A Tribute To The Note Takers…
In every meeting I’ve covered in this blog, there is always at least one Smurf Team Member present who is assigned the important (and very appreciated) duty of taking thorough notes, transcribing all the many ideas and opinions set forth by everyone present.
Needless to say, this is no small task.
Sifting through all the many things that are said in these meetings is one big job and I could not keep track of anything without my Smurfy team!
Peach Pie Pitch Party!
Recently I tasked the entire story team to each come up with at least 5 funny ideas for a scene taking place in Smurf Village. After a week, we all gathered for a big, hour long Pitch Party. It was productive and fun…and sweet!
Work, fun and food DO go together, especially on a Friday!
I’m constantly doodling SMURFS! They just keep piling up.
What would a Smurf movie be without that dastardly Gargamel involved? As we finalize the villain’s design, we pay attention to every detail, including his big, floppy feet.
As always, I’m a stickler at making sure we are as true to Peyo’s original designs as possible. Peyo drew Gargamel in a very cartoony way, and we have to design him to animate in a believable, yet entertaining manner. We are in the process of creating several animation tests, exploring how Gargamel will move and act.
Expect his big feet to bring about some much-deserved giggles.
Lots of Smurfs in the Kitchen
A LOOK BACK AT THE PAST WEEK IN STORY…
I’ve said before “It takes a Smurf village” to make an animated movie. That notion is never more true than when discussing the story process.
Our writers along with several other story-oriented members of the Smurf Movie Team (myself included), have spent long hours in a big room, hashing out all sorts of ideas…and, as always, some ideas work…some don’t.
There is no more collaborative part of the animated movie making process than that of cooking up the story. It is intricate, delicate, detailed and exhaustive, but well worth the time spent in making sure the plot and characters work together to tell a good tale.
We laugh, we get frustrated, we yell, we draw funny pictures of each other, we eat lunch, we nearly destroy large erasable boards jotting down plot points and ideas…and we go home each night feeling as if we’ve run a marathon.
Then, next morning, we wake up and do it all again. We plug away until we have forged a story we all feel confident about. And we get nearer to that destination every day.
This, my Smurfs, is how animated stories come to be. I’ve been doing it like this for over thirty years, on many different movies, and it’s always the same.
We are cooking a “Story Soup”.
And, so far, it’s tasting pretty good!
The Hardest Part About Storyboarding…
Sometimes, the cold fact is that storyboarding is all about trial and error. What reads well on a script page just doesn’t always translate into a visual version of the same idea. Still, it is part of the story artist’s job to help the director and the whole movie team see whether a concept is going to work…or not.
Storyboarding requires a lot of revising and starting over from scratch. The job requires patience and a true spirit for teamwork. The objective is always to give any sequence its best chance to function within the context of the movie.
And there is real value in everyone seeing what DOESN’T work, as well as what does. A good story artist will take his lumps, then dive right back into working to get it right.
It’s all part of the process…though not the easiest part.
A Smurfy Root Beer Tasting!
Animated movies are not all work and no play. The crew becomes close and lifelong friendships are struck. There are often fun team get-togethers for little reason beyond a bit of socializing.
Recently the Smurf Movie Editorial Team hosted a root beer tasting.
Goal: To find the perfect root beer!
Several people gathered to take sips of various brands of the wonderful dark bubbly drink. Each maker was hidden for fairness.
While I’m not at liberty to divulge the maker of the winning root beer, suffice it to say that it was spicy, refreshing, frothy and delicious!
A sudsy and Smurfy time was had by all!
Next time it will be a root beer FLOAT tasting!
On any movie, a lot of things happen at the same time. The Smurf Team is always hard at work maintaining each and every aspect of the production.
In short, we are never bored!
A day’s work might include a morning storyboard pitch, followed by an art direction meeting, then an update on character design.
Lunch can turn into a cinematography discussion, moving directly to a scratch dialogue session.
Afternoons can include a voice casting meeting, a script notes session, another storyboard pitch, all leading an editorial review.
Whatever the focus or department, each meeting is of equal importance and every “plate” must be kept “spinning”.
No broken plates allowed!
And, believe it or not, it’s still fun! I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Making an animated movie takes a lot of time and there are always many talented people involved, all of whom have an opinion and/or an idea of what they envision the film to ultimately look like. The hard part is waiting for the basic foundation of the story and characters to become fully formed, before adding all the details.
It’s very easy to get caught up in wanting to taste the “icing” before the “cake” is fully baked.
Currently, Team Smurf and I are still at the earliest stages of story development. We are fortifying the slab on which the future awesome Mushroom house will be built.
I hope my drawing sort of says it all.
Some days, it feels kind of like this.