Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Animation Development...

Script summary for Pre-production Pitch

The scene opens showing a young girl and her mother standing in the middle of a tropical forest being filmed with a hand held camcorder by the dad character as if on a family holiday. The view is seen through the camcorder. The dad asks them to wave. The mother unimpressed asks him to film something else. As the camcorder starts to pan around it starts to shake. From the normal camera view (showing the whole scene) we see a large bird is trying to take the camera off the dad and a struggle is taking place. The mum and daughter giggle as the dad struggles unsuccessfully. As the bird gets the camera and flies off, we see the dad left looking disappointed.
The next view comes from the camcorder as it is being flown over the tree tops and openings in the forest. This gives great landscape images with lots of depth to set the scene and gain an understanding of where the short is set. Eventually the bird swoops down into the trees and through the forestry but suddenly slams into the face of an animal - Tapir.
View shows both the bird and camera squashed against the face of a tapir not looking very amused. As the bird slides down to the floor Tapir asks Bird what took him so long. Bird makes excuses and tries to get tapir to stand back so that he can film him. After some resistance eventually tapir agrees.
Tapir starts to give his name, age, and says he is looking for a female mate, and starts to mumbling off on a tangent...then eventually decides that it is a stupid idea to make a video and turns his back in a huff. He goes and sits ungracefully looking out over the forest.
bird lowers the camera, rolls eyes and goes over to comfort him, suggesting that these things take time, and that perhaps he should widen his search a bit. Tapir takes this the wrong way and thinks he has come up with the great idea of finding another kind of animal to mate with creating a super sub species. Tapir gets excited and starts off on his search to woo another animal. The bird follows behind with the camcorder trying to get his attention.
Camcorder view - Tapir walks up to a sloth with a bit of a swagger and tries it on using his best charms. He is completely ignored. He tries again and the sloth does nothing. He gives it a tap on the shoulder. Very slowly the sloth takes a swing at tapir who just watches intently until he is jabbed on the nose. The sloth starts to move off. Tapir makes jokes about running after the sloth, but walks off to try again.
Normal view, the two of them walk down the track as a monkey swings past. Tapir tries to speak to it and it swings from side to side not saying much. Just as Tapir gives up it the monkey drops down next to him. Tapir speaks, but the monkey just laughs and swings off. Tapir runs after him for a bit but quickly gives up. Just as he stops he looks to his left and sees something he likes. bird, a little behind looks confused drops the camera down. Scene change to looking directly at Tapirs grinning face we see the bird catch up and peer towards the camera to see what Tapir is looking at. Bird looks horrified. View change to see a very large animal bottom. Tapir begins to talk suggestively, as the animal turns we see it’s a male rhino and with a grin and glinting eye towards Tapir he lowers his horn. Tapir and Bird panic and run away. The camera moves out of the forest and Tapir and Bird can be heard running and screaming.
New view of the pair, in a bit of a bad way. Bird suggests maybe Tapir should go for something a little smaller. Bird stops and looks towards a tree. He tells Tapir that something is staring at him. They walk over to the tree. Camcorder view shows Tapir approaching a small creature clinging to a tree branch (a tarsier). The big eyed creature just stares at the bird. Tapir waves a paw in front of his face. He doesn’t even blink. Normal view we see bird drop the camera and tarsier smiles directly at bird. Birds face shows utter confusion but he does a kindly smile back and shoves at Tapir to move away.
The pair move up to a sleeping dormouse. Tapir tries to get its attention and gives it a little nudge. The dormouse just rolls away over a ledge and plops into water. Tapir gives bird a ‘whoops’ look. The two of them move over to the water’s edge looking into it for the dormouse. A voice is heard saying my-oh-my and whistling. Bird pushes the leaves and branches out of the way to show a hippo wallowing in the water near a waterfall giving tapir the eye. In normal view the hippo stands up and gives Tapir some moves. Tapir turns to bird and smiles, quickly splashing his way into the water. Bird slowly puts the branches back and looking a bit disappointed at losing his friend turns and slowly starts to wander off.
Normal view, we hear Tapir calling after bird telling him that Hippo has a friend he might like. Bird turns to see a female of his species hop up from behind hippo and gives him a wave.
Bird drops the camera to the floor and we see him run off past the branches! As the camera lies on the forest floor, the dormouse climbs out of the lake soaking wet. He lies for a few seconds, and then shakes it off splashing the camera screen, puffing up his fur. The camcorder goes to static noise. END

The beginnings of some character designs and thoughts....

I decided to do Tapir as my animal for a few reasons. Partly because it's unusual, a bit different and I don't think it's really been done before as a main character where as the more obvious panda, tiger probably have been. It is also endangered and there are very few left, which fits in with the story well and reasons why he can't find a mate of his own species. Below are a few initial designs...

Due to his long nose and almost elephant like face I thought it migh be quite hard to put expressions in, so I had a go at showing a few different ones. The first attempts were ok, but I decided to look at some similarly designed characters or animals for inspiration, for example Manny from Ice Age and scrat, Basically character where from the front only the eyes can really be used to show emotions. Due to his quite large and stumpy body I also did some designs to check how much movement I could realistically get him to do.

The following sketches are just thinking about other animals that are included in the short, and possible designs for them.

These images are some inspiration for how I would like to design the backgrounds, giving them some rich colours and lots of depth.

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