Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Unit 4 OGR: Presentation 1 13/02/12

Premise, Logline, Step Outline

OGR Dinner Nightmare Logline v2


OGR Dinner Nightmare Script


  1. OGR 14/02/2012

    Hey Gabriel,

    Well - the good news is that your script made me laugh. What I like is the utter absurdity of the whole premise, and the complete absurdity of the appearance of a) a greenhouse, and then b) an electric hoover - out in the frozen wastes. This is the stuff of certain sorts of animations; for example, there is a scene in the classic Droopy cartoon - Dumb Hounded - when a phone suddenly appears in an igloo - why? Because that's what the writers want to happen.

    That said, I think your Act 1 needs a better set-up. Firstly, via a bit of repetition, you could show the eskimo character tiring of fish; we see him fishing through a hole in the ice, catching the fish, cooking the fish, sitting at his plate, eating the fish, and so on - and something about the way that sequence is staged tells us absolutely that this guy is sick of his diet. Presently, you've got him looking in a magazine, but this feels like an unnecessary addition; you could simply show him looking down at his plate and fantasising about veg - we could simply see veg appearing around the edge of his place - sections of tomato, lettuce leaves; considering the highly 'toony' nature of your story idea, he could start looking around his igloo and other objects 'become' veg, in the way that when Coyote sees roadrunner, he's actually seeing a roast chicken.

    The absurdity of the greenhouse could be further enhanced by your story including its delivery - you know the sort of thing - in a crate marked Acme (as in the Loony Tune way) and the green house could be 'self-assembly' or pre-made - again, embrace the nonsense. The visual joke of all the veg being frozen needs to be played big and for laughs, and the vaccum cleaner also needs to stupidly 'domestic' and out of place in the igloo (perhaps this too could be delivered, as why would he have one otherwise?).

    Post-explosion, he just feels there could be more of a visual gag as a parting shot for your audience; right now it feels a bit 'yeah, so what?' Could you conjure a bigger, better joke for the final tableaux? I don't know, some joke about 'smoked salmon?'

    You know, maybe you could frame your story as the origin story of 'smoked salmon' - i,e, how it was first invented, the idea being that this eskimo was the first to taste it. You could present your animation as something like 'Little Known Facts Episode 20 - How Salmon Got Smoked' It in no way changes what is 'zany' about your story - it just gives you third act a bit more 'reason for being' - anyway, it's an idea. I do think, however, in terms of storyboarding, you should pay close attention to the Loony Tunes/Warner Bros cartoon universes - there is just something about your story that sits very happily in that mix - and it would offer further guidance re. character design too.

  2. I want you to consult and use the Preston Blair Cartoon Animation PDF available on myUCA/Story/Unit Materials and the dynamics of the animated drawing pdf as reference, Gabriel - for character design. The Blair book in particular is highly regarded. Check out too the Andrew Loomis 'Basics of Drawing Cartoons and Poses' - the principles therein, will really sharpen up your draughtmanship in terms of good character design and dynamic posing.

    Re, your written assignment - Rear Window - great! But please read and digest the principle of the general guidance re. the Unit 4 assignment that follows - especially in terms of writing lean, mean, waffle-free introductions...

  3. 1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and order of scenes.

    Okay - so while the challenge of the assignment doesn’t state it explicitly, as soon as you start to discuss narrative, editing or sorts of shots, you’ll be using a technical or specialist language – with specific terms with specific histories and contexts. Therefore, in common with all your assignments so far (and all future assignments!), you need to introduce and define your specialist/technical terms BEFORE you start discussing your specific film or case-study.

    For example, if you were planning to discuss the famous shower scene from Psycho, which is an example of ‘montage editing’ – you would first need to introduce and define the term ‘montage editing’ – and in so doing, refer to its origins and cultural ancestry (i.e. its broadest context). In written assignments you have to ‘show that you know’ – you have to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area by showing that YOU understand its various components. You couldn’t discuss Psycho’s shower scene effectively WITHOUT referencing Sergei Eisenstein (the ‘father’ of montage editing), and, by extension, the ‘rules’ of Hollywood ‘invisible editing’ (from which Eisensteinian editing was such a departure).

    Likewise, if you were interested in the ‘continuous take’ of ‘Rope’ – then in order to discuss this technique in context, you’d still have to introduce and define ‘editing’ in general terms, in order to prove Rope’s distinctiveness.

    If you’re dealing with narrative structures – i.e. the ‘non-linear’ structures of Christopher Nolan’s Momento or Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, you first need to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the ideas and uses of ‘non-linearity’ in story more generally.

    Another reoccurring weakness in your assignments is your introductions; remember, there is no actual content in your introduction.

    Your very first line should state plainly and clearly what the investigative thrust is of your assignment – and that’s all. “This assignment analyses critically the use of non-linear narrative in film, with particular reference to Christopher Nolan’s Momento (2000).”

    Job done! That’s it. No more – nothing else.

    Next, you list the KEY research sources you’ve used (i.e. the ones your essay will now go on to reference), and your reasons for consulting them (i.e. their usefulness to your argument). You should be specific here – give titles, authors and publishing date etc. Put your titles in italics. There should be no waffle here at all, so avoid sentences like ‘Sources include websites, books and films…’ Also, you don’t need to give the film you’re studying as a source, because that’s been made obvious by the first line of your introduction. If, however, you’re looking at some associated films, then you should include them here – but always give your reason for their usefulness to your discussion.

    Finally – your intro should offer the reader a summary of points – the logical sequence of subject matter that will take your reader from ‘not knowing’ about your subject to ‘understanding’ your subject. This is where you – the writer – must give this ‘logical sequence’ some proper thought – get this bit right and your assignment will flow from one point to the next in a satisfying way.