were, at first, complete failures. Not the films themselves; but the storyboards for these films were so unsuccessful in the pitching stage that they had to go back to the drawing board and redo the entire story all over.
The failure of our own animatic reminded me of these two movies once having the same problem as we now faced; and, my team and myself were determined to give our second shot our utmost effort, to produce a better animatic. We began by rethinking the story plot, keeping to the same initial idea, but, improving minor details.
The Alchemy of Animation (Hahn) quotes: The typical sequence goes through a lot (and I mean a lot) of corrections, redraws, rethinks, throw-outs, and re-dos until the scene works perfectly for the director. All this will change again when the work gets edited into a “story reel” with dialogue and effects.
We re-referenced our research of the animatics we had been influenced by, and saw what we needed was more drawing and strong character development and more involvement of the villain. What we needed to do next was to figure out what worked within the story and what did not. This we decided was the character of the dog-like creature, because we had no real idea of what we could do to introduce a new character, so we had to cut him out of the animatic; (but, his idea still lives on in a possible second episode of the animatic, because we thought of it as a series kind of story, shown on kids T.V. shows). Our reasons being, with the limited amount of time we had for the animatic we wanted to keep things short and to really have the viewer focus more on the story rather than confuse them with character sub-plots. By doing this, we introduced an earlier character which was meant to be involved in the story, but, changed her plot to seek a better solution to our problem with the villain’s character plot.
Moving Onward and Upward
The story progressed in a far better way than previously; we even began to start recording dialogue for the characters; this was a plan we had had originally for the first animatic, however, time was running short and we did not get round to it at that time; but, this time we were adamant that we had to use dialogue into the animatic, as we all agreed it would improve enjoyment in the entertainment.
With the character that we brought into the story we decided to give the villain a happy ending, but, one that would not change his character, rather keep him practically the same evil but humorous oddball with a master plan. When he finds the sea pig creature and falls in love with her at the end, his intention is still driven toward evil. Though we do not show this as it is the end of the animatic; we still left the suggestion of “what happens next?” with these two characters.
With the remake of our animatic we added new music to create a comical and fun atmosphere within it; by the use of music I feel that our animatic improved greatly and created a lighter and more comical experience for our audience.
We also used sound effects to help with the understanding of what actions were portrayed on the screen; when one character kicked a minion or punched a minion we imputed a sound effect that was a slight bang or thud; this gave the illusion that the minion was hit. Sound effects helped with the visuals of the story for the audience to understand what was going on within a particular scene; and it was fun to play around with the sounds within the animatic.
This project/experience of creating an animatic has opened my mind to how the thinking process of a story in animation works. I understand now that not every story will get it right the first time round, and that it takes hard work, determination and a loyally devoted team to achieve results; which is exactly what I feel my team and I have managed to achieve with our finalized animatic.