SHORT films

Last week Terry, Jane and I schemed up a way to have our cake and eat it too. We have developed a plan for having second year students animate a story that MUST also contain the basic shots required for a show reel. This addressed one of my basic misgivings about letting the students spend most of their second year on a single story, namely that the story would often allow the student to avoid animating scenes containing fundamental principles.

Another issue I had was that when a student embarks on animating an epic story the animation is often rushed or half baked to make sure the story gets finished. This defeats the purpose of doing anything at all in my opinion. I've always been a supporter of quality instead of quantity. So Jane and Terry have been kind enough to indulge me with a pretty tight time limit for the student major projects. They (or you) will be aiming for 1 minute.

So I expect the idea of how you can tell a story in such a short period of time to become and ongoing issue. I thought I'd post some clips that demonstrate efficient story telling, while still demonstrating sound animation techniques. If anyone else is aware some good examples I'd love to see them in the comments.

Shape Your Desire - Job Joris and Marieke (I can't find a direct link to it, but you should also check out their short film 'Het is niet grappig, het is Kunst' its on their site)

Roo Dou Dou - Planktoon Studio

The Ultimate Break - Studio Akama

Note the way they don't take separate time out for character development, in a film this short that has to be overlapped with the delivery of the story. I think this is a great discipline to be thinking about, because really, the same rule applies to longer films too. The story should always be moving forward. That's one of the traps Disney fell into in the late 90's taking time out from progressing the story for a song, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I think another good question to ask yourself is, how far into the story are we when we first become aware of the conflict. In my opinion student film screw this up all the time, get to the point people!

And CHECK THIS OUT, a festival for 1 minute films! and it looks like they just added an animation prise last year. Mmm how convenient. Their screening is in November which is promising, but I can't find a closing date for entries. I've emailed them to find out, could be interesting.


frank said...

I'll have a piece of that cake.

Ian said...

animation student said...
Check out The Lauenstein brothers "Ants" advert for a 30 second narrative.

Ian said...

Some very short films featured in previous ARC posts:

Terry said...

Ian, thanks so much. Those are some great examples. Let me add a favourite of mine (which I've blogged about before, and most of you would have already seen)... ANIMATOR VS ANIMATION!

And its sequel too...

animation_student said...

With a lead in that goes, "The world's first near fatal production! 1 minute of animated cartoon goodness produced in less than 8 short days!"

How could an animator go past it?

But remember, 'Curiosity killed...'.

1 minute of animation, well we've been talking about short narratives, so it's worth a comment, maybe even an ARC blog post all its own? (more for the process than the story or animation).

It's a very detailed blog post on the whole process of making the 1 minute film.

This discovery came via Cartoon Brew.

The link is:

The film has images (like the use of robots) that some viewers may find disturbing.