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Making A Cartoon Movie 12: Oh Crap, How Do I Make A Movie?

Continued from last week: What To Do When You Horrifically Fail At Crowdfunding

Last week I spoke about how we’d failed crowdfunding, left with 4 months and $10k to make a full-length animated movie with zero experience. All my sprightly youthful optimism didn’t help with the shaky newbie foundations:

Childlike Optimism/Naivety

It’s not that I didn’t have a plan to make the movie, it just wasn’t very good or realistic. There were storyboards, a full script, character designs and location sketches. However, there were no solid deadlines or milestones. I was winging it and I didn’t realize.

Learning On The Job

I’d made short test animations in one software: Anime Studio. I wanted to increase production value for the movie so I decided to move onto new software: Adobe After Effects. This had lots of shiny new features like lighting and shadows, unfortunately it came with a completely new learning curve and problems.

No Animatic

An animatic is a basic sketched out version of the entire movie with rough voices and basic shots. Every animation, no matter how small or big, has an animatic. Every. One. Did The Hit Squad have an animatic? No. It had some basic storyboards but far from an animatic with timings and voices.

So how was I making the movie? I’d started by making all the locations one by one, I then drew and rigged the characters to be animated, recorded the scenes and then animated them. The first steps were fun, I started getting it looking way beyond how it’d previously looked. I was excited by how it was progressing and, in turn, I started treating it with way more care and effort than my original plan. I’d realized that people had paid for this and that I shouldn’t rush it out just to meet a deadline. My standards now upped, I started to work 80 hours a week in order to get the movie done as best as I possibly could.

And oh how those 80 hour weeks took their toll…

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