Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meet the Players

Or at least two of the players. Pictured below are some very early sketches for two of my film's main characters. I randomly chose the names Wayne and Petey because, hey, they kinda' look like a Wayne and a Petey! Those sound like hunter names, right? Anyway, the names don't really matter since, at this point, they're never spoken during the course of the film. I just wanted to call them something other than stretched-face and football head!

I'm sure these guys will evolve as I get further into the production of the film. I mean, they already look radically different than what I had 48 hours ago! But at this point, I'm satisfied with their looks. And that's important to me, to simply be satisfied. Because being completely happy with the way they look will take soooo long that I'll never get the film done! So I'm not striving for The Best Designed Animated Character EVER! I just want to be happy enough with the design that I'll enjoy animating their faces over the next 12 weeks.

Going to go now and get to work on the storyboard. I look forward to sharing that with you in the next few days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

:30 Short Film—Part 1: Story

I just completed my second Bill Plympton Animation School (BPAS) class. We 15 students were instructed to do the first step of making a film—dream up a story. We had to come up with 3 or 4 thirty second film ideas and present them (pitch) to the class. Wouldn't you know it that I went next to last, sweatin' the whole time as I tried to listen to everyone's ideas while also trying to figure out exactly how I was going to present my ideas. There was a great variety of approaches and ideas from the class and I'm excited to see everyone's completed project, including mine! But that's not for 12 more weeks.

I decided to just share the 1 idea that I liked out of the 4 I had dreamt up. I had already passed the idea by my daddy and my girlfriend and they both liked it so I thought, it's gotta wor!. Turns out that it passed inspection and now I'm on to step 2: storyboarding and character design.

And you know what that means—I'll actually have some creative content to share with you! In the next 5 days, I need to design 4 characters. And to ensure that I don't give away my film's punchline, let's just say that the film stars 2 hunters.

Next post—art from my film.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pitchin' Your Ideas

I recently attended an ASIFA-East (Association Internationale du Film D'Animation) panel to mark the release of David Levy's new book, "Animation Development: from Pitch to Production." There's some notes about the evening HERE, which is a thorough summary.

One aspect of the panel that I found interesting was the diametric opposition of Janice Burgess of Nickelodeon and Amid Amidi of (which happens to be one of the first sites I check every day. Yep, it's that good.) Burgess—the sole representative on the panel of television execs—explained that material should be crafted to appeal to the specific niche of that station. Amidi, on the other hand, felt that artists should not focus on demographics but should instead focus on becoming better artists.

As I listened, I understood both of their positions and felt that they were both correct. I think Amidi is accurate to tell artists to focus on their craft before they limit their creativity to service one particular type of viewer. I also thought Burgess was correct to explain that the executives who greenlight television projects have as much riding on its success as the creator. It is understandable that executives must always consider the bottom line and ensure that the property appeals to their viewers.

The primary message of the evening was: follow your heart, create from your core, THEN do the research to determine who would be most receptive to your ideas. In other words, don't pitch a raunchy sex comedy to Nickelodeon! HBO or Showtime would be a better home for that type of material.

Ultimately, it all comes back to pursuing your passion. So get going!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fears & Doubts & Stress, Oh My!

Wow, I've barely started my animation class with its 30 second project and already I'm feeling fears, doubts and stress! How do I know that's what I'm feeling? Because I awoke today with a sharp pain in my right shoulder, my usual spot for the collection of my fears, doubts and stress. I can't tell you how many times over the last...oh...18 YEARS I've felt this! Yep, 18 years of second-guessing, believing other people's negativity about me, not to mention my own lack of confidence. Lack of confidence, now THAT one's a killer!

It's essential to our creativity that we work past all of the negative feelings—both from within and without—and continue working towards our goals. Just. Keep. Going.

And then there's perfectionism, another major bogeyman. How many times have you started something only to stop because you felt it didn't measure up to some artificial standard?

I'm going to get by my perfectionism by constantly reminding myself that other animators (I won't name them. I don't want to start a big ole argument!) don't have great drawing skills. I'll keep reminding myself that a lot of animation on t.v. has mediocre art and stories. So if strive for excellence but only reach mediocrity, my work will be at least as good as the others and maybe even better.

So let's get to work!

Next post—some comments about ASIFA-East's recent t.v. pitch panel.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back To School

Several weeks ago I learned that Bill Plympton—yes, THE Bill Plympton—was offering an animation class out of his Chelsea studio. I jumped at the opportunity. I jumped so fast, I was the first to sign up! And after experiencing the first class this past week, I'm confident that going "back to school" with this class was a good decision.

The assignment for the class is to make a 30 second film. And although this assignment will take attention away from my 5 minute film mentioned in the earlier post, in 13 weeks I'll have a completed film. And that's the point of all of this, to get projects DONE and my ideas OUT INTO THE WORLD! Plus, with such a short, definitive deadline, I'll be forced to work quickly and efficiently. It will also force me to think funny—my interest in storytelling has always been more on the serious side. So now I have to get out of my serious-chick comfort zone and try to make folks laugh! I'm sure ya'll won't hesitate to tell me if I succeed or not. Just be nice about it, please! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pursue Your Passion

Don't let the orange blob above fool you…this blog is about neither amoebas nor strangely colored fluids. It's about CREATING!
Creating what exactly?
Well, I, the Krause mentioned above, am creating a five-minute animated film partially titled…well…Creation. I'll share the remainder of the film's title later. Yes, I'm pettily withholding minor pieces of information as a cheap ploy to get you to come back to this blog!
Anyway, I'll be chronicling the production of this film with the goal of completing it by June 30, 2010 for entry (and acceptance) into film festivals.
But it isn't all about me! I'm also hoping to encourage all of you to pursue your passions (assuming, of course, that your passions go beyond eating, drinking, whoring, watching televised sports and sleeping. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but, you know, life's short and stuff).
I know, I know. You don't have the time or energy to write that song, novel or screenplay because of your job, spouse, kid(s) and/or pet(s). Thankfully, I don't have to worry about any of those things (just kidding! I have…a cat.) But imagine for a moment how much more satisfying the other parts of your life would be if you made the time to pursue your passion.
I am struggling, like you, to balance the things I want to do with the things I need to do. All I can offer is some suggestions that have worked for me and hopefully you'll be inspired to share what works for you.
So that's me and what I'm doing. Check back for more—in addition to this film, there's also a shorter film in the works (my first real attempt at comedy!), and a graphic novel and screenplays being developed.
So much to create, so little time. •sigh•