Saturday, April 18, 2009

Try To Put Us Down

Going through the dark recesses of our FTP site, I uncovered this little piece.

There's a long story to go with it.

This was back at The Ink Tank. The 20th Century, even.

R. O. Blechman had a closet full of feature film proposals. During his quest for financing he crossed paths with a producer who had acquired the rights to a "German children's book" (which we could never find) and a very popular classic rawk song. He also secured development financing from a big Asian conglomerate.

The first step was to write a treatment.

Without going into the gory details, we didn't do a treatment. The big Asian conglomerate was coming to town and we needed a presentation. The plan was to make some artwork.

We decided to work with Santiago Cohen to stylize the story and Maciek Albrecht would direct the animation.

At one point there was a notion to create the animation for Imax in 3D (talk about cutting edge!). This spawned the idea to make dioramas of the design. So we created about a dozen scenes and presented them to the big guys one at a time while Maciek walked them through the story (which, for some reason, was not allowed to be written down). The ultimate scene was -ugh- a battle of the bands. After this was placed on the table, a lighting bolt on the set was pressed activating a CD blasting the popular classic rawk song.

The men from the big Asian conglomerate stood up and applauded.

Of course, we didn't deliver what they needed to sign off on. They were excited and did commission a script.

For some reason such a thing was anathema. A script? Pish! "What's a script gonna tell you?" (Please note my vocal dissent.) So it was decided we would make a film.

In three weeks.

As a concession, it was agreed we would write a treatment. That alone is a side story full of grief.

Anyhow, the little "pilot" was produced -stem to stern -in three weeks.

Tissa David animated the entire thing. Mostly. Igor Mitrovic did the musical note morphs and some inbetweening. The small blimp and the globe (obviously) were animated by Dave Courter in Lightwave.

Making things even harder, this was shot on film. Ugh x2.

To deliver for camera I stayed up 86 hours straight. Not quite, I did take a brief nap under the pencil test camera at about 4 am before the day the cameraman, Daniel Esterman, came to shoot.

I'll post grabs of some specific shots next week.

After going over the sheets and artwork with Daniel, Megan Whitmarsh (one of our production artists) asked if I wanted to see Nights of Cabiria at the Quad. Never able to turn down Fellini, I extended my awake period by another 2 hours.

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