If you’re familiar with this series of production diaries, you’ve likely cottoned on to some of the narrative elements that make up the short film Ollie and myself have been writing. However, we’ve only really hinted at what’s been going on in regards to the practicality of shooting it; how we’re planning on making this a reality. After all this is a relatively ambitious piece; it has rooftops, robots and decimated cities as it’s mise en scene. These aren’t elements you can hope to find at your local charity shop. So, I present to you, part 1 of the Style and Practicality diaries.
So, what’s the plan exactly? Well, as well as a filmmaker, I’m an animator and an artist, and I’ve always wanted the opportunity to combine these mediums. It seemed to me that this was the perfect opportunity for me to give it a shot, and I was very excited to have a go. The only problem was that I’d only worked in 2 dimensions. I didn’t really have a clue how to go about creating 3D elements, it was a mystery to me. Still, I knew that this would be the only way to get this done, and I didn’t let that stop me.
My first concern was finding an appropriate application. I had no money, so that definitely limited my choices. I’d heard of Blender before, the open source 3D application, but I was dismissive of it for a long time. I think I had always assumed you get what you pay for, and that as this was free, that wouldn’t be a lot. 4 months later, however, and I feel very, very differently. I set to teach myself from the ground up, using multiple online resources (such as lynda.com’s basic training series, and CG cookie’s excellent array of advanced tutorials) and I managed to start producing things I was proud of within a fairly small timeframe. I’m definitely by no means an expert, but I know my way around enough of the programme’s functionality to find solutions to most problems, and create things that look and feel like I want them to. I’m still learning, and I’m sure that I’m still doing some fairly stupid things with it, but for now it fits my purposes and it still excites me to use it.
So, that being said, what is it exactly that I’m hoping to use it for? Well, quite a lot really. You know this is a piece shot on a rooftop? Well, for starters I don’t know of any rooftops that A) fit the aesthetic of the piece, B) fit our budget constraints, or C) Are safe enough. My solution? Build a virtual rooftop, and shoot this in a studio. Yeah, it’s going to limit certain things; we’re not going to be able to use many tracking shots, for example, and it might not look as natural, but really, I don’t think I want it to. This is an exaggerated story, set in an exaggerated world, I think it’ll only add interest if things are a little whacky. Plus, it’ll free stuff up in other ways; We’ll be comfortable, our actors will be comfortable, reshoots will be more plausible, less likely, and less stressful. Want to see it so far? Have a look!
And yes, you guessed it, I’m going to be using this programme to bring our eponymous little robot to life; One of One. You may have seen glimpses of him/her/it in the featured images, and this is a likely representation of its final incarnation. Sure, I might add a little bump here, a scratch there, and detail it up a bit for the final shebang, but I’m happy with its primitive look and rusty exterior. I think the model definitely fits the character too; One of One’s a wisecracking little shit, and there’s a certain cheekiness to the figure I’ve designed. Want to have a gander? Go right ahead!
Finally I’m hoping to use it for the biggest problem we we’ve been facing; the post-apocalyptic backdrop. This is something I’m still very much battling with, but I’m getting there. I’ve tried one or two techniques that I’ve now abandoned, but I think I’ve finally cracked the code, and the cogs are moving towards a finished product. I’d go into detail, but I think that’s a story for another day. Instead, here’s a thoroughly abandoned 1st and 2nd draft (which I’m very unhappy with) that I’m improving upon as we speak.
Now, though this is shaping to be a largely computer-animated experience, that isn’t to say everything will fall into that category. In the next few entries I write, I’ll be talking about costume, props and the aesthetic that binds them together. I’ll also be talking about how we plan to use the CG world to compliment the lore we’ve written, add richness to minutiae, and story to the details. We’re all very excited to share this with you, so please, make sure to check our future articles, as well as those previous; releasing every monday!
Next week, Ollie talks about what inspired him to write One of One!
Thanks for reading, Make sure to comment, like and share! Twitter @y_creatives
Lots of love,
(P.S. Want to try Blender? Download it here, for free. Want to learn it? Here are some great websites to help you do just that; Lynda, CG Cookie, Blender Guru. Wonder where I got those delicious textures? Try this place, in conjunction with Crazybump!)