Saturday, May 11, 2013

Belated updates, and Frankenweenie stuff

It's been too long...

So here's a little update. I work for DreamWorks now, currently at the PDI/DreamWorks facility at Redwood City. In other news I'm leaving San Francisco for LA after a tumultuous two years that have seen many highs, but just as many lows. I'm working on a completely awesome project for the mighty Kevin Lima, and I couldn't be happier! To celebrate I'm posting this very unhappy sequence from Frankenweenie. Sparky has just been killed in a car accident, and as is the title of the scene,  "Victor Grieves".

Part One:
Frankenweenie was an interesting show in that the wonderful Allison Abbate gave us an enormous amount of creative freedom. Initially we had very little direction in terms of camera or acting- beyond paying homage to classic monster movie camerawork, and always under the mantra "Do not fall back on animation tropes". As a result we were allowed to completely invest in our scenes. Here is an early version of, what I think at least, was one of the more important early scenes in the film, setting up Victors loneliness for Sparky. Any sequence in an animated film will go through many iterations on its journey from script to screen, so a lot of stuff plays differently to the final film. This is probably "take" three or four of what was (I think) about fifteen takes. It was absolutely one of my favourite scenes to work on in my career, and one of the few that remained true to what I envisioned when I first started boarding it.

On a side note, there's a part of the scene where Victor feels isolated and numb to the world, and his surroundings change while he remains catatonic with grief. I'd always thought that the way to shoot that would be to shoot the Victor puppet in front of a green-screen and then plop him digitally into the various locations in post-production. Boy was I wrong! Trey Thomas told me that this was one of the single hardest shots to achieve as they shot that whole thing- location changes and all, in camera!! Watch it again and shut-yo-mouth!


































 Part 2
This part of the scene was largely adapted from the original short film. I used key angles and cuts from that version of the scene, only really expanding upon it to include the other kids who are more featured players than in the short. I kinda looked at it as my Gus Van Sant "Psycho" remake moment. In the finished film a lot of the action is completely reimagined, but I think it's interesting to show this version as it represents where we began.

Also, pretty much none of the "extras" were designed at the point in the production this was drawn, so a lot of the BG characters are lifted from Dean Roberts' scene from earlier in the film where we meet Mr R for the first time.




































5 comments:

  1. Awesome boards Patrick, I can see lots of it has ended up in the film. I hope all is well, best, ;)

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  2. Great storyboards. Makes me wonder what other scenes from Frankenweenie you drew some storyboards for.

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  3. Fede Board Padraig.

    Faldt over din og side syntes det var sjovt at hvad du har gang i. Så Frankenweenie i biografen da den kom og kunne vildt godt lide den.
    Tænkte jeg ville spørge dig lidt om din arbejdsprocess.
    Da jeg selv arbejder som storyboarder er jeg ret imponeret over den høje detaljegrad og tonelægning i panelerne. Synes aldrig der er tid til det inden for de tætte deadlines der ligger på en produktion. Har du et specielt set-up i photoshop eller er der bare væsentligt mere tid på en større produktion? Viser du først de tonede paneler til instruktøren eller ligger gråtoner på efter boardet er godkendt? Anyways. fedt at se.
    Meget inspirerende.

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  4. Hej Jacob!
    Mange tak skal du have! Er det okay hvis jeg skriver paa englisk? Det bliver alt for besvaerlig med en amerikansk tastetur:/
    You are right, we do get more time on the american stuff than on the European- if I remember correctly Djungledyret and Hjaelp Jeg er en fisk had around 3-6 months in boards, whereas we get anywhere up to two years on a movie, though usually it's around 18 months. However, the amount of time per scene is around the same as we do many, many takes and versions of each scene, and of course the amount of time given gets shorter and shorter as animation production nears.

    The Frankenweenie boards were drawn in storyboard pro- not sure if you've ever used it, but it's the single worst drawing tool I've ever worked with. When I started using it on Gnomeo and Juliet I had never drawn digitally before, so I thought that's just the way digital drawings looked. The upshot was that I spent ages trying to figure out a way to make the drawings look better, and looking at what other guys did I came up with that look. Now that I work in photoshop I still stick to the flat, vectorized line that I'm used to looking at in STB Pro. I can send you some examples so you can see how I do it if you'd like.

    But to be honest, a lot of my work is line drawings, it's only when I get a heavy emotional scene like this one (my favourites!) that just beg for the extra love and attention to detail to sell the idea that I'll go all out. I know that other board artists object to working the drawings so much, but since we are the springboard for all the other departments, if we set the bar high, then they will (hopefully) take it to the moon

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  5. Thanks for your quick response

    I am at the moment working in storyboard pro. Think it is very intuitive, but you are right about the terrible drawing tools. Thinking about changing to photohop. I would really like to get some exaples, think the force in SB pro is the vector and the possibility to scale your drawing up and down without pixilation.

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