43 Pages of Mistakes

Woo hoo, I'm done with the animatic, now it's time for one of my favorite parts…ANIMATING! (My other favorite part of the filmmaking process is developing the idea. The animatic and designing parts I could do without.)

So I exported the animatic from Toon Boom Storyboard Pro using the "To Animate…" option. This slices the single animatic into its individual scenes. Each scene can then be opened in Toon Boom Animate Pro.

I started with Scene 2 since it's the first with actual animation (Scene 1 is black with sound and music) and, like I said, I wanted to get to ANIMATING!

It's such a thrill for me to sit at my wood animation table with my metal animation disk, Acme-punched paper and a sharp pencil. I immediately dove into Scene 2…and immediately ran into problems! I made one major mistake that I'll share with you to hopefully prevent you from doing the same.

My big mistake was: IGNORING MY ANIMATIC! OK, I didn't completely ignore it but I didn't follow it explicitly either. I quickly forgot that I spent TWO YEARS working on the animatic, ensuring that it "worked." The point of that time and effort was to make the animation process easier.

But when I sat down to draw, I decided that not enough was happening in the animatic and I started to make DRASTIC changes! What came of all of those changes? See below:

Those are piles of animation bond paper and tracing vellum with drawings and spacing charts on them. Forty-three pages of rejections, to be exact. For about one week (ONE WEEK?!) I struggled with lips and noses and positions.

Finally, while taking a break (I now try to take 10-15 minute breaks after every 90 minutes of work to stay fresh), I realized that I had strayed from the original layouts established by the animatic. Why was I trying to reinvent everything?! I already did that…FOR TWO YEARS! All of the "figuring out" was done during the animatic process; not it's time to PRODUCE!

After that epiphany (I'm always having epiphanies…because I'm always forgetting important lessons!), I printed out a frame from Scene 2 and followed it as a model. Once I did that, Scene 2 was completed within a few hours! Lesson learned—follow the animatic!

Tomorrow: figuring out the timing.

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