Short Film and Animation blog.
Before we broke up for Christmas we had two very exciting opportunities to write short scripts and actually see our work made by other students at Central St Martins. The first project is a short 2 minute film, which is to be made by a second year student on the BA Directing course. The second project is a 3 minute animation which will be the graduation project for the students on the MA Character Animation. Both involved some of the scariest things we’ve had to do as writers – speed pitch our ideas!
2 Minute Film
We brainstormed and devised an idea that would work as a 2 minute film, ideally shot locally with the minimum of fuss as there is no budget. Once we’d polished our ideas and given each other feedback, we ventured into the directors’ rehearsal room and had to give a ten minute pitch to each director about our idea, and also sell ourselves. It was one of those exercises that you know helps you develop as a writer but it was pretty terrifying and once we’d spoken to all six directors we were exhausted and felt rather battered.
The directors then sent us feedback, and we said who we’d like to work with. We were then paired up, and the collaborative process began.
I met with my director and we had a very long chat about my pitch and our thoughts on how the script could go. Since I was working from a premise rather than a short story idea we tried out lots of ideas, before I took away all my notes and spent Christmas drafting various versions of it. I didn’t realize that writing a 2 minute film could take so long – I now have a pile of ideas and characters that weren’t quite right for this film but I could use in the future, and I am hoping that I will be able to write a second script for my director and film it at some point.
Many of us found that our directors had queries about our initial scripts, mine wasn’t what the director was expecting so I went back to the drawing board, mulled over all my ideas and rewrote it. We read out our work in class and got feedback from each other which was hugely useful, but by this point I had total fatigue with the script and couldn’t see what worked and what didn’t. So I took out the main plot points that were essential, put them into a five act structure then rewrote it without reviewing my original draft. I felt this made a much stronger, much more structured script. My director loved it, and apart from having to kill off one character and some dialogue in the monologues to make it a bit shorter there was little that needed changing. It’s currently on draft number 7!
We’re arranging now the filming schedule, casting is fantastic fun and my director has a wonderful eye for finding just the right people. It’s extremely bizarre to put so much into a script then sit in the Platform Theatre Bar having a drink with the actor who’s going to play your characters, it’s like being able to step into your script and chat to all the people you’ve created in your head. It’s been wonderful to work with some very talented people and to have all the directors, actors and filmmakers right in the same building as you.
We’ve been so excited to work with the MA Character Animation students on their 3 minute final project animation, and many of us have decided that writing for animation would be something we’d like to pursue as a career. As there are 32 animation students and only 10 of us we’ve had the opportunity to work with 3 animators each, either writing their whole script or in a dramaturg capacity.
We had a presentation on the history of animation given by Steve Roberts who is the Senior Lecturer on the animation course, we then discussed the initial ideas the animators had, and started to mull over who we’d like to work with. A speed dating event was then organized where animators were able to pitch their ideas to us, and we could discuss what we could offer. We then contacted the animators if we wished to work with them, and we all eventually paired up with animators who had shared interests.
I am working with 3 animators. One has a very clear idea of what he wanted to do so it was a matter of making sure his ideas and fantastic sketches fitted into a story structure, the second had some ideas but needed someone to help decide what worked and what didn’t and I put them into the five act structure to make a much stronger story. Finally the third animator had some ideas but since it was a project I was really passionate about I suggested writing a full script. Over Christmas I met up with my animators and wrote a very long script – at 12 pages long it needed to be cut down to about 4 pages – so I had a meeting with my animator and we went through it discussing which jokes worked and which didn’t, until it was much shorter. We then made it super simple for the animatic, and got feedback that it needed some more of the jokes put back in!
Once the animators were happy with a first draft of their story they then created their animatic. They presented this in class and got feedback, so now we’re currently reworking the scripts before the real animation work starts.