18 to 24 May, come on down!

This week’s show-and-tell is a video featuring the intro scene (which has been deleted) along with some narration about deleting scenes.

Just like the last couple of weeks, I’m reviewing the layout. This week I’ve been discovering opportunities for more gags, finding a new point to begin telling the story, devising how to make it look like Gronky has fainted using his current character design, and figuring out once and for all what the hell Pointy is doing in the middle of the desert anyway.

The rewrite is a big job. There’s so much reworking to do that it’s hard to know where to begin making the actual changes.

On one hand I’m getting more and more curious to try stuff to see if it works, and on the other I’m afraid of jumping the gun or getting stuck on ideas that won’t work or having the story unravel.

I’m sure these wil all turn out to be dumb animal fears in the end, but having them hovering around makes the movie look scarier than it really should. It also makes stupid little distractions and timesinks all the more tempting. Progress bars, level-ups and

game achievements come so much easier than crossing shots off a shot list.

Just have to make friends with the moviemaking process again and ease back into hands-on work instead of fretting or distraction-seeking, eh?


Welcome to 27 April to 3 May 2015. The video this week came out of this series of tweets between me and Hjalti Hjalmarsson about lipsyncing someone saying a phrase with a stack of labial consonants over a mere 20 frames.

So, after thirteen hours of work over the Anzac Day long weekend, I now have an end-to-end watchable first draft of layout. It ended up clocking in at 95 shots over 7 minutes and 46 seconds, not counting credits.

That’s a bit too long for my liking.

Rather than leaping directly into a second draft, I’m stopping creative work on “A moment in the sun” for a bit to show it to a few select guinea pigs. Mainly I’m showing it to people and hoping they laugh at the right bits, but there’s this odd psychological effect when someone else is watching the film in front of me – it’s suddenly much clearer when something’s too slow, when things are good, when things are too quick, when a story point could be more concise or better explained.. all because another person is looking at it.

From this process I’m coming up with a list of fixes and tweaks for overall story and individual shots. I think I can get away with condensing an entire early sequence into a brief story point to speed the story along, for instance. I’ll give it a week or two to build up a decent head of steam before I chug along with it again. (Not to mention after that I’m making production-ready assets – fixing Gronky’s rig, modelling scenery, finalising sky and other stuff…)

Since I’m taking a break from working on AMITS to clear my head, I’ve been goofing around with little visual effects shots this week – nothing worth showing off, mainly just trying to do progressively more complicated things as I go. That’s been good fun. 🙂

And now the crappy news: probably because of

too many hours spent in front of a computer late into the evening this week, one of my eyes has become super sore. Even though one eye is still technically OK, I’m going to head off-screen for the rest of the weekend and see if the bad one heals up on its own – hopefully I won’t need to see a doctor about it, but if it’s been two days without any improvement I don’t want to risk it.


Welcome to 20 to 26 April.

At the beginning of the week I squeezed out the remainder of Scene 4, got momentarily distracted by video games and finally got a handle on Scene 5. The writing took place on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday I did shot and dialogue planning, then recorded and cut up all the scratch (temporary dialogue).

This is the current state of play as of Sunday morning when I’m writing this: 

  • Opening credits: Planned but no layout.
  • Scene 1: Gronky gets breakfast – silent but all animation done
  • Scene 2: Pointy is revived by Gronky – layout done with dialogue
  • Scene 3: Gronky goes back to help Pointy – layout done with dialogue
  • Scene 4: Gronky figures out how to help Pointy – layout done with dialogue
  • Scene 5: Gronky figures out how to help Pointy without losing his mind – rewritten, scratch in files, ready for layout 
  • Scene 6: Gronky gets Pointy to safety – animation done with dialogue
  • Scene 7: Pointy catches a bus – animation done with dialogue
  • Closing credits: Layout started.

Scene 5 is a monster – thirty four shots in total. I’m going to try to crunch through them this long weekend so that I can have first draft layout done by end of month. I can do the opening and closing credits as something nice and easy after work one night.

One thing that’s emerged from the layout process is that I’m itching to do animation and movement tests. Some of the layout shots have even turned into rough animation tests and that’s been slowing the process down. If I’m going to knock over Scene 5 in two days, I’m going to have to stay disciplined and remember what layout’s for – rough timing, framing and staging. Not lipsync. Definitely not lipsync.

Even if lipsync is fun. Yes.

I’ll check in again once Scene 5 is done. For now I’ve switched off my phone, got some nice music playing on the headphones and got the shot-list on my vertical monitor. See you on the other side!


It’s time for 13 to 19 April 2015.

This screenshot represents the last week on A moment in the sun in a nutshell. Scene 2 layout started on Monday and finished up 17 shots later on Friday. I started on Scene 4 last night. At my current pace, I’ll be done with scene 4 by the end of this week with time to spare. This is good because next weekend is the Anzac Day long weekend – if I’ve got scene 5 thumbnailed and ready to go by Saturday, I can record scratch and do the remaining layout in time for end of month.

And that’s really about it. Just steaming ahead with the shots, getting quicker with every one I do, it’s good! 🙂


Scene 3 layout is now done, which means I’ve now got less scenes to animate than I’ve already done. Today also marks 400 hours of work on “A moment in the sun”. That’s more than an hour per day on average since this project kicked off nearly a year ago.

Here’s a layout shot of Gronky breaking the fourth wall for no reason.