February 03, 2016

Script To Screen: Online Greenlight Review 2


  1. 04/02/2016

    Hi Becky,

    As you know I think your story has great potential, but I would observe that you don't yet seem to be demonstrating some of the skills this unit requires of you; for example, your script 'isn't' a script yet; it's just a description of what happens; so you're not using the conventions of screenplay writing (i.e. abbreviations of camera moves etc),which means you're not actually getting to grips with directing your story - you're not yet carving up your story idea into its various distinct scenes. You've basically written a short story, but it's not a script and I think you need to make this leap because it will help. For guidance, take a look at Dee's script, as an example, and also go onto myUCA and look at the folder entitled 'Script Writing Resources' - in which you'll find some pro animation scripts for your reference.

    Your storyboard reads okay... but I can't help feeling that everything could be crisped up a bit, and I wonder if you're truly using all the storyboarding conventions available to you and exploring things directorially? For example, the scene in which the ghost mouse scurries up the driver is all shot at mid-distance, when if you want us to feel the growing intimacy between the two characters, putting this scene together more engagingly seems like a must - so moving between close-ups, POV shots, motivated shots - something that tells us what these characters are thinking and feeling. I does feel as if you're lacking a bit of confidence, Becky, and I would encourage you to challenge this by really looking at the conventions of storyboarding and thinking about this exercise not simply as 'drawing your story', but rather exploring it through camera.

    The other issue for me is about design: I think you're still thinking about your story in a too-gloomy way. In your script you describe your lorry driver as 'disguised as death', but why not just think of him as a 'long distance lorry driver' - an ordinary guy doing an ordinary job. I think this will help you in terms of character design, which is something you're not yet getting to grips with, because there's a level of realism creeping into this story that I don't think is going to help you very much. This is an opportunity to try something different in terms of character design and the way in which you approach it. Personally, I think your design world could get more stylised and simpler: so more this:


  2. I think you need to get rid of the idea that you're telling a 'dark' or 'miserable' story about death and bodies; you're telling a story about a man whose job is lonely, who finds a friend, but then, because he loves the friend, he has to let him go. On a related note, I think you need to give more thought to some of the other bits of design: so, for example, your storyboard suggests that when the lorry driver puts the dead guy in the back of the van, the back of the van is just a miserable-looking empty space, but, maybe when the back doors open, inside it's something comfortable; I don't know, like a nice waiting room, something surreal like that? I'm also interested in your design ideas for the 'dead' - you've got them as glowing white in your storyboard, but in keeping with what is mundane and ordinary about the idea of death just being a part of life, maybe this spectral approach is too much of a cliche? Perhaps there is a more subtle way of signalling the departed?

    In summary then, I want to see more technical knowledge from you in terms of the nuts and bolts of scripting and storyboarding, and I want to see you rolling up your sleeves and exploring character design, as something different from the way you usually think about the human figure and faces - I'd like to see greater stylisation and some different techniques/tools in the mix. You've developed a good story, but everything remains a bit wishy-washy at this stage; get in there, make your story world distinct, and bury the idea that you're making a depressing animation about 'death' - your story is actually something much more warm and much more human.