By Allegra May.
Eight months ago I blogged a neat path for the AWU movie project. From that I created an optimistic three-year time line, the view from 10,000 feet you could say. But life as it’s lived on the ground is much more interesting than the view from above. Looking back, we’ve both made progress and stalled out.
Eight months ago I thought the project would develop organically out of the talents of two friends and myself, and we would learn what we needed as we went along. That’s more or less how things went, but it was a lot messier than I’d pictured. Today we’re more intentional about we what do.
As the writer on the project, I undertook creating the screenplay, which was a new form of writing for me. It went well: in January the pages crept out like little snails, but by March they trotted forth like eager puppies. At the end of April we had a polished screen play of 143 pages to send to anyone who was interested. I was glad to have produced this important component of the project.
On the other hand, we struggled to get a handle on the visuals for the movie. I hoped we’d have a set of illustrations that would demonstrate the beauty and mystery of the final animation, but we lacked an illustrator. So we thought we’d go directly to a short piece of animation to use for fund raising. The estimate for this little animation was more than two times what most people would consider a nice chunk of seed money. We decided to conserve the seed money in order to get to the fund raising stage.
We went back to the idea of making a set illustrations to help raise funds—without realizing that the illustrations were the most difficult part of the project, because they would define the look and feel of the animation. A friend of a friend suggested creating a Director’s Lookbook to guide the development of the style, and making this Style Lookbook enabled me to hone in on an “everyday reality” style and an “expanded reality” style.
It seemed like a simple thing to ask an illustrator to create the illustration styles from the Style Lookbook. Not so! I discovered it’s not realistic to ask an illustrator to invent a new style; either they draw the way we want, or they don’t. So now we wait to discover the illustrator who’s already drawing the style we want.
In contrast to the illustration struggle, recording the voice over audio is like a walk in the park (possibly because I have experience recording voice over). Steps we’re in the process of taking:
- Creating scripts from the screen play (stripping away most of the visual information)
- Getting voice demos from local actors
- Updating my recording equipment
- Locating recording studios
We’ve chosen to record the actors ensemble rather than individually, so they can play off each other.
Now is the time for us to broaden the participation in the project, and to start running the story by producers and actors to hear what they think. Involving voice actors is a good way to expand who we know and to meet producers. It’s also time to design a promo for crowd funding, using snippets of dialog from the voice over track, and to speculate on the images that go with the audio. Our intention is to have an online crowd funding project by the end of the summer—assuming of course that we’ve found our elusive illustrator(s).
My personal growth in the project has been unexpected. By now I’m clear I’m the project leader, with all the responsibility that requires. Where I was a private creative artist, I’ve taken on being a public creative collaborator. And I’ve come to realize, all we know for sure is the present. The future changes shape as we go forward, and we can reshape the past according to who we’ve grown to be. What we have for real is the present.