This was my class 3 project for Mograph Mentor. It was about making a film for a real non profit organization. There was a list of organizations provided by the school and I picked "The Government Accountability Project" (GAP). They provide support to whistleblowers and employees that hold sensitive information about waste of resource, fraud, illegal operations and want to use this information to hold governments and corporations accountable for their actions. I felt very motivated to get into this project since where I live this situations are pretty common and everyone is aware of that. However there`s absolutely nothing that a citizen can do about this and finding out that this organizations do exists somewhere at least gives me hope that there`s other countries where laws are actually good for something. More importantly there`s people worried and working to help get this powerful institutions accountable for their actions.
Pre-production and design
With the theme already chosen next step was to analyze the script provided. We are free to either make our own script or modify the one already available, whatever it takes to make the film better. I did modify it a little to make it more concise and a bit shorter since one minute was the target and the original script was around 1:30 min. At the same time Lucas suggested us to make a creative direction document to have a clear path to follow. It was an extremely valuable asset later for the project.
Then came storyboarding and concept development. I kind of worked on both simultaneously since many times I did concepts for one part that became a better fit for other part of the film. The storyboard was put together with Storyboarder which is such a great tool! Here`s the storyboard and some initial concepts
Time came for look development! It a serious subject and a bit dark so the idea was that most of the time we had our main character (which is a good guy) in contrast with this dark world. Hence he took a brighter, more colorful identity and the environment became a more neutral, darker place. To add a bit into this concept I needed to add some textures to make more gritty. It wasn`t a dramatic film so I preferred to look for a bit of balance rather that going hard on the contrast between both. Our character actually comes from this dark place anyway. Also I tried to keep some smooth shapes and give the bad guys a very sharp appearance.
One final design choice was to keep the noisy texture and discard the paintbrush texture due to time constraints.
And one final review to make sure that the story I progressing according to planed.
Before the animation begun I sourced a VO from a guy called Richard Hall. Sourcing a VO became my only choice since english is not my native language and my attempt on making a VO was disastrous to say the least.
Animation was a pretty straight forward:
- Take Illustrator files into After Effects.
- Rig character.
- Animate first pass (characters, backgrounds).
- Figure transitions.
- Animation Second pass.
- Add textures / shadows.
- Add music.
- Compose final image.
Was a bit tough to find a way to transition from one take to the other but I wanted stick to the creative direction and worked my way though it. In most of the character animations I had to make a mix between the rigged character and animating its shapes for moments when he turns his body or his face. Also there was moments when I had to make a rough reference animation in photoshop and animate those shapes in AE.
Since animation was going to be driven by the VO I left music and sound design to the late stages of the project. Music was provided by Sono Sanctus. I picked 4 music tracks, made the mix and it came out wonderful. I`m very grateful that student have access to this library of music for their projects. I was able to build the mood I was looking for in every stage of the film.
I had a great time doing this project. The process was rather smooth despite the unexpected huge amount of work I had during the course. It became crucial to respect every step and keep building on top of that. So far the project had received pretty good feedback so far and that encouraging! More importantly my workflow handling the whole animation process end-to-end is working pretty well. It really came together in this film and easily transfers into my other projects.
Thank you Lucas for guiding me into this whole thing. Thank you Michael since the whole program has really changed me in a professional and a personal matter. Time to move on and keep making nice stuff!