Krystian Morgan's blog featuring motion graphics, short film experiments and feature film.

By Krystian Jul.24.2011
In: Blog, Theory and Thoughts
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Recollection and Introspection

guitar boy

I’ve been in an unusual good mood lately, one that has so far sustained itself for the longest period that I can remember. I’ve been introspecting and recollecting the past few years from 2008 to present and it’s been a nice an uplifting task in recalling the different eras (as they felt) and what kind of mind set I was in at those times, both good and bad. It really has been a experience where I can look at it from both a personal and objective standpoint and close a book on a few things and be comfortable in moving forward. Of all things this journey was set in motion through my emails, Importing them from one account to another and seeing slowly the conversations pop-up from 2008 to present and given many little bursts of memory, being transported back in time to a time when those emails were of the upmost concern in my life, seeing moments in time that were high points and also seeing times when I was at my most stressed out and having to ground myself through hard emails to read and write. It was nice to see that the majority were on the good side of the fence. A lot of things that temporarily got filed at the back of my mind and forgotten brought forward before my eyes and bringing a cheery reminiscence of, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that, that was really a great moment’. It put into perspective all the crazy stuff that has happened since 2008 and how it’s great to be able to keep improving day to day and trucking on forward hoping to be running on the good side of the fence more often than the bad.

I wrote 6011 words in a single stretch about it all, putting it to rest, that felt good too, both cathartic and motivating.

I have the combined feelings of upmost fear and upmost excitement about what is going on around today: 24th July 2011 and the remainder of this year. There’s a lot of things in the unknown but the potential of it all is hard not to pontificate with a wide-eyed fascination.

By Krystian Jan.3.2011
In: Blog, Theory and Thoughts
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Little changes to Increase Productivity

Today has been one of the most productive days I’ve had on working on the film. I’ve had a little dry patch due to too much expectation on certain things and also too much focus on other projects. For some reason I early on had a sweep of motivation. I decided to re-organise my computer a little, doing a couple of little things that should make things a little easier to focus on, ironically it’s partially due to making the screen uglier and harder to navigate.

1, Flat colour desktop background – It’s clean and irritating to look at, makes me focus on the task at hand and not the ‘pretty’ background.

2, Dock is set to right – I work in two monitors… soon to be three. It’s now hard to get to the dock which is good as it used to be like almost muscle memory to check my emails and feeds every five minutes, I now have to cover alot of ground to get to it, and it’s out of the way enough that I don’t check nearly as regularly…

3, Turing notifications off – I did this a while ago but it make a vast difference. Going into the preferences of all apps like twitter, email, RSS readers and turning off any sound or growl indications of new content.

4, Unsubscribing to annoying newsletters – I used to get a lot of newsletter emails daily, most I don’t read but I do take time to open as I hate the unread counter. Also I’m looking to saving money to put directly into the film so don’t want to impulsively buy crap. If i subscribed to something for memory (I’ll use this one day) I’m sure I’ll find the service again, I don’t need to bugged now.

5, Lowering standards – I’m lowering my standards a little to get things down. I have to remember that this film is an animation after all, it’s not all about the shoot and I can redo stuff if I need to and can improve it when it’s there. I’ve been too focused on getting things perfect first time which is a bit overkill. This is even true in pre-production stages like storyboarding, I mean storyboards don’t have to look ‘good’ as long as they’re understandable and get the idea across why spend anytime on them? (especially as I don’t plan on sticking religiously to them). Letting the pressure down a little in order to work more and enjoy the work that I do.

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By Krystian Dec.13.2010
In: Blog, Inspiration, Theory and Thoughts
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Resident Evil (Game) Remake 2002

A week’s gone by and I’m still very much looking into the potential of using 3D for the entire animation process. I need to weigh up the pros and cons of each possibility whether it be 3D, 2D or hybrids. The reason for this question now is because 2 years ago when I made the decision to use 2D in a faux 3D world was because ‘true’ 3D was way beyond my ability at that time. It’s still a little advanced for me, but overall I’ve improved so much in using 3D softwares on a daily basis, really beginning to feel comfortable working 3D and understanding lighting, rendering and modelling better each day. I feel like an intensive study and trial and error over a few months could get me to a level where I could pull it off. Plus everything id project base. If I was to create the entire film in this way I would get better and better the more I work on it, and previous scenes can be easily updated to keep the quality consistent.

Watching The Polar Express for the first time today reminded me of the Resident Evil Remake opening video. I remember being blown away seeing this for the first time, I loved the realism the colour and mood from it, it was the first time I saw the potential for 3D in more darker stories. I’m still very impressed with it. I may have to pull out my Gamecube and relive it once more. I remember the whole game being very beautifully coloured and textured. Very cinematic.

Luckily for me, the majority of the script (as it currently stands) is very feasible to create in 3D. For instance, alot of indoors a lot of dialogue and action is very to the point for the most point. There are some definite stand out scenes though which are very minimal in the film’s timeline which will be an absolute nightmare to animate in 3D. The one I’m thinking of in particular is very visually appealing and interesting and I don’t want to settle for something easier on it. Obviously an idea would be to leave these last scenes to last (which I will whatever process I use).

I’m going to look into the potential of hiring someone to create the characters (rigged) for me so I could just drop them into scenes ready to animate. As I’ve mentioned before I have a modest cast of characters in the film so it seems like an actual option for me. I could design the drawn turnarounds and work out the colours etc.. beforehand and hand over to the experts to conform to an industry standard 3D model. I’ll inquire this week.

Send me an email if you’re a 3D character modeller/rigger, or know of one.

By Krystian Oct.25.2010
In: Blog, Theory and Thoughts
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Thoughts on Writing a First Screenplay.

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There’s a lot I can say on this subject and there is a lot that has already been written on this subject. I don’t necessarily believe there is one way, when doing a little research into screenwriting I sparingly took advice and more went with what I felt was right for me. Hopefully if you are looking for some info and thoughts on screenplay writing, this will offer a different perspective and minus any BS.

How It All Started and Not Listening.
So, I committed to the plan of making a feature film. I wanted to write it as apposed to adapting or using someone else’s script. I really wanted my own story something that felt mine during production, I wanted it to feel like only I could do it (in a weird way). I’m a stubborn person in my goals so I knew I would complete it, my worry was that it wouldn’t be good, I’d be unhappy with the final piece and a lot of time would have been wasted. It’s also very disheartening reading on various writing sites that when you finish your first script, ‘Throw it in the bin, and start on something new’, the idea that a first script cannot be good or worthwhile. Personally I think that’s a very scary and limiting thought that is easy to say when you’re a person who has written 10 scripts, but for some one knee deep into their first, what is the motivation to complete it and how does it impact your writing with that in your head – that it’s going to be disposed of shortly after?

Little Research.
Regarding research, I didn’t really do all that much. The main thing I looked up was formatting, how a script is organised, between actions, dialogues and transitions etc… and again I very loosely learned this, not particularly worried if It wasn’t 100% right as I’m self producing it, not submitting for purchase. I soon found that if you use a script writing software, it pretty much does all the work for you. I really liked Robert Rodriguez’s thoughts on making mistakes and how writing with little knowledge will likely lead you with original results and not a cookie cutter hollywood script. As someone who’s very much into films, I understand three act structure and what works but is predictable so I didn’t read into anything on actual story development as I didn’t want to be too influenced by others. As for reading other scripts, I downloaded a few on my computer, but I used them more again for formatting reference and have only read one script other than mine all the way through prior to writing (and that was for something unrelated). What I found from reading a script from start to finish is, ‘Wow, that was really quick’. The page formatting allows for a really fluid and easy read which made the idea of being able to write one myself all the more achievable.

Story Develop…….ment.
I think the way I started was unique from the way most people would think of starting. I basically said to myself, ‘I’m going to write a script. So write it’. When I started and sat in front of my computer on the first day, I had absolutely no story whatsoever. No characters, no scenes. The only thing I had was an image of this fantastical place in my head that I thought was very striking and that was my starting point. Everything just came from that. It definitely wasn’t easy at first, I found like most things that writing is something you can condition. Once you get into the zone of coming up with ideas and defiling the page with a 100 words per second you have exercised those skills to a point where there’s no writers block and you can sit down with a cockiness of not knowing what to expect but knowing it will be something. Starting off for me was very hard, I didn’t write with a genre in mind, infact the type of film I was making shifted many times during the writing process to where it is now. Coming up with ideas early on was very, very hard because I was untrained in doing that, but it just got easier and easier as time went on. I now feel like I could outline an entirely new script after I finish this post.

Deadline Set. Go!
I felt I would benefit from a deadline, I definitely wanted a year to really let the ideas ferment over a long time to ensure that I was still happy with them and to look at the writing from many angles and give it a true effort. I scheduled a script consultation early on, which costs money and is an outside element for me to adhere to. This helped a lot.

Hardest Thing to Overcome.
Early on in the writing process I was avoiding the actual page, I loved the outlining process and did it for the scenes and the whole story alike many times, I also used tools like evernote for if inspiration struck on the train, I could make a note of it to remember later. I did so many things that procrastinated writing that in the end I felt I was over-prepared and going in circles fearing the page. I was happy every time I got a scene down and finished. It’s one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had, I’d outline what I’d expect the scene to entail, but when It came down to the actual writing It was as if the character’s were alive and had other plans, they did their own thing and took the story into their directions it was quite exciting and new to me, but also quite scary. I had this strange idea that it’s all to do with timing, ‘If I sit down now as apposed to in an hour or the next day will what I get down be as good, as I know it would be completely different if I left it a day? That was definitely the hardest thing for me to get over, worrying would writing now would be better or worse than if I did it later? Thankfully the deadline forced me to sit down and write nonetheless and I’m happy with the results.

And Now.
I had the script consultation on September 30th 2010. I was really nervous, I was worried that what I had written was actually just crap and a waste of a year, and just a roadblock on the film. Luckily for me it went alot better than I had hoped, I got given some great advice on what worked well and what could be improved, and everything made alot of sense to me. I was told that my 3rd act was fine and I could pretty much leave that as it is. Some suggestions that were made was to not be so Director-oriented on my actions and also not write so articulately and explaining with some of my character’s dialogue. Pretty simple stuff really. I was suggested to do two passes, one for the action, which is basically keeping it the same but more simple, and also a story pass to add some extra intrigue and elements into the first and second acts. These wont take me long to do at all, I’ve done the drafts in my head and they just need to be put on paper. In ink, not Berol.

I can honestly say I love writing, and will start some more writing endeavours soon too, such as shorts and other features.

Useful Links:

Writer’s Store – The best place for everything screen writing including printing goods.
Script Formatting – I didn’t use this place, but seems to describe formatting easily.
Daily Script – Great place to read produced film screenplays.
Evernote – Great note taking app for mobile and desktop.

By Krystian Oct.11.2010
In: Blog, Theory and Thoughts
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Why Animation? Part 2

Welcome back. In the last post I briefly described some of the reasons why I decided that using animation as my film’s medium would best suit me at this current juncture. Here is the following illustrating 4 more thoughts and considerations I took when making this choice. I’ve had ideas for a year now of what it will actually look like, thinking along the lines of other animated films that have been released, but honestly, I think the look and feel of it will be very new and unique, and it has to be because the script isn’t really a traditional animated story, it could be filmed, and 9 times out of ten would be. One of the hardest challenges I’ll have is actually making the look suit the type of story it is. In upcoming weeks you’ll start seeing the look develop as I try and experiment with looks and ideas, different techniques and technologies to see what works best from both a point of animating this amount of work and also looking right.

5. Work from home.pallette.jpg
I find this a huge advantage, the ability to spend time, in my own home-workplace, feeling free and comfortable to try ideas and different avenues, I don’t need to go off-site except to record dialogue and foley. So I have the ability to work at my own pace, with deadlines set by me and not predicated on costs of rented space or times of animators/editors. I plan to keep as much in-house as possible, including aspects that are not directly in the film, such as the supporting blog, videos etc…

6. Labor of love.
I don’t know what the future hold for me, I know I want to make films, I don’t know whether I will continue independently or be able to harbour support from a studio in the future. And I don’t like the term ‘Independent Film’, I think even though it’s not the literal translation but it does suggest a negative connotation of amateur, unpolished, cheap, this is something that I don’t want associated with the picture. I want it to look professional, unique and expensive. I want all aspects to be tip-top, good voice recordings – with good acting, good original soundtrack, and the actual images too, I want it to look great. It’s a labor of love. I always hear horror stories of studios butting-in, getting final cut, and altering the filmmaker’s vision, I really don’t want that happening to me.

7. Self Fundcoins2.jpg
I’ve already mentioned about the cheapness of creating animation primarily by myself, or maybe a small dedicated team. The self funding is really something that I’m shooting for at this given time, I’d like to feel comforted that I will own 100% of the rights of the film from beginning to end. If I own it 100% that gives me alot of options for how and what I choose to do with the film, I can say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to things at will, without the influence I might have with an investor who takes a chunk of the film in exchange for fully or partially funding it when at the moment it seems unnecessary. Also it’s going to be fun to think of creative ways around problems without the freedom of just throwing money at it.

8. Animation is more international.
Animation is produced all over the world, and no matter what continent it comes from, it rarely feels alien or separate from our cultures. I can watch a Miyazaki film and it feels universal to me, but of course it has the Japanese influence so it feels like a unique experience without being completely alien. I glober_green.jpgbelieve this has a lot to do with the caricature nature of animation, figures and designs are simple, idealised and it’s a lot easier to relate with that base. Plus with dubbing voices in other languages. Animation rarely comes across like the old Kung-Fu film imports the mouths seem to line up with the many languages much easier, as it’s not real, it’s an impression of real. In the hypothetical situation that I have the ability to get an international distributor in the future. For a studio it must be re-assuring that they can re-dub very easily in whatever language they wish, and it stand up the same as the original English version.

So there you have it, that’s my reasoning for the choice. It certainly wasn’t an easy one to make but I’m sure in a year or two I’ll still be confident that it was the right one. The next few upcoming posts will likely be very much geared towards the writing aspect as it’s the stage that I’m currently exiting and is most fresh to me at the moment and have a lot to say about.

I hope you enjoy the site and following my journey of actually putting the theory into practice and making this film a reality.

Miss Part 1? Click here to view it.

Stay tuned for next week’s post entitled, ‘1, Pre Production Update’.