Regarding plot and story development I am rather clueless so I went and got some much needed outsider feedback.
Chester Sampson kindly had a glance over my first animatic and give me great critic. I’ll summarise what he said.
Conflict is established through using a characters intentions and the obstacles stopping them are the most important part of the narrative. The characters goal needs to be established as soon as possible, and then the obstacles they face need to be made clear.
For my film, we have the character, Renny.
We have his intention – to switch the tv channel.
We have his obstacle- he can’t find his remote
Chester expressed for films like this that the gag is enevitable but surprising. The idea is that it makes sense in the created universe but still leaves an interesting twist. He gave the example of Blue Zoo’s Avacado short.
Chester commented with this in mind, the characters intention and obstacle are not coming across to the audience.
He suggested first to establish the character, through the acting, character design and environment design to ensure viewers know he is a lazy mess.
Then establish the conflict. An incident which takes the character from his peaceful neutral state into chaos. Making it clear what they need to go back to peace.
After that then add the gags. Making them progressively bigger and more mad.
establish character—> establish conflict —> escalating stakes—> twist ending.
In response to feedback from Chester and that from my previous presentation, I grabbed a whiteboard to try and plan changes for the animation.
Establishing character- To create a lot messier character I first tackled the environment (this is in more detail in a separate post), making it more worn and messier, this work will be done a lot through texturing. Acting, I had the suggestion of making the character certain in his actions as if a daily occurrence of him making a mess, and then subconsciously grabbing a remote that could be a different object entirely or no remote at all. The character design, I tweaked it to make Renny more at a disadvantage and give cause for more havoc (again in more detail, in a separate post).
Establish conflict- to establish conflict more, I think, for me, I will do a live action test, to ensure that, as Chester pointed out, there is a gradient/increase of intensity of obstacles to ensure his rage continues in a linear progression.
Twist ending – I’m going to do two variations here for further feedback. The first iteration is the same as the animatic, Renny opens the fridge, buts milk back in beside the remote, closes the fridge, you hear him walk away and then, realising his mistake, shouts in anger. The second iteration, which I’m more draw too now. Renny opens the fridge, looking at the contents for something to eat, the camera pans down to the next shelf, where he again looks. He pans the shelf until his eyes find the remote, where he passes over it, then suddenly looks back realising his mistake. The camera cuts to black as he yells.
During the presentation, due to my section of off screen animation, and that a person rigged my character, I needed to extend my animation. Alec suggested a post credit scene, which I decided would be a good way to further mess with Renny.
Alec suggested I show Renny fixing the TV, possibly cellotaping the cracks, and then sitting down, enjoying his show finally. However, I did not want to finish on such an easy note. Instead, I though it would be funnier to add a open ended obstacle. For this I thought Renny could sit back, change the channel a few times, relaxed, and then the low battery sign flashes on the remote, before ultimately turning off.