Storytelling & Commission

Jake Bryant
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Project Brief

The job of a scriptwriter for an animation is to take an idea and craft it into a working plan that is ready to go into production; this plan is called a storyboard and it is arrived at in several stages, beginning with ‘the idea’ or basic narrative concept. The premise is given an outline, wherein the key-points of action, structure, and characters are defined and rough sketches produced. The outline is developed further at the treatment stage, as key scenes/sequences are linked and motivated by a storyline treatment is visualised as a storyboard. A storyboard is a visual interpretation of a script conveying essential information regarding scale, positions, relationships between images, direction of movement, angles of view, continuity, mood, gesture, action, and special effects. It is crucial that storyboard artists understand the techniques of directing and editing; “There are a lot of successful storyboard artists out there who are just strong story people, and they get their message across, but they aren’t necessarily the strongest draftsmen out there understanding story and understanding camera are the main things for a storyboard artist to know”.

Storyboards serve two purposes: first, they allow a filmmaker to pre-visualise and refine their ideas; secondly, they serve as the clearest language by which the entire production team may collaborate coherently – and efficiently; for instance; when each shot is boarded in advance, only the exact shots are needed to cover the scene, thus excising the need for surplus footage (and the resources, time and money so implied). Similarly, when a scene is fully-boarded, the director/production designer may realise that only one section of a set is required (as opposed to constructing an entire set needlessly).

Through the development of an original three-act story idea for a one minute animation (from initial premise to computer-generated pre-vizualisation via storyboarding), this unit requires you to engage creatively - and efficiently - with the challenges of crafting successful time-based narratives.

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Allocated Topics
After briefed on the Storytelling unit, I received my allocated topics that my project would revolve around. The subjects that I had received were; Environment – Space Station Prop – Piano Character – Marionette My initial thoughts regarding the themes of my conventions are varied however I am feeling overly positive due to the unique a blend which is already helping to provide for possible horrific or comedic narratives. I went on to define my words and to research a little into what their purposes are, as well as any background information that I could find.

Environment
Space Station A space station is a spacecraft which is designed to commonly remain in low Earth orbit for extended periods of time, and is also capable of supporting a crew. It also functions as a dock that allows other space vessels to port. Space stations are distinguished from other spacecraft’s used for human spaceflight by the lack of propulsion and landing systems, instead having other vehicles transport people or cargo to and from the station. These stations are mainly used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the body as well as serving as a platform for a greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. Each is designed with the intention of rotation multiple crews, with each crew meaning staying aboard the station for weeks or months, rarely being more than a year. There are currently two space stations that are in orbit, one being the International Space Station which was launched in 1998, and the other being Tiangong 1 which was launched in 2011)

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Prop
Piano The piano is a musical instrument which is played by means of a keyboard. The instrument is widely used in classical and jazz music and became popular for its future in many solo performances. The piano is also popular as an aid for composing music, as well as rehearsing it, and is noted to be the world’s most familiar musical instrument. The piano works by pressing a key that causes a hammer to strike a steel string (that corresponds to a note) which rebounds allowing the string to vibrate. The vibrations are transmitted through a bridge to a sounding board that efficiently couples the energy into the air. When the key is released, a damper stops the string vibration.

Character
Marionette A marionette is a puppet that is controlled using wires or strings from above by a manipulator and come in many different variations. Marionettes are mainly used in theatres or entertainment venues, but have also been used in films and television. There are different styles of marionettes with some being cultural specific. The three main styles are Sicilian, Czech and Burmese. The simplest of the marionettes are the Sicilian styles with each being carved from wood and having a sturdy rod which extends up through the body and into the head. The rod and one string (which are attached to the hand) control the manipulation of the puppet. Czech marionettes are similar to Sicilian ones, though they are slightly more complex. Again these styles are hand carved, and also having some that share the basic structure of the Sicilian styles using a central rod. However, these also have strings from both the arms and the legs with some unique styles have other strings that allow the puppeteer to control the mouth or ears. Popular in art in Burma, the Burmese marionettes are called ‘Yoke-thé’ and are almost always performed in operas. Burmese marionettes are very intricate and dexterous as they employ 18 or 19 wires with each puppet being only controlled by one puppeteer.

Examples of each of the styles can be found on a separate influence map at jakejbryant.blogspot.co.uk

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