Sunday, 16 January 2011

Pixar-research post

An interview with Ed catmul on the process behind the dvelopment of their films.

From 5.03 Ed makes a a very good point, one I've struggled to come to terms with.
Since I've come to the animation departmet to finish off my degree, I've had a nervous habit of hiding my work from the light of day; I've been very defensive and sunk a great deal of my time into materials tests that I thought would be much more acceptable and less ugly than concept art. I've been put off designing on paper and instead been swayed by the idea of specifying the mechanical needs of the puppet.

I really need to get past this mental block I have, Ed's point regards the the trouble I've faced; he talks about switching between two perspectives for designing the architecture of a building. Building from the outside in and vuilding from the inside out; I've been with designing my film on paper and frustrated with designing my film based on my technical possibilities. He (30:38) mentions that until you can 'articulate' an idea in a concise statement you may not move forward without a fear of change. This is one of the failings of my process; I rejected the story and concept of my film as the backbone of my production. I tried to isolate the elements of my project and perfect them individually.

For this reason the momentum left my project; elements that should be informing each other; research, materials tests and design, did not add to each other and 'cross-polinate'. The use of materials might lead to a need for research into alternative character clothing for example, which might lead to ideas for new charactor traits.

This interview with the key directors and founders of Pixar, including Ed Catmull,
supports this view at the professional level.

Andrew stanton mentions the need for momentum in a creative project; (paraphrasing)
a project is like a shark; if it loses momentum it dies. You need to keep making mistakes and not be afraid of making them quickly, otherwise you will have no time to make them and lose the chance to learn.


I have felt a great amount of guilt as it feels like I have done very little work on this project; however it has become apparent that I needed to make a very large mistake regarding my learning process (as described before) at this stage. If I had not, my work may be confused and pull in too many directions. I've come to realise that this mistake making process is essential to making a good, compelling film.
I've seen plenty of other students reference research but in mediums outside of stop-motion, it seems a lot more plausible that they can produce large productions with great scope, that would otherwise require an excess of material.

I've realised that a great deal of my concentration has focused on the development of my animatic and prop designs. Many more of my mistakes have been made trying to prove the plausibility of a compelling narrative using the materials and time that I have for production. I've been forced to redefine what I would consider research and look at materials tests as my primary research.

I feel less guilt now; i simply regret not realising this during the rush towards asessment.

I cant wait to make my film, especially when i relise that most of the mistakes and research are still to come; making working puppets is going to involve just as much research (mistakes making) during production as it dis in pre-production.

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