Kick-off week

by - 2012/03/05 32 Comments Directing & writing, Production

Kickoff meeting!

Monday morning, 10.00h. I delivered a script to the team, which they’ll have to turn into a short film within 5 days. Premiere will be here at 18.00h friday, on youtube an hour later! The process of making it will be shared as open as possible. So: here’s the script already linked to the right. Written by yours truly, playing here in the Blender Institute! By the end of the day it should become a full storyboard and shot breakdown.

Tony Mullen will be here filming to deliver a documentary making-of!

Nicolo, Kjartan, Francesco arrived. First day together!

by - 2012/03/04 24 Comments Production

No blog updates? Unfortunately that means we have loads of fun together! It’s now sunday afternoon and it’s the first time in 2 days I can sit down a while and check the web and email and this blog! Here’s quick bullet point updates:

  • Everyone’s installed in a room in a cool appartment. Especially the one in the canal area (at Keizersgracht, awesome views) will make your Dutch friends green with envy!
  • Yesterday Ian and David presented their mindblowing storyboards and script. For the team it was the first time they saw the entire story worked out visually and in detail. Lots of questions, many open (design) issues to tackle, definitely a lot fun ahead! There’s shots in this film that’ll become epic & iconic :)
  • We then went for the ritual after-weeky ‘beer at the windmill’ and ‘dinner in thai’ evening. Many more to come!

Right now:

  • Sergey is doing is Russian citizenship duties! He’s now on a train to The Hague in Amsterdam to vote.
  • Sebastian is doing recordings for the Track Match Blend DVD here.
  • Francesco is finishing his Animation Mentor homewerk.
  • David Revoy is at Schiphol airport waiting for this flight back to Toulouse.
  • Kjartan and Ian are on a bicycle trying to find the bridge over ‘t IJ to the northern part of Amsterdam, enjoying some nature.
  • Tonight Rob will bring the *horrible cheesy funny* Amsterdamned movie, to have a film evening with the guys.
  • I’m going to write a funny silly short script to present tomorrow morning to the team; they’ll have to execute & finalize it in 5 days as getting-started workshop!

(BTW: it seems nobody is smiling at the pictures, but that’s a coincidence :) I’ve just done quick snapshots yesterday, didn’t want to miss a second).


Open or closed?

by - 2012/03/02 97 Comments Production

In a previous post people mentioned they’d hate it if we would give too much away here. I realize there’s a certain level of fun getting a surprise when you watch a film. However, this is also a making-of blog… so how will we balance sharing here? Here’s a couple of suggestions to promote more openess for Mango than previously for Durian/Peach/Orange.

1) Organize external help

If we want help from the outside world again, we should be able to talk about what we’re making, right? For example, we can really use help with props again (real ones and cg ones).We will have complicated vfx challenges to tackle as well – not only in smoke/fire sim and with fracture. Discussions and reviews – what to film in a studio, what to do on a film set in town, and what we’ll rely on to do “in post”- would be great to share here with an audience too.

2) There’s a lot of fun to share

We are going to talk to the costume designer, there’s going to be a casting stage – and we’d like to introduce the characters here – and we’ll do filming on public locations (and will also allow visitors on the set). We will be doing storyboading, animatics, test renders, experiments… if we have to think twice before sharing anything the threshold for posting here will get higher and it’ll result in only very few posts.

3) Low posting threshold = more involvement = less frustrating crits

I think that a higher level of openess here will also work very well for the team. During Sintel, the quite critical blog following we had was often spoiling the fun and interest to post here. We should be able to post unfinished work-in-progress here without immediately getting flooded with (constructive but) negative reactions. I think that can best be tackled by posting much more, allowing followers here to track actual progress and get involved in the process that way.

4) Process of film making is coolest thing ever!

The process of making a film is much (much!) more rewarding than watching it; even when you can only witness it from the outside. Also when you already know everything (like me), it is stil a mystery how the film will actually look or work in 6 months from now. This is a gradual process of small steps during a long period… and actually we only know if it works in front of an audience in a theatre!  Further, even though I’ve seen ED, BBB and Sintel like a 1000 times, I can still enjoy watching it. Having seen it grow and come to existence only makes watching it more interesting. Every time.

Realize that you already knew the story of a lot of movies you’ve enjoyed. Lord of the Rings, Titanic, TinTin, etc. Did it spoil the fun? Wasn’t it much cooler to watch how the filmmakers solved things in the end?

Anyway! Feedback welcome :) The team will be arriving today and tomorrow, and after next week we should together make a good decision on what to keep hidden, and what to share. Personally I think we could share much more than we did for Sintel. Just not the final edit and script itself.


Concept art: the Oude Kerk dome

by - 2012/03/01 22 Comments Artwork, Production

Just outside the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam is a small bridge where the key break-up scene happened in the past. Scientists have been constructing a gigantic dome and a lot of equipment around it to ensure they can reconstruct the past there perfectly… or is it a time machine? Image by David Revoy!

(Concept art is 6 days old, things are evolving into exciting directions, involving robots – for sure! Stay tuned!)

Production update: final script!

by - 2012/02/28 15 Comments Production

Yesterday Ian signed off the script as final! This means no further changes happen unless he gets the full team (or me at least) to support it.

He’s been rewriting scenes a couple of times, shuffling events around, adding/removing characters and playing with a lot of angles for telling this short story in the best way. I really like it how Ian now focused on filming a relative compact event, with a group of cool characters doing really fun stuff, with a lot of cinematic & design challenges!

But don’t worry, it’s still about a really crazy breakup in Amsterdam, causing the future to go haywire with robots. We’ll update you guys on this here soon as well, but I think it’s fair to first go over it with the team itself.

A final script also means we can start-up the casting process: the current script has 2 young characters (late teens), and five older characters in the future (warriors and scientists) and a bunch of extras. We also will target at getting our locations (around Oude Kerk, Amsterdam) arranged.

This Friday and Saturday the rest of team will arrive: Kjartan, Francesco, Nicolo, Sergey and Sebastian. (Jeremy will arrive March 13). We will do a final presentation of story/artwork/storyboards here Saturday 1700h! Sunday is day off, on Monday we’ll start a 5-day workshop – meant to deliver a short film as proof-of-team-spirit by friday 17h. Stay tuned!


Track, Match, Blend!

by - 2012/02/27 12 Comments Development, Production

Sebastian Koenig – our masterful 3d camera and motion tracker – is currently finishing a new training DVD for the Blender store. It has been written with a general audience in mind – also filmers with no real experience with Blender should be able to learn how to track and match. And blend!

As usual for Blender Open Movie Workshop titles, all the content will be free to share and spread as CC-by, and all revenues will help out realizing Blender Foundation projects. Like this movie :)

Click here to watch the awesome Youtube trailer.

Isn’t focus-puller the silliest job ever?

by - 2012/02/22 14 Comments Directing & writing, Production

Ian (Director) and Joris Kerbosch (Director of Photography)

Today meeting with Joris Kerbosch (Director of Photography) and Ian. We went extensively over the script (“Ian, what’s this film about, for real?”), and already discussed plenty of practical filming issues – Joris brings in so much experience! Joris also had his wishlist of important people to add to his crew. On the top of his list: the Focus Puller!

Me: “So… eh, focal pulling can’t be done by some local monkey?”

Ok… now I’ve learned that there’s much less good focus pullers than decent DP’s around. He’ll not only “keep things in focus” but will be operating the camera itself in general; with Joris also running around to work with gaffers (light) and grips (cranes, dollies). Assuming we can find all of these… luckily there’s Rob Tuytel – our Film Academy connection!

Joris and Ian will be meeting next week again to visit some locations in town. I can only give Joris final answers on crews in 2 weeks… when we know a bit more about final budgets.


by - 2012/02/20 22 Comments Artwork, Production

David and Ian sotryboarding

David (arrived saturday!) surprised us this morning with a complete storyboard of the first three scenes. It’s A_M_A_Z_I_N_G! Here you see Ian and David going over the shots. It’s so much fun :)

The script in its core (premise) is still the same, but it has been condensed to be more centered on events in future Amsterdam; removing the scene in space with a battle fleet. More you won’t hear from me now :) This week David and Ian get full freedom – just make it awesome! Next week we’ll get real and will start planning.


Ian Hubert arrived in Amsterdam

by - 2012/02/17 12 Comments Directing & writing, Production

Just a quick post! today Ian arrived safely from Seattle. I have installed him in his (awesome!) apartment now , where he probably collapsed in bed to recover from jetlag. Tomorrow evening David Revoy arrives, and then we have two weeks to get story and storyboards final :-)