Thursday, 24 February 2011

Unit 4- Salesman's face Digital Painting WIP

So here's my WIP of the Salesman's face using the previous photmanipulation as a reference. I've made the face slightly narrower because he's meant to have been on a bit of a bender. 



At the moment he is sans glasses, I was focussing too much on the face itself seeing as the human body is probably my biggest weakness when it comes to drawing (and possibly in life too? Aha!). Here's a piccy with my drawing's opacity slightly dropped to show the reference face; this shows how the glasses could look (in my opinion they fit my drawn face better than the photo)


Stay tuned for more excited scribbling!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Unit 4- Salesman's face (Photomanipulation)

I was struggling to define the features for my salesman character, I knew roughly what I wanted but had no single reference. Cue Photoshop:


This face is put together from the strange looking fellow in the bottom left of my influence map and a picture of Michael Douglas taken from the film Falling Down where he plays a similar character to my salesman (In that he goes crazy). The picture looks a little odd because their faces dont line up. I'll use this to draw from :)

Character Influence map:
Guy with big ears, bottom left.


Michael Douglas in Falling down:
   
One of the best actors ever
On a side note does anyone know who the guy in my influence map is?

Style change

I had opted to have an influence from graphic novels and the film Sin City but seeing as A) I dont really read graphic novels, B) It looks a little out of place for the 1920's-1950's and C) I can't really draw in the graphic novel style.

Therefore I think I shall leave a particular style out of the work, going more for a more realistic view but taking some influence from Roman Polanski's Repulsion, specifically the use of cracks in things and I will also draw from the Mr Cellophane scene from the film adaptation of Chicago (Thanks Phil!). I think during the 'circus in his head scene' I'll add a touch of sepia to the mix for emphasis, not only does the salesman feel he's being laughed at but his mind is gloomy and tinted too.


Might have been slightly influenced by this site: http://www.lackadaisycats.com which I just love, it looks like the right era for my animation but it's in the prohibition which would ruin the failing salesman who's taken to drink angle I was going for :(

Monday, 21 February 2011

Unit 4: Influence maps


Influence maps for the Salesman, Office, Superglue and the now obsolete Cityscape



Friday, 18 February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

Unit 4- Fourth and possibly final script

This is the last time I rewrite the script, I think that apart from a minor tweaks this is going to be the final run.

The story is essentially the same, just cut up ala Tarrantino. Dialogue is nearly non existant, what is there will mostly sound muffled/underwater. Only two or three lines are clear, because they are key to the story.

This version seems to work and its a whole bunch shorter;3 pages, instead of between 6 and 8.


[Edited it again... added dialogue to the last section in the office. Also need to break it into three acts properly, but I'll do that shortly]
So here it be:
Unit 4 Fourth Draft

Unit 4- Thrid Draft Script

Sasha gave me a great alternative ending, less violent but more dramatic than my previous cheap kill.

I've so far managed to knock it down to nearly 6 pages of directed script. Dialogue only has been knocked down to 350 words; approx. 2 pages. It's becoming quite hard to triam any more off without completely losing the story. However, after watching Resevoir Dogs today I think I may be able to use non-linear story telling to both cut down the dialogue and keep the story.

UNIT 4 Third Draft

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Unit 4- Script Second Draft

Trying to condense the 8 pages into something more managable... Haven't acieved much really, managed to shave a little over 100 words but if 1 page = 1 minute in terms of dialogue I'll still over-run :/

Here's the second more condensed draft:

UNIT 4 SECOND draft



Heres the 'Dialogue only versions of Draft One:

Unit 4 Draft Script Pure Script



and the dialogue only version of Draft Two:

UNIT 4 SECOND draft PURE SCRIPT

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Unit 4- Draft Script

This is my draft script. I've written it as a basis to condense down into a minute's worth, I think at the moment it reads out to about 5 minutes-ish...

I'm finding it hard to cram character development, dialogue and visual storytelling space into one minute :(

UNIT 4 Draft Script

Friday, 11 February 2011

Life Drawing Semester 2 week 1

We had a new model this time, a nice man called Francis.

The challenge for this session was to try and capture a sense of movement, I dont think I managed it :S








It's the little baby Jesus...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Maya AND Premiere tutorials

Aha! I've combined both the Maya conversation tutorial and the adobe Premiere 'basics and importing stuff' tutorial to bring to you this fine piece o' footage

*Caution* Contains adult themes and some poor directing

Monday, 7 February 2011

To Do...

Finalise a plot/story

draft script

Bios and influence maps for all characters

Flesh out main locations/influence maps for all

concept art for locations, props and characters

I think thats all that needs to be done prior to proper storyboarding

Film Review: Psycho (1960) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho (1960)
Fig 1



Plot summary:
"Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother." (Needham)

Review:

Arguably the one of the most seminal films ever made, or at least one that is forever being parodied, Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' is a film that delved deep into the darker parts of the human mind and darker parts of cinematography; exploring Freudian themes such as the Oedipus complex and depicting two somewhat explicit murders (in context to the 1960's at least)

Fig 2


Having never seen, or read much about 'Psycho' before I was unsure of the exact storyline, knowing only that someone gets murdered in a shower whilst the notorious "SKREE SKREE SKREE" of violin music is played. So, after having watched it I am in turns disappointed and satisfied. On one level I appreciate the effects and use of editing, as David Jenkins wrote: "It dared to suggest that your star didn’t need to surface from an ordeal smelling of roses (or, indeed, at all). It combined a knife, a scream, a melon, some chocolate sauce, Bernard Herrmann’s greatest score and more than 70 edits to push the envelope of screen violence." (Jenkins, 2010) I recognise and congratulate the technical skill displayed both in the effects and editing rooms, especially the last dissolve where Norman Bate's face is blended with a skull; genious!

Fig 3


However there are a couple of things that knock it down slightly, first is the pace; it's slow! I mean, I've never known the story prior to watching it and only have 'Rope' to compare to but I found 'Psycho' to have such a lack lustre start, like watching someone drag their heels about getting on with something. Boseley Crowther, a reviewer that keeps popping up in my reveiws said this about  how long it takes to get to the motel; "Well, perhaps it doesn't get her there too swiftly. That's another little thing about this film. It does seem slowly paced for Mr. Hitchcock and given over to a lot of small detail."(Crowther, 1960) Yes indeed Mr Crowther! But from a contemporary view it seems even slower. I don't know... maybe it's just me today but I could feel the relentless pace of modern living ticking away at my willingness to pay attention... Hurry! Quick! I have to be in Manhattan by midday for a meeting involving coffee, sugar and caffeine injections so I can keep up with my busy ultra modern lifestyle (Or something like that)

 

Fig 4
I'm not sure if this is from the 1960's film or the remake? Still shows the house and motel though :)

Eventually we end up in the motel and *finally* something starts happening, in that we meet Mr Norman Bates, proprietor of the Bates Motel. A quaint, cutoff little motel complete with swamp and creepy overlooking house... Well you can't have it all when you're running off with $40,000 as Janet Leigh's charater Marrion is doing when she pulls in for the night. I think that I may have actually fallen asleep about then had it not been for Bates, played by Anthony Perkins. He's suitably creepy, geeky and a little angry at times that pick the picture up. Cue more quotes from Mr Crowther; "The young man who diffidently tends it -- he is Anthony Perkins and the girl is Janet Leigh -- is a queer duck, given to smirks and giggles and swift dashes up to a stark Victorian mansion on a hill. There, it appears, he has a mother -- a cantankerous old woman -- concealed. And that mother, as it soon develops, is deft at creeping up with a knife and sticking holes into people, drawing considerable blood."(Crowther, 1960) Here is where the signiture shower scene happened, I have to make mention of the editing which is absolutely spot on, it leaves the majority of the vicera to the imagination whilst proscribing enough that we know exactly what happened. The blood swirling down the skink is another genious touch. I also noticed that it avoided the mighty pitfall of modern slasher films, no, not the pitfall of 'show every wound being inflicted' its the pitfall of 'woman being killed in shower? okay, cue gratuitous nudity!' pitfall. I mean really, who wants to see boobs in a slasher film? It's not a blue flick, it adds nothing to the film.

Fig 5


I just love the way Bates carries on with his life after clearing up the slashed corpse of  Marrion, dumping everything into her car and pushing it into the swamp, a week later when a private detective asks him about it he dismisses it offhand initially rather than turning into a complete mess (ala Phillip from 'Rope'). Variety magazine picked up how his character is so nutty in their review; "Perkins gives a remarkably effective in-a-dream kind of performance as the possessed young man." (Variety, 1960) Possesed is truely the right word, in the latter half of the film Perkin's shows how he is a high calibre actor what with the sudden changes in tone and character mid sentence and his silent nutty stillness at the end of the picture makes it an A class performance.



One more gratuitous quote from the late, great Mr Crowther:

"The one thing we would note with disappointment is that, among the stuffed birds that adorn the motel office of Mr. Perkins, there are no significant bats." (Crowther, 1960)

Illustrations:

Fig 1. Movie poster for 'Psycho' 1960 [digital image] at http://verdoux.wordpress.com/film-poster-archive-the-sixties/ (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 2. Movie still from 'Psycho' 1960 [digital image] at http://thisdistractedglobe.com/2007/10/31/psycho-1960/ (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 3. Movie stills of the shower scene in 'Psycho' 1960 [digital image] at http://cinephilefix.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/hitchcocks-symphony-psycho-a-shot-by-shot-commentary/ (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 4. Movie still from Psycho 1960 [digital image] at http://www.listal.com/list/fuckedup-characters (accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 5 Movie still from Psycho 1960 [digital image] at http://thisdistractedglobe.com/2007/10/31/psycho-1960/ (Accessed 7/2/2011)


Bibliography:
Crowther, Boseley. Review of 'Psycho' for the New York Times archived online at http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/061760hitch-psycho-review.html (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Jenkins, David. Review of 'Psycho' 1960 for Time Out London. http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/71535/psycho.html Published 7/04/2010 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Variety Magazine, Review of 'Psycho' 1960 archived online at http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117794202?refcatid=31 (Accessed 7/2/2011)



Addendum

I have to say that that as I watched the signiture shower scene I was thinking "HERE'S YOUR PAPER!"

Film Review: Rope (1948) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Rope



Plot Summary:
"Brandon and Philip are two young men who share a New York apartment. They consider themselves intellectually superior to their friend David Kentley and as a consequence decide to murder him. Together they strangle David with a rope and placing the body in an old chest, they proceed to hold a small party. The guests include David's father, his fiancée Janet and their old schoolteacher Rupert from whom they mistakenly took their ideas. As Brandon becomes increasingly more daring, Rupert begins to suspect." (Needham)


Review:


Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope' is afilm adaptation of the 1929 play also called 'Rope' by Patrick Hamilton.In the film Hitchcock takes a most daring take in regards to shooting and editing; that is to make the film appear more of a 'film play' by hiding all the cuts and keeping the shots continuous, making it appear as one 80 minute long take.

Fig 2
The only room that the film takes place in


The move to make such an 'unedited' film was not well received at the time as Bosely Crowther of the New York Times writes "And, with due regard for his daring (and for that of Transatlantic Films), one must bluntly observe that the method is neither effective nor does it appear that it could be. For apart from the tedium of waiting or someone to open that chest and discover the hidden body which the hosts have tucked away for the sake of a thrill, the unpunctuated flow of image becomes quite monotonous." (Crowther, 1948).

Despite it's unpopularity in the 1940's, more contemporary audience's have understood the trick and appreciate it for what it is, as Vincent Canby, again a reviewer for the New York Times wrote in his review "It's not that "Rope" doesn't eventually take sides... "Rope" has taken in the events of the story in the manner of a cat that, ignored by the guests, ambles freely around the apartment - the film's single set - appearing to be bored, completely uninterested in the action, but not missing a trick." (Canby, 1984). This is the view of the film that I agreed with. Although Crowther has a point, at time's the length of shot does take it's toll, the story and suspense keeps the film alive. The way the camera moves in and around the set gives the viewer a sense of being a 'fly on the wall', or just a 'fly'. The voyouristic feeling makes what is happening much more chilling that it would otherwise be, watching the two young men propagate Nietzsche's superman theory.

The other force driving the suspense and keeping the film from becoming stagnant is the actors; specifically the two murderers, Brandon and Phllip, and their old teacher Rupert. John Dall plays the character of Brandon perfectly as a daring, charming and carismatic elitist host of the party whilst his partner in crime, Phillip, is portrayed by Farley Granger as his much more guilt ridden. Phillip's guilt starts to make his calm facade crack during the party giving a real suspense over when the mask will fail completely and comes clean to Rupert.

Fig 3
The suspense is built up mostly between Brandon, Phillip and their ex headmaster Rupert


Rupert, is Brandon and Phillip's prep-school master, the one who first sowed the seeds that lead to the murder because of his belief that intellectual superiors should have the right to kill the inferior. He is shrewd, cunning and above all amazingly entertaining to watch dissect the situation; he picks up on all the little trip ups, tense moments and heated exchanges between Brandon, Phillip and the rest of the guests. The reviewers at Variety magazine wrote about James Stewart's perfrmance in their appraisla of the film "James Stewart, as the ex-professor who first senses the guilt of his former pupils and nibbles away at their composure with verbal barbs, does a commanding job."(Variety Staff, 1947) I think the effectiveness of his part is boosted by the lack of editing, every time that Ruper is in the shot you just know that he is pondering over what is happening, waiting for it all to fall into place and making calculated incisions into the other character's social faces; it is much akin to watching a great white shark approaching some seals, it dives deep under its prey and waits for the oppertune moment before striking.

Fig 4
Rupert (3rd from left) is always looking, always calculating

Overall an awesome watch, there's suspense and comical wit abound. In fact I'd probably watch it again just to see Rupert's parts...
Rupert Cadell: Brandon has told me a lot about you.
Janet Walker: Did he do me justice?
Rupert Cadell: Do you deserve justice?


Illustrations:


Fig1. Poster for 'Rope' 1948 [digital image] at http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/catalog/soundtrackdetail.php?movieid=14377 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 2 Photo on the set of 'Rope' 1948 [digital image] at http://www.imdb.com/media/rm476289024/tt0040746 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 3 Movie still from 'Rope' 1948 [digital image] at http://www.aintitcool.com/node/42051(Accessed 7/2/2011)

Fig 4 Movie still from 'Rope' 1948 [digital image] at http://codeknown.blogspot.com/2008/01/rope-1948-alfred-hitchcock.html (Accessed 7/2/2011)



Bibliography:



Canby, Vincent. Review of 'Rope' for the New York Times, archived online. http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/060384hitch-rope-reflection.html Published June 1984 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Crowther, Boseley. Review of 'Rope' for the New York Times, archived online. http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/081748hitch-rope-review.html Published August 1948 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Needham, Col. Plot summary taken from IMDB.com, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040746/plotsummary (Accessed 4/3/2011)

Variety Staff, Review of 'Rope' for Variety Magazine archived online. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117794569?refcatid=31 Published December 1947 (Accessed 7/2/2011)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Film Review: La Jetée Dir. Chris Marker

La Jetée

(fig1)


Directed by Chris marker


Synopsis:

"In a devastated Paris in the aftermath of WWIII, The few surviving humans begin researching time travel, hoping to send someone back to the pre-war world for food, supplies and maybe a solution to their dire position. One man is haunted by a vague childhood memory that will prove fateful."(Cassady)

Review:

Set in a post apocalyptic Paris, the aftermath of world war three has forced survivors underground whilst the victors of the war rule over the uninhabitable radioactive surface. A man who is plagued by a childhood memory of a woman and a dying man on an airport jetée (french for jetty or pier).

The film is a photomontage, made up almost entriely from photo stills. A brave move which only just pays off. Damian Cannon puts in his review "By altering the time for which each shot is held (at times a quick succession of similar images approximates to film) a tight grasp of pace and a certain level of suspense is achieved"(Cannon, 1997). Indeed it appears as though the images move fluidly, their stillness masked by the narrative and subtlety. The lenght of time each image is held for is perfectly excecuted with dissolves and hard cuts that make sense and give a nice timing to the film.


Fig 2

An author for Time Out London, credited as DT said "... the fluid montage leads the viewer into the sensation of watching moving images. Until, that is, an extraordinary epiphany when an image genuinely does move: the man's sleeping lover opens her eyes"(DT). Indeed the sensation is quite surreal, knowing full well that the film is 99% still image yet perceiving it entirely as a moving image. The feeling is quite surreal and is probably the only reason the film can get away with it. The moment where we are treated to 'real' film is striking, I personally jumped slightly as I was amazed by the clarity and grittyness of the photographs and looking quite intently when the woman's eye's moved.


The best analogy for it is to make reference to street actors, those who pretend to be statues and then when the audience is least expecting it they move, or jump out. It's not expected and when it happens exclamations abound!



The use of stock photo's from previous wars, the pacing, use of props and grainy film stock really emphasise the post apocalyptic future depicted . Both DT and Cannon mention this; "Marker uses monochrome images recognisably from the past, such as the ruins of Europe after WWII, and with a few small props and effects, subtly suggests a future environment"(DT) "... this effect is achieved through the choice of superlative black & white photographs; these are grainy enough and shot in such a way that the immediate impression is of wartime photojournalism whilst the events captured suggest far more than they illustrate." (Cannon, 1997). I agree that the shots of the 'present' destroyed Paris is very reminiscient of photojournalism and compounds the story as well as giving it credibility. The style helps to suspend disbelief in a story that if summarised is quite wild.

Fig 4


James Travers equates the film to a documentary, "Marker’s approach to this film gives it the feel of a documentary, bringing a shocking sense of realism..." (James Travers, 2000). Although the film does have some slight documentary elements I feel that Cannon has the right of it; there is more photojournalism to the piece than documentary. The lack of facts, important people and important dates detracts from its validaty as a faux future documentary piece.



Images:

Fig 1. Cover art for La Jetée [digital image] At: http://www.ballardian.com/images/cover.jpg. (Accessed 2/3/2011)

Fig 2 Movie stills of La Jetée [digital image] At: http://toto99.totoblog.com/category/Kinema (Accessed 2/3/2011)

Fig 3 Movie still from La Jetée [digital image] At http://www.thebostonbachelor.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/la-jetee-man-2.png (Accessed 2/3/2011)

Fig 4 Movie still from La Jetée [digital image] At http://sebald.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/la-jetee-orly.jpg (Accessed 2/3/2011)


Bibliography:

Cannon, Damien. Review for Movie Reviews UK. http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Reviews/Jetee.html Published 1997 (Accessed 3/2/2011)

Cassady, Marty. IMDB Plot Summary of La Jetée, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056119/plotsummary(Accessed 3/2/2011)

Crowther, Bosely. Review for the New York Times,http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D04EFDD113CE53BBC4E52DFB766838C679EDE&partner=Rotten Tomatoes. Published January 16th 1976 (Accessed 3/2/2011)


DT. Film review at Time Out London, http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/77181/la_jetee.html (accessed 3/2/2011)

Travers, James. Review for Filmes De France. http://filmsdefrance.com/FDF_La_Jetee_rev.html. Published 2000 (Accessed 3/2/2011)

Cranking out a couple of ideas

I'm trying to simulateously create characters whilst forming a story... It's kinda working but it all needs to come together so here's my story  plot:

Characters:
A down and out door to door salesman, recently divorced/widower/other tragic or otherwise stressful eventee

The Boss; the man our saleman reports to/licks shoes etc

Joe on the phone; the salesman's best (if not only friend) whos is never seen but heard on the phone

Townsfolk; behind the doors of every house lives on of these

Clownsfolk; who else populates a circus?


Plot (has anyone seen it?)

a stressed out salesman is told by his boss that he'll be fired unless he shifts 200 units (i.e. packs of superglue) by the end of the day because of his recent poor sales figures. The salesman needs the job, his rent is backed up, bills are drowning his etc

He sets out and is unsuccessful 99% of the time. Doors slam, people yell abuse, one even fires a shotgun at him yelling 'gerrof my land!' (or words to that effect)

He calls Joe On The Phone, his trustworthy (mostly offensive) only best friend who suggests the circus that is in town, saying how he had success there in the past (backstory is that he used to be a used nose dealer, HAR HAR!)

the salesman dashes off, having only sold 50 packs of superglue

The clowns reject his sales pitches and squirt him with water flowers, throw pies at him etc.

Salesman gets a call from The Boss, checking up on him. Hearing of his still poor performance he demands the salesman return to the office to hand in his suitcase and badge. The salesman hangs up, looking at his phone he hurls it to the ground at his feet and gives it an alighty stomp, throws away his tie and rips off his name badge.

Cut to night/late evening in the Boss's office; The Boss is relaxing in a large executive chair facing away from the door with a large 'something on the rocks'. The salesman quietly opens the door and stealths up behind The Boss and kills him with some tubes of superglue.

I'm taking influence from the film Falling Down with Micheal Douglas. I'm thinking possibly in the style of a graphic novel/sin city/ film noir with a really gritty textural feel.

theres also this news story which is related:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1164774/Door-door-salesman-fined-flipping-harassing-pensioners-rejected-double-glazing-pitch.html

Must think positive...

Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive
Must think positive

Else the demons will eat my face...