Thursday, July 9, 2009

TFS- Story Development Process, Part 3

You are to be rewarded, patient reader.

I now want to write about the specific story I ended up going with; the story that got the "green light," and wound up going into production. But the trick at this point in things (with the film still unfinished, until early 2010) is that I don't want to reveal the whole story.

One thing I constantly caution senior animation students against is guarding their ideas TOO closely, so let me expand on the "why" of my choice to hold the story a bit close (even though the story development part of the project is long done).

I firmly believe that if you don't get it (your story) on a table to get feedback at early stages, your story will have holes and problems and areas that lack clarity to the audience that you'll never catch. You need other eyes on it, right from the beginning. But WHOSE eyes? I think you need to be very careful about this. I'm in favour of a very selected few, to whom you return for further feedback, as the story develops. You need to share it, but in a controlled fashion, so as to preserve that raw, primal energy the story still has.

But my story is well past that early, embryonic stage, right? So why not dish?

I am certainly in favour of dishing out an entire tale to certain people during the development process. That includes the entire story, from beginning to end, and then rough storyboards, final storyboards, animatic... but beyond that, I am a firm believer that filmmakers are like magicians. The anticipation of that "ta-da!" moment when we unveil the finished piece to an audience is an undeniable part of the process. And so in a desire to have something special to reveal, I'm keeping a bit tight-lipped about the specifics of the story, at least on this blog. There are those that are in the know, and they've helped the story tremendously. They know who they are (and they know that soon I will have to collect them in a room and shoot them one by one, so they do not reveal my secrets).

A short aside on picking the "chosen ones" that will help with feedback on your story. I certainly do NOT think these eyes have to belong (necessarily) to MASTER STORYTELLERS. I think what's more important is that the eyes belong to people you trust, who will give you the straight scoop, and who have no sneaky motives, other than helping you develop a clear, awesome story. And so you could have as part of your story team a filmmaker, your Grandmother, and the mailman. In fact, I recommend someone who has no visual storytelling experience beyond what the average media viewer has (hence the mailman suggestion). That person will have the most honest eyes you can imagine, and will give you very straight and honest feedback regarding what is NOT clear or powerful.

Of course, having a powerful and experience storyboarding artist on hand to advise would also be a great idea, but not one that is always possible!

Anyway, without further ado- I say to you, dear reader, "Tune in for the next entry, if you REALLY want to know the specifics of the story idea I went with."

Look, I know I keep leading you on, but I can't help it that I have a lot to write about, and the last thing I want to do is post massive (more massive than what I'm already posting) entries that exhaust the reader and lose their impact, just cause they are novel-length. And it's my hope that even though I'm putting off getting specific, this stuff DOES all lead somewhere, and I'm pretty sure it has tidbits and thoughts that are helpful or thought- provoking in their own right. The innards of story development are so complex and multi-layered, and is of such interest to me, that's just the way it goes- I'm simply going to write a LOT, about something I am really passionate about.

Also- my little boy is soon to wake up from his nap. And since HE'S the real boss (and won't let me write on my blog when he's awake, cause he wants to play 24/7), and cause if I don't keep an eye on him he tends to destroy our home and/or his physical body, I have to wrap it up.

I hereby vow, the next Story Development entry will get down and dirty.


jriggity said...

Looking forward to it man!


Darkstrider said...

Hey, get down and bring on the dirty stories!!!

Er.... wait, I guess that's not what you meant....


ChrisW said...