Thursday, 29 January 2015

From Script To Screen - Arctic Tern Designs

I did some more designing for the Arctic Tern.

From Script To Screen - Arctic Tern Intial Sketches

Getting down some initial sketches for the Arctic Tern, Sam suggested I try to make it more majestic as it is a key point to my story, which makes a lot of sense to me. Next batch should hopefully be more majestic.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

From Script To Screen - Environment Designs

I started making various objects, vehicles, plants and houses that will be put into the world.

Character Design Workshop - 28/01/2015

We had our last session with Justin today in which we had to design some characters, a short scene and make a storyboard for it.

The Artist's Toolkit - Life Drawing 28/01/2015

From Script To Screen - Animal Thumbnails

I sketched down some designs for the animals that may be in the zoo scene, I wanted them to all look quite sad, to reflect the trapped feeling that the salesman has. The world needs to look dull and depressing for most of the story. Until he is finally free, which is when everything will be more vibrant and colourful to reflect his freedom.

Monday, 26 January 2015

From Script To Screen - More Influences

Just another influence map, Ella suggested Fosters home for imaginary friends earlier today which completely slipped my mind.

From Script To Screen - Character Design Thumbnails 48 - 57

Focusing more on the body shape, trying out a few different ideas.

From Script To Screen - Character Thumbnails 27 - 47

Some more designs for the salesman, looking back at previous drawings it appeared two worked quite well together. So I used one as the younger, happier version of the salesman who is free and the other as the middle aged, 'I hate my life' depressed and slightly more plump version.

On a side note, as PG and Sam pointed out to me I had forgot to number my last thumbnails. I have updated that post and they are now numbered.

The Artist's Toolkit - Contra Zoom Tutorial

I did the contra zoom tutorial, it's a nice little effect that could have some use in the future.

The Artist's Toolkit - Crash Coverage Tutorial

Today we did the coverage pre vis tutorial, I feel like its missing some explosions.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

From Script To Screen - Initial Character Sketches

I started sketching some basic character designs in my sketchbook yesterday whilst on the way to Oxford (excuse the other random doodles) and decided to start creating some more in Photoshop today.

The character needs to be able to express his frustration and depression with his life and job in the opening seconds of the story, so I've mainly been focusing on making him look unhappy.

From Script To Screen - Influence Map

Starting to get some designs down for the world and characters, Phil gave me some really cool suggestions to what the design could look like. A kind of retro feel to the salesman, could make for some fun and interesting designs. Here's my first Influence map, looking at various character designs and environments.

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Film Review

 Fig. 1. Psycho poster.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is a work of art, with a mammoth twist that will leave you shocked. With lots of clever usage of the camera and brilliant performances by the actors, Psycho is a film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Fig. 2. Shower still.

Psycho is famously known for its shower scene, in which the Marion is brutally murdered. Hitchcock is able to create a disturbing murder without actually showing much, at no point do we see Marion penetrated by the knife, in fact you see very little of the knife. With clever use of camera and a haunting stabbing score by Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock forces the viewer to fill in the gaps, merely suggesting that the murder is taking place, he allows the viewer’s minds to run free. As Kermode points out in his review, ‘Designer Saul Bass's preparatory storyboards so closely detail every moment of the sequence that some have suggested he should share directorial credit with Hitchcock.’ (Kermode, 2013). As Kermode suggests, an unsung hero for the success of this scene is Saul Bass. Some people will argue that the success is hugely influenced by Herrmann’s score, that tells you how uncomfortable you should be feeling, however this scene would not be as impactful if it wasn’t for each of these aspects, the planning, the shoots and the score work in harmony to create a murder scene that will live on in the minds of its viewers.

The structure of the film is also incredible, for the opening half of the film you are made to believe that Marion is the protagonist. You feel connected to her and start to feel scared for her as she runs away with the $40,000 that she steals from work. Up until the shower scene you have someone to feel connected to, but after her demise you are left distant from what is happening. As Brayton states in his review ‘it promises that it will be a film about Marion and then sucker punches the viewer, and never permits us to recover our footing.’ (Brayton, 2012). The scene never gives us time to process what has happened, who has killed Marion and who are we meant to connect with now. The film continues to play out, building suspense, leaving the viewer wondering when the killer will be caught and how many more people will die.

Psycho has an incredible twist that is still shocking now; the ending reveal adds a whole new depth to this horror film. Hitchcock leaves you guessing for most of the film, uses clever camera angles to keep the truth hidden and slyly hints at what is actually happening. ‘Hitchcock is the puppet master in this film and keeps the audience on baited breath throughout the entire story which leads up to the haunting final moments of the film in which we stare into the face of the monster.’ (Vasquez Jr, 2013). As Vasquez Jr suggests in his review, the viewers are merely puppets being led by the master of suspense, Hitchcock makes us wait, until we are finally able to see the face of the monster. It is particularly impressive how Hitchcock hides this curveball, in the scene in which the private detective is murdered, the camera springs into a life of its own and gives us an aerial view of the murder. This disguises the ‘mother’ making it appear that she is in fact the murderer.

Fig. 3. Taxidermy still.

It is suggested that Hitchcock put some bird referencing in as a subliminal message, as he would later release The Birds (1963). The biggest suggestion to this is Norman’s unusual hobby of taxidermy; his office is filled with stuffed birds.

With clever use of camera shots and a terrifyingly chilling score, Hitchcock’s Psycho is a film that should be seen by any film lover. With a haunting message that anyone can be a murderer, even the boy next door. This film will leave you always questioning how safe your shower is and has an amazing twist that will leave you shocked.

Illustration list:
Hitchcock, A. (1960). Figure 1. Psycho poster. (Accessed on 25/01/2015)
Hitchcock, A. (1960). Figure 2. Shower still. (Accessed on 25/01/2015)
Hitchcock, A. (1960). Figure 3. Taxidermy still. (Accessed on 25/01/2015)

Brayton, T. (2012). (Accessed on 25/01/2015)
Kermode, M. (2013). (Accessed on 25/01/2015)
Vasquez Jr, F. (2013). (Accessed on 25/01/2015)

The Artist's Toolkit - Blob Animation

This is my blob animation so far, next step is adding ears to it.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

From Script To Screen - Final Story Idea

After chatting to Phil, he lead me to this resolved and connected story idea. I did a quick bit of research and found a bird that flies the furthest, symbolising the greatest freedom. The bird is the Arctic Tern, which travels the distance of the earth yearly.

Becoming free from the entrapment of a dull life

- Door to door salesman feels trapped in his job, depressed
- He sells encyclopedias of the world and has to lug them around all day
- One day at work, a potential customer slams a door in his face and he drop his encyclopdeia
- The encyclopedia lands open on a page with an Arctic Tern (bird that migrates the furthest)
- The salesman starts imagining the bird flying free, he then has a flash back to a memory of him as a child, skateboarding around the streets, almost flying with the wind hitting against him.
- He runs to the local zoo and looks at the animals stuck and feels as if that reflects his life, he feels trapped.
- He sees an Arctic Tern stuck in a cage and manages to set it free, he feels empowered by the bird’s freedom
- He skates off, pages of encyclopedia flying behind him, as well as his tie and jacket that symbolise his entrapment.
- It ends with him skating off into the distance, free

Monday, 19 January 2015

From Script To Screen - More Ideas

 The first two ideas are very similar but have slightly different ways of tackling the story. Feedback is definitely wanted, let me know if the ideas are working, which one is your favourite and if you would change anything.

Discovering freedom from an unrewarding life

- Door to door salesman feels trapped in his job, depressed
- Visits local zoo to relieve some stress
- The salesman looks at the animals and feels as if they reflect his lack of freedom back at him (shot of him as if he was behind the bars)
- He sees a bird, stuck in a cage. He notices the cage is broken and tries to help the bird escape.
- He tries to scare the bird into the direction of the hole in the cage, after a few attempts the bird breaks free and flies off
- After seeing the bird fly free he feels empowered and realises if he can set a bird free, why can’t he set himself free
- He rips off his tie, throws his suit jacket on the floor and throws his briefcase into one of the animal enclosures.
- He then skates off using a board he was meant to sell, he skates out of the zoo (screen fades to black)

Obtaining freedom from the entrapment of a lifeless job

- Door to door salesman feels trapped in his job, depressed
- Visits local zoo to relieve some stress
- The salesman looks at the animals and feels as if they reflect his lack of freedom back at him (shot of him as if he was behind the bars)
- He remembers a time in which he was a little boy, skate boarding around in the streets, free
- He leaves the zoo, goes to a shop and buys a skateboard, on the way he removes his tie and oppressive uniform
- For the first time in a long time he feels free again as he skates away into the distance

The empowering freedom from love, which adds a spark to a dull life

- Door to door salesmen doing his job, when he sees a young woman with bright coloured hair skating past him, their eyes connect for a brief moment. (love interest)
- He sees her as a free spirit, flying free like a bird, stuck in his mind
- He goes to his local zoo, in need of something to lighten his mood
- While there he begins to look around at all the animals, stuck in cages. Much like he is trapped and not free like the young woman who sticks in his memory
- He feels overpowered by the cages and starts stepping backwards; he falls over something and shuts his eyes.
- When he opens his eyes it’s the young woman from earlier, she holds her hand up to pick him up. Their eyes connect again and for once he feels free. (I feel like there should be a shot where he’s holding her, and it’s a side shot of them and birds in the background scatter and fly free)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

From Script To Screen - The Premise

This is a potential premise of my story, I'm still figuring out character names and little details for the logline.

The triumph of respect and equality over ignorance

The story idea is as follows

Employee of the Month:

A young woman has just got her first job as a door-to-door salesman, the company she works for specialise in selling a range of sports items and wear. When arriving at her office, her co-workers are all male, they look up in disgust and turn to each other and start whispering. She meets with her boss and finds out what she has to sell and her route. Upon leaving his office she is stopped by one of her co-workers, who laughs and her and asks ‘Aren’t you scared you’re going to break a nail?’ astounded by the man’s ignorance she pushes past him and gets off to her first day.

She gets on with her job and by the end of the day she returns to the office, the man who confronted her earlier is celebrating, he had just been awarded employee of the month, for selling the most items. His picture was hung on the wall for all to see, he approaches the young woman and mocks her, suggesting she should give up and retire back to her home. 

Determined to do well the young woman heads out for the next month, successfully selling lots of items and become a very well respected and known individual around the office. The figures of each salesman and woman are tracked and it appears that the young woman and the ignorant man are tied for points; it comes down to one last transaction.

The boss decides to send both of them out to houses that have never bought anything from the company before. The woman arrives at the house and knocks on the door, an old man answers and slams the door in her face. Intent on not giving up the woman knocks on the door again, the man answers once more and asks what she wants, the woman explains she is trying to sell a skateboard. The old man laughs and questions why a woman is trying to sell a man’s thing, the woman isn’t fazed by the rudeness of the man and she places the board on the floor, she skates around outside his home, which shocks the old man. Impressed with her effects he agrees to buy the board and apologises for his misjudgement.

She returns to the office to see that the man had failed to sell his last item, there for she becomes employee of the month, everyone celebrates and the story ends with a close up of her photo on the wall.

Set in a world that is a zoo, so all the characters are animals and the environment reflects the animals that inhabit it. For example, there is fences that separate the land that is owned, much like the zoo cages, the land and house reflect which animal live there. 

From Script To Screen - Like For Like Storyboard Segment (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

I choose to do a fight scene in the second Hobbit film, it was a lot of fun to draw. amazing how many shots are used in 30 seconds.

Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948) Film Review

 Fig. 1. Rope poster.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) is a film that reveals everything to you and then forces you to watch and wait as the suspense becomes unmanageable. Rope Is an adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s play, Rope’s End, in which two young men commit what seems to be the perfect murder and then throw a party to celebrate, the guests are unaware of what had happened earlier in the day and confused as to why the deceased hasn’t shown up to the party.

 Fig. 2. Murder still.

Hitchcock described this film as more of an experiment; he wanted it to be a cinematic equivalent to the play, which takes place in the actual length of time of the story. Although hugely experimental Rope is a very impactful film, that appears to be one continuous shot, with no cuts. In actual fact they would have had to have cuts around every 10 minutes as that was all the film reels could record for. As Keyes describes in his review, ‘There is a great stroke of craftsmanship at work throughout the film. Shot in ten long takes, the movie creates an elaborate illusion that there is no cutaway or break from the action, as if to indicate a quiet observer is present in the room for the whole duration of the story instead of a mere movie camera (actual breaks do occur, though, most of them involving zooms into shadows at the end of one take and then panning back out at the beginning of another).’ (Keyes, 2014). Keyes suggests that the effect that the camera creates gives an illusion to the audience of being a quiet observer that is present in the room, much like a fly on the wall; it is possible that this also creates an immersive experience that mimics the effects of the stage performance.

 Fig. 3. Chest still.

Hitchcock, the master of suspense, demonstrates his technique’s impact in Rope; from the very beginning he gives the viewer all of the information on who has been murdered, who committed the crime and where they stashed the body. He then makes you wait; teasing at the idea they will get caught, showing the weaknesses in the duo, Philip appears to be crumbling from the inside out, while Brandon is thrilled and wants to proceed to see how much further they can push the boundaries. An incredible scene occurs in which the maid starts to slowly take everything off of the chest that the body is hidden in, Hitchcock makes you watch, cringing slightly at the thought of her opening the chest to find the body. As Canby mentions in his review, ‘One high point: While the guests are discussing something of no great moment just off- screen, the camera, catlike, stares at the chest as the maid gets ready to put some books back into it, unaware, of course, that the chest is already fully occupied.’ (Canby, 2000). Canby’s comment is a reinforcement of Hitchcock’s great choice of camera shots to build suspense, by having the rest of the party members just of screen, discussing things in the moment all unaware of what could potentially happen. This is what makes the suspense even greater and such a joy to watch, moments like this are exactly what the edge of your seat was made for.

Rope is a film that deals with a theory of a superior man that can decide to kill of his inferiors; Superman is a term that is given to this theory that is used by Friedrich Nietzsche, As Britannica mention in what they wrote about the theory, ‘This superior man would not be a product of long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian “herd morality” to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth.’ (Britannica, 2014). The film uses this theory in a brutal sense, as Brandon believes himself and Philip are superior humans, thus allowing them to kill off their friend David who they deem to be weaker. It’s a sense of killing for the pleasure of killing and not for a motive as such. Nearer the end of the film Rupert, the character who was their former teacher and who potentially implanted the idea upon Brandon, admits that his theories on the superman theory where incorrect and he was disgusted to see the action of his theory.

Overall this film is a joy to watch and it will leave you on the edge of your seat. With suspense building from the very start it is definitely a must see for any film lover, the continuous shot makes the film somewhat more immersive as you begin to feel like a fly on the wall, watching as the perfect crime falls apart.

Illustration List:
Hitchcock, A. (1948). Figure 1. Rope poster. (Accessed on 18/01/2015)
Hitchcock, A. (1948). Figure 2. Murder still. (Accessed on 18/01/2015)

Britannica. (2014). (Accessed on 18/01/2015)
Canby, V. (2000). (Accessed on 18/01/2015)
Keyes, D. (2014). (Accessed on 18/01/2015)