The Proposal is in a good spot. I spent this past week doing color corrections on it and it looks pretty good shot to shot. The only thing I don't feel comfortable tacking on my own is sound. Which is why I have my partner Monty Velasquez in charge of such things. By the end of the month The Proposal, for good or ill, will be complete. And I believe I will be the better for it.
My boss at my day job has often been quoted as saying: "If yer not growin', yer dyin'". I agree with his sentiment. I was proud of my script for this project, but some of the technical aspects of doing it troubled me (and trouble me still). Growing means learning from your mistakes and facing your shortcomings. I've learned a great deal technically over the past several months, lessons I plan on applying to future projects. Hopefully for the better.
Two lessons in particular involve two different projects. The Proposal and Victorian Cut-Out Theatre.
As my contemporaries can tell you, my early work is comprised almost entirely of black and white films. Some thought this was a detriment to my projects. I disagreed and still do. The perceived pretension with which black and white is viewed lies largely in the past. Back before digital video, when filmmakers had to purchase film stock, black and white film was cheaper. This is why so many early student films are in black and white. This is why Night of the Living Dead and Clerks are in black and white. Since I began making movies at the start of the "digital revolution", I didn't have to contend so much with economics. My choice of black and white was simply a stylistic one. I liked the way it looked. It made even the most terrible story look classy and it was remarkably forgiving lighting-wise. But most importantly I couldn't think of a single thing in those stories that color could make better.
The Proposal is my first project in which color and lighting are both important, not just to the project, but to me. I wanted warm, romantic colors that would make for more dynamic shots (Shooting against white backgrounds is tough) as well as add to the feeling of the script. In this case, color was necessary. Below is an example of the "AFTER" and "BEFORE" effects of my color corrections on the shot.
This particular angle provided some challenges. Though the actress was lit evenly, the lighting on her looks bland, so we had to fix it. So far I have really enjoyed the experience of thinking about how color will affect the movie, so much so that I want to keep experimenting with a color palate in my future videos.
The second project has been my revisions on the newly commissioned Victorian Cut-Out Theatre web series. As some of you may or may not know, I am now a part of the Cinevore.com team. I think I might be one of the few people on the team not from the East coast, so I kinda feel like a lone wolf. Like if Cinevore was the X-Men, I'd be Wolverine...a shorter, hairier, funnier Wolverine.
"I'm the best there is at what I do...and what I do is often awkward and sad...sorry about that..."
The best part of this experience though, has been that I am working with people far more talented and technically savvy than myself. People who have been kind enough to pass along wisdom that will make my crude animations look far less crude. Though these revisions give me the opportunity to go back and fix things I was not happy with (timing, character designs and action), the majority of these revisions revolve around aspect ratio and picture quality. The jokes played, but the quality of the video overall looked like hammered shit. Below is an example:
This version was my first attempt and as you can see everything looks squished...
This is the new and improved version. The proof is in the pudding. I'm an idiot.
For some reason the embedded version has been finicky. If you have any trouble click HERE
Matt Conant, Founder and Creative Director of Cinevore Studios, was kind enough to teach me how to prepare my animation for internet streaming and make sure that-beginning to end- all of my frames were at the correct settings as well as my project as a whole. For this, Matt, you get CBP's highest award. The Cigarette Burn Pictures Lantern of WISDOM! For your contributions to shining a light on and ending my ignorance. Thank you.
I'm working on the new/revised episode now and it should be posted on or around the 24th of this month (May) at Cinevore.com (as well as here).
In this episode, I'm fine tuning the movements of a four legged creature. I'll let you know how it goes.