Monday April 22nd
Today we left El Paso to make the long journey across the state of Texas. Our drive was over 12 hours long. We were driving a completely different route than our drive to California, but we still found that Texas does rest stops right.
These playgrounds are needed exercise for the kids on the long drive.
I think that dangerous animals love the rest stops in Texas as much as we do.
Tuesday April 23rd
I put in more than a full day of work, but took my wife and son out for a fun evening without the chaos of the girls. We watched the amazing musical, "Wicked."
I bought the soundtrack last summer, and was blown away by the songs. As a story exercise I wrote down what I thought was the entire story in an outline. I had my son read my outline on the drive home, after the play. I was amazed that I was 100% accurate.
I even shot reference for a potential shot I wanted to animate to the song, "Dancing Through Life." I acted out the scene very closely to the way they performed it in the play without ever seeing the show before. I'm glad I decided not to animate that shot because it would have not come across as a performance I created, but merely my interpretation of the original.
We thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Wednesday April 24th
Today I enjoyed watching a little of "Wreck-It-Ralph" with the kids. Sometimes I watch movies for fun, but today I took the opportunity to study the camera work and layout.
In this shot I am looking at composition. I feel this shot is a great example of framing.
If you black out the elements they are using to frame the two focal points you see they've created a diagonal with the wall behind Ralph and the floor behind the Surge Protector. These elements tie the two subjects together and also limit the area of interest on the screen so we know where we should be looking.
These elements also establish a flow between the two focal points, Ralph being the primary focal point, and the Surge Protector being the secondary. Notice how size and color create a natural level of importance in visual weight on the screen.
In the following shots we see Ralph framed slightly off center, to the left. Our eyes are naturally drawn to his eye mask, so when the camera cuts to the next shot we move our attention to the boy and girl in yellow. The movement of Frogger into frame grabs our focus next. Dig Dug begins digging for safety, and we digest that without looking at it since we are still looking to see what Frogger is going to do. Frogger then jumps toward the hole Dig Dug made further clarifying his action. The characters are framed with the design on the floor and the background characters. The use of color helps the three focal points stand out as well.
All of this happens quickly to create a sense of chaotic reaction to the "bad guy", but at the same time it all registers because it is controlled chaos.
Ralph continues eating his cherry and then Sonic delivers some important plot information in a very clever way. They are using a simple tracking camera, following Ralph through Game Central Station. This shot starts out with Sonic as the focal point in the background telling us that you should be safe and alert when outside your game. The focus transfers from Sonic to the Dig Dug baddies who walk in front of Ralph, which in-turn helps us transfer our focus on the foreground screen explaining if you die outside your game, you don't regenerate, and then they put a nice end button with Sonic saying "Game Over!"
What a cool way to show how characters travel outside their game, which fills in details about their world, and delivers needed plot information to the audience. It all serves the story.
Check out the T-Rex from "Meet the Robinsons" behind Ralph.
Thursday April 25th
Today was a super busy work day, and I have to admit I didn't do anything special to become a stronger storyteller. :(
Friday April 26th
I have been kicking around an idea that I have been wanting to get off the ground. I decided it would be fun to involve the whole family in the process of creating this project. I won't say too much about it in this post, but today we had our first production meeting during lunch.
We assigned our roles for the project, and ironed out the things we would need to do and tools we'd need to buy to get started.
I also read Chapter 8 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.
Saturday April 27th
Today I spent time writing for the project I mentioned above. It is fun putting new stories together.
I also read Chapter 9 of "A Challenge for the Actor" by Uta Hagen.
Sunday April 28th
Today I shot some reference for a shot that I plan to animate. This is fastest way for me to find a character. I feel like I came across some interesting ideas, but I am not completely happy with where the performance is yet. I'll be shooting more reference next week.
Anthony and Kyra like to help me with my reference, so here's Kyra standing in for the girl character in my shot.
Mommy, what is wrong with daddy?
This was a good way to get back into gear. I think I could have done more, but with work and family duties I think this was a decent week.