Hello! Here is a walkthrough/commentary on the animatic.
Starting out, I already knew it was going to be rough. This was originally made for an internship application reel; however, I didn’t learn about the application until less than a week before it was due. I decided to take the path of most resistance and make a new project that was truly my own, not a reinvention of someone else’s script. That left me about 5 days to get my cover letter and resume polished on top of furiously working every moment of free time I had to make a set of storyboards that looked like I put as much effort as I could in the limited time I had. Several things I wanted to focus on included camera work and timing. First came the script.
The script was written from scratch taken from a scene I had already been planning on writing for a while as part of my book I’ve been working on for five years. The word count for the draft is currently over 200k. The basic premise is a skeletal ghost girl named Annalise Grisholme is cursed to follow Jack o’Lantern as he travels the world collecting lost souls and delivering them to the afterlife. She’s not happy about it as she would rather be home haunting her family and is especially displeased when she learns Jack is responsible for her death and curse in the first place due to a deal he made with demons centuries ago.
The scene takes place right after Jack has collected the soul of a little girl who got lost in a forest and passed away. Although Jack and Anna are ghosts, they decided to rest for a bit but Annalise struggles to relax. The hollowed-out turnip lantern Jack carries with him disturbs her with its ability to trap souls. She goes on a walk to clear her head and runs into conflict with the resident spirit of the forest that takes offense to them absconded with a human soul it sees as property.
Then I had to thumbnail…
I pretty quickly came up on my limitations as someone who didn’t have well-developed character designs to work off and who hadn’t quite yet put at least four years into focused development of her drawing skills. Even if it ate away at my time, I spent a few hours going back to old sketches to develop better shapes for my characters.
Now I had less than 2 days left to work on my boards between life responsibilities and work. I knew my initial reach goal of 100 boards was unrealistic and even 50 would be sacrificing quantity for quality so I focused on three short shots from my script and resolved to make them as clear as I could in the time I had left. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of my shading work so I have to go back and continue to work on the boards after submitting them to better make it a polished portfolio piece.
After some feedback from peers, I learned that some shot compositions just weren’t working and I should have made more thumbnails and gotten feedback earlier on in the process.
- More thumbnails. I didn’t make nearly enough to really explore all my shot options.
- More concept art. Expression sheets, pose sheets, full-body turn arounds.
- Rendering. I need more focused development of expressions and shapes in 3D space so I can keep a more consistent look and draw my characters and setting from any angle. A lot of my line work is unsure. This can only be improved upon by dedicated practice and line-mileage.
- Go further. I met my short deadline, but there are clear improvements to be made going forward. Finish the boards–clean/clearer line work and shading, fine tune timing, and add sound and dialogue.
- More feedback.
Despite my setbacks and limited time, this was still a good learning experience and I feel motivated to follow the rest of the project through. I practiced camera shots, how to simulate pans and zooms with the storyboarding program I use, and a better sense of estimating the time I need to work on a project.