Thursday, May 22, 2014


In my artist statement I make mention of my previous grad film idea of a story about a boy who wants to play football.  But at some point I set out to drastically change my film... for very personal reason.

This is the video that inspired that change, hopefully you may have heard of or seen this video.  If not it's definitely worth watching.  Featuring my favourite poet and Vancouver native, Shane Koyczan:

To This Day from To This Day on Vimeo

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Artist Statement

This is the artist statement I have written - an attempt to summate my reasons for creating my film:

I’ve learned fairly viscerally this past year how our time on earth is limited, and that when all is said and done nothing is really guaranteed for anyone.  All that we can guarantee is what we hold on to, cherish, and hold close, right now, before something else happens.  I aim to take on questions of faith and certainty in my artwork from what I’ve learned about wellness.

I enjoy delving into where logic reaches its ends, taking on topics like science and religion and portraying them visually.  To a degree, when it comes to both of those large fields, there are concrete aspects as well as theoretical aspects that we have to take into account when engaging with them.

These topics have become important to me mainly due to physical and mental health issues that I have had to deal with this past year – and where the medical system had failed me in terms of finding answers.  Thankfully, this came at a very interesting time in my life.

I had already been realizing these past few years, with an approaching adulthood, that there was something more I wanted to express past the quiet, gentle, mild-mannered version of myself I became so comfortable being in front of others.  In trying to decipher the middle ground between that projected outer image and my inner turmoil, I created art. 

Thus, my art became a means of expressing that inner self while feeling the immensity of how limited our time on earth is.  I’ve since seen my artwork take on more of a dramatic tone, which is a change from my usual upbeat, sporty expressions.  While I strongly embrace this change, I don’t necessarily put my previous artistic style behind me as it is what got me here.  The plan for my grad film, in its very beginnings, featured a storyline of a boy wanting to play football.  The further I pushed the story, the further I saw that the emotions weren’t true to how I felt.  In a sense I felt like I was lying to myself, knowing that there was a lot more that I wanted to say.  From there, I began embarking on my current route, along the way learning more about myself than I ever have.

Filmmaking lets me make a statement that doesn’t happen in the interactions I have casually with others.  On top of that, the medium of animation allows me to bring characters to life that otherwise wouldn’t exist physically.  With my artwork, the inner self that I can’t physically express has a chance to live and breathe. 

This medium gives me a chance to really acknowledge what that inner self is like.  And from that groundwork, I can take on topics of faith and certainty to tell the world that neither you nor I can truly know what happens after this life but we can do a lot to improve what we have here, right now.


I'm finished my film and have taken the time to rest the past few weeks.
I've decided to take the time to compile the rest of my thoughts and kind of pool together all the residual information I've kept from blogging in the last months of production.

- Jay

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Film Review - but more so a reflection than a review..

The 1996 blockbuster film, Twister, shows several levels of relevance to my film past the plot line of confronting a tornado.  The fact that it is a special-effects heavy tornado film did jump start me into researching important details about tornados, both in its scientific understanding and in its cinematic representation. Although, Jan de Bont’s film functions not only as a (then) high-level special effects spectacle, but also functions on a few levels that has helped me get a better framing about what I am trying to achieve with my film. 
Tornado depictions in Twister, more specifically the big one at the end, resembled that of an F5 or an EF5 tornado – those of the highest intensity.  That is the tornado I have been planning to portray in my film.  I found it helpful seeing how they decided to portray the tornado compared to the youtube reference footage I’ve been using to animate.  A notable difference was how debris was handled.  What you can’t see in a lot of reference footage is all of the debris that is being tossed around the tornado and the hail that precedes it.  The attention to detail in the debris is evident, especially when characters are up close to the tornado.  These shots are showing what would be impossible to capture in an environment that would easily put lives at risk in order to capture it.  These are important details that help strengthen this film and it is because of this, amongst several more layers, that I was able to relate to my current pursuit.
The film positions itself to revolve around Helen Hunt’s character, Jo Harding, and her ex-husband trying to resolve what tension they have left from their failed marriage.  This brings up a relationship issue that persists through the chase with the tornado.  Interpersonal tension is what I am aiming to create through the relationship between the father and son in my film.  In Twister, the two characters face a series of tornados which seem to reignite the bond they both seemed to let go of.  This is a resolution I am aiming to create in bringing the father and son together at the end.  What lines up more so with my film and Twister is past the obvious confrontation with the tornado which I feel serves as a tool to describe the real matter at hand.  In the later parts of the film I was slowly coming to the realization as to what Helen Hunt’s true purpose in the film was – what she was really after.  As the film progressed, I felt I understood her purpose, but it became completely clear with one of the last few shots.
Jo Harding and her ex-husband face the tornado one last time, waists tied down to a pipe and holding on for their lives. This scene is their last confrontation with a tornado and is the biggest confrontation they’ve had – this time seeing the eye of the tornado.  Immediately after this scene, in which they survive, we cut to a shot of an underground bunker door opening up with a surviving family being revealed.  Coming out first is a father holding his young daughter in his arm.  Jo Harding’s purpose this whole movie has really been about her trying to impossibly fix her past – and this shot is the confirmation needed to show that she just has.  Fixing her traumatic past is the true motivation for chasing tornadoes and also the cause for her failed marriage, which had been exposed earlier in the movie.  With my film I am aiming to create what would seem to be a truer cause for the farmer and his trials – it is his depression and desire to leave forever.  Of course, like Twister, my protagonist’s innermost desire must have its resolution. 

                Functioning as a landmark film in special effects with the subject matter revolving around tornadoes, this film proves its reliability towards understanding the types of film conventions that are in play when portraying a tornado on screen.  Not only on that level but upon focusing on the character, there are several more levels within the story that describe the conflicts that Jo Harding and my farmer face.  A combination of all of these factors makes for a quality comparison for evaluation, especially being in a phase where there are parts of the plot I have yet to decide upon – conflicts to be made evident and worth pursuing.

Grad Panel

Here's a quick recap of my grad review panel - which happened earlier today.

1) There are confusing parts in my animatic regarding which character we are currently following.  This was made clear over time in the animatic but at first was a little ambiguous.

2) That being said, overall, the rest of the drawings were nice and readable.

3) Story suggestion: have him go outside in the beginning.

4) Story suggestion: have him stay outside in the ending.

5) Worry more about animating as opposed to story, right now.

6) Character suggestion: keep him athletic and built to serve a particular contrast towards the subject matter of what I am making this film for.

The last one puts me in a little bit of a dilemma.  For a while there have been suggestions towards making him move less like a 'hero'... less built and less athletic.  Strong suggestions at that.  So now there have been a good amount of suggestions sitting on either side of this dilemma.

I know there are pros and cons to both, but what it really comes down to is why I am making this film.

My decision on this is to come.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Here's a sample of what the next few months look like for me.  Something (or things) to do every day.
All tentative, but something to work with as my film develops.

Directed Study

This is my final assignment for my Experimental Animation course.

I compiled a few different things I've been working on throughout the semester to create a pseudo-trailer for my film, Odium (working title), which I am about halfway through developing.

What I am aiming for here is essentially to give the sense of what my film is about, introducing my farmer and the tornado.

Software used:

After Effects
TV Paint

Newest Scenes

I re-did the scene from my 'Character Study 2' video, taking the character out and tweaking a few other things.  I used this shot in the Directed Study to describe the storm exclusively.

In removing the storm aspect from my 'Character Study 2', I was able to recreate the environment that my character was walking through.  Now it has a much calmer tone to it, essential in creating the lead-up to the tornado shot.

I spent the weekend (and then some) creating a tornado shot.  Using the reference of a photograph by Camille Seaman along with endless youtube videos of tornados, I animated one of my own using Flash.

Then I brought that into after effects and composited it with some footage I was using for my Deeper Focus work from Experimental Animation to get a sense of the texture of the tornado.

Project Proposal

Odium  ˈōdēəm/   
general or widespread hatred or disgust directed toward someone as a result of their actions

What talking does to reality we don’t understand,
Worrying about where it will be or where it really was.

For my grad project, I aim to produce a 6 minute animated short called Odium. It is about a farmer who is faced with a dilemma while being confronted by a tornado.  The aim of this film is to convey the experience of depression.

Farmer Shel comes home to tie up some loose ends after a hard day’s work, although what approaches will keep him from completing it and perhaps for good.

Odium is a drama that is being created for an audience that has experienced, understands, or at least knows someone with depression.  In a broader scope, this film can be catered toward a general audience that seeks out this genre with the exclusion of younger adolescent age groups.
My film begins with the protagonist treading back home where the comfort of family resides.  Although, a noticeable disconnect with his children is evident, creating an atmosphere of mystery and tension.  Odium will use this relationship to make a comment on parent-child relationships and will function to show residual effects from having depression.
The condition of depression affects our minds and bodies, taking control over how we think, what we feel, and what we do.  To include this aspect I chose the tool of metaphor to create an environment where the sky functions as the mind, the ground as the body, and the connection between the two being a disruption in the form of a tornado.  Descriptions of depression often align with the feeling of a vast emptiness, thus I chose the setting of a vast farmland.  That leaves the character to act as the tool for showing what navigating through this type of environment of depression is like.  It is important to emphasize for people who suffer from depression that depression is not who they are, thus the two elements of a character and tornado are separate entities for the audience to see.

Visual Treatment
This film will be done in 2D traditional animation.  A variety of software will be used to produce the visual look.  Animation will begin in programs Flash and TV Paint, with only some elements coloured.  The animation will then be brought into After Effects for compositing, which includes completing the colouring stages by using mattes for both the clothing and tornado effects.  The compositing stage will bring in assets created in Photoshop and Maya and will finish off with overall colour correction that will define a muted, dark visual tone.  The animation style will have qualities that identify with North American 2D animation as well as Anime. 

Sound Treatment
The sound design will help enhance the dramatic tone of the film.  A white noise or shallow ambience will accompany the moments where the rumbling and foley of a storm won’t be necessary.  To accompany the storm and ambience in my film I will include music.  The score will be written and performed by me in piano – recreated digitally.  I will receive assistance from a friend who has agreed to do the sound design and mixing for my film.

No documented agreements are necessary to complete this film.

Verbal agreements have been made by:
Connor Krawelitzki – Sound Design
Jose Siman – Reference Footage
Nick Arciniega – Reference Footage
Rajan Lail – Reference Footage

Tension Charts

The film I decided to do my tension chart comparison on is a 1984 american drama, Paris, Texas.
There have been quite a few similarities between this film and what I have been writing - which has been quite the surprise.

These similarities include:
Father and Son relationship that has tension.
An older hopeless looking man as the main character.

An overall tone of hopelessness.
Particularly long held shots.

I felt like I also learned a thing or two about film theory by doing this activity.
One thing I noticed was that the colour was there to describe the mood in a very particular way.  I noticed the usage of red and green in particular.  At the same time I was noticing the relationships of the characters and how there was an aspect of connection vs separation going on.  All I knew was that these were different components of the film and went far enough to establish that they were tools being used.  I felt like I wasn't making all of the connections just yet while I was watching the film.  It wasn't until after I made the tension chart I realized that these two particular elements, amongst the other elements I was tracking, were being used in relation with one another.  What I learned was that this film used the colour green to describe the aspect of connection happening between two people, whilst contrasting with notes of red when indicating a certain separation occurring.

I got a pretty good review of my tension chart, my teacher said the points were more or less where they should be.  So here is an image of my tension chart separated into 3 Acts.

Act I
 Act II


In looking back I realized there were more benefits to watching this film other than getting fairly good character reference for my farmer.  I looked at the different components that I used in the tension analysis and everything except for the dialogue aspect are tools I can potentially be using.

I structured my tension chart around what I did for Paris, Texas.  It was interesting finding where there were similarities - but there was one particular one that was more of a surprise.  I wanted to record the act of removing the house and tornado and thought that it would be similar to the row I recorded the 'Mystery' in Paris, Texas.  So I began plotting out the mystery behind my protagonist's psychology.  This meant indicating things like the storm cut-ins at the beginning, the house disappearing, and the fact that he's imagined to be dead for a moment.  As I wrote it out, I found some slots would be written simply explaining what the shot was... thus kind of taking away the value of having this be an aspect of tension that I am charting.  I resolved to chart it a different way. I charted the thoughts behind it, conveying an inner dialogue that's directed to either the audience or just me.  This opened up more detail for me to fill out for some scenes that weren't previously involved with this row of 'Mystery'.  On top of that, it wound up serving as a parallel to the 'Dialogue' section I have in my tension chart for Paris, Texas, where I filled it out as both the actual dialogue and my inner dialogue.

My main critique is re-thinking how I filled out the climax of my film, so expect changes there.  Until then, here is an image of my tension chart separated into 3 Acts.

Act I
 Act II
 Act III

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Character Study 2

Now that I've developed a general story I need to make certain revisions, refinements of my animatic that would a) condense the film length and b) clarify the meaning of the message I am trying to convey.  Right now, the best plan of action to do that is to step away.  This refers to my last blog post about Thinking vs. Making. I am currently in making mode and if I step away from thinking about the story for the next while I can come back to my animatic with a very fresh set of eyes.

So, what I've been doing instead is animating and developing the visual look of my film.

An essential way of expressing your character's personality and testing out how they will move is through making a walk cycle.  I was excited to finally get down to animating again.

Here's the rough lines I animated in TV Paint:

It was interesting seeing how it looked with the shoulder rotation and the slight limp.  The reference I used had some and I wound up exaggerating it a little bit - which I think has to happen when translating any live action footage into animation.

So after that, I coloured it in, brought it into Adobe After Effects, then matted the textures of his clothing:

The most important part of this for me was creating animation that's coloured in with fully-refined line quality.  Something I actually haven't done before.
I do admit he seems a little more youthful than I was going for, but I am going to go with it for now - as a character this can be seen as him in one of his moods.

So after that I brought it into a scene I've been experimenting with in After Effects.  I used a few different assets from various software and brought it in to create a dark, stormy atmosphere.  This isn't necessarily the final way I will be compositing my grad film but it's a start.
In this I used:
After Effects
TV Paint

I compiled a few walking shots with some music - The Only One by The Black Keys.  This song (pretty much their whole album) I think speaks to male angst which suits the tone of my film.

I'm currently looking into other ways to create the clouds using:
Maya Special Effects
Felt Needle (stop motion)
Torn Paper (stop motion)
Flash Animation

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Acts One & Two... and a rant on Thinking vs. Making

I've been working on this for quite a while now, but here it finally is - my animatic.
Some sections will be going through revisions, as this is still early in the year but here are the first two acts of my film as it currently stands.
There is a third act completed and was part of the animatic but I decided to leave the final scene as the changes I'll be making will greatly affect the film's impact and meaning.  Apparently it's good - but it's not what I want.

A struggle for an artist is a balancing act of creating for others versus creating for yourself.

Also I want a do-able film.  This animatic's length is 6:42, and with the third act it ends up being 7:44.
The expected length of a student film at Emily Carr is 3 minutes.  So this isn't good.

I'd be setting myself up to be doing more than twice the amount of work that is expected.
Of course, there is the argument that being ambitious will bring out good things and will show how passionate I am about the things I am pursuing... but there's other ways to show that.
Making more than double the length of a film is a disservice to me and my well-being.

Overall, I'm glad I was able to flesh this out.  In writing the story there were a lot of things that I couldn't piece together or articulate - not until something was drawn out.
This speaks to the nature of my artistic practice in knowing that development requires both making and thinking.

Thinking vs Making

This is an important lesson for myself, artists in my year, for other visual artists, and for anyone who enters the arena of creating something.

Theoretical analysis is important... writing out your thoughts and creating a framework for your work to function in.  Designing a story meant writing the plot, writing the main character, antagonist, conflict and dilemma that will happen.  Components need to be tied together and make sense on a theoretical level as we make sense of what we are creating.  Maybe we are capable of creating the entirety of a film from that process alone, but I am not.  More and more, I am finding that others aren't either.

Artist block happens.  We work, work, work, but reach a point where things are no longer being created.  Thinking about wanting to do this or that, but not being able to because of that or this.  We feel paralyzed and have worked our way into a corner.  It has been frustrating seeing talented people go through this.

Not saying this is the solution, but what works for me and maybe others, is redirecting the thinking process and applying it in a different arena.  Making.  To simply make things.
This has to be uninvolved with the theoretical thinking process, as the two can disrupt each other.  If there is too much thinking, an artist has to find a way to simply make things without intellectual consequence.  That's how making can happen.

That's what I had to do to start making this animatic because there was plenty intellectual fodder to keep myself from opening up Photoshop and drawing these frame by frame - questions that were left unanswered in writing my story.

Advice I've been hearing from several teachers... sometimes you've gotta make, sometimes the answer will come through the visual.  Sometimes the answer won't be squeezed out of your brain.  If you've gotten here then there's a certain way you react to visuals... it is a habit you can develop by recognizing it and using it to fuel what you do.

This was a rant... but has played a big part in what these last few weeks (if not, years) have been like for me

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

He has a name

Farmer Shel.

Firstly I wasn't aware Shel was a name, but I was reminded of poet & cartoonist (interesting connection of interest here) Shel Silverstein:
Wikipedia image of Shel Silverstein

Oddly enough he even kind of looks like my farmer.

So Shel, as a name is a form of Sheldon, which means protected hill or valley with steep sides.
Emotionally these speak volumes as metaphors toward what this character stands for and toward the original name 'Shell' and what that stands for.

A shell can protect, can give shelter, and is the shield that keeps away harm.
My farmer has purpose in protecting and giving shelter for his children, his family.

A sheldon, or protected hill, refers to safety, a hill that is kept away from harm.
It also happens to be the actual landscape I've placed his farm on, a tiny plateau that is slightly elevated from the ground - his house rests in the center of it, the house that protects the hill.

A shell is also empty inside, is hollow, is only an outer layer.
My farmer's hopelessness describes an inner emptiness that doesn't achieve satisfaction.

A sheldon, or valley with steep sides, is a hollow area that is lined with a steep wall.
But it also illustrates a struggle in regards to where he resides, and the peculiar feature of steep sides describing the difficulty of that struggle.

This is why he is named Farmer Shel.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Full Character

Here's a portrait of my main character, my protagonist.
Right now, his name is Farmer Shell.

The main issue behind finalizing his design was that every time I drew him, he looked different.
A line would be different here and there and would stand out enough to make him look like a completely different character each time - but eventually I got a hang of it.

By the looks of my animatic (time-based comic version of a film) right now, this film is going to turn out being nearly 8 minutes long.
24 frames per second, 480 seconds, 11,520 drawings.
If this is my main character he'll be in a good chunk of that 11,000.
For the purpose of animation it's a demand that I be able to draw him several times over and have him look exactly the same each time.

Now lets go into the analysis of this as a character.
When it comes to breaking down a character in Ruben's class, it's qualities and number of dimensions (1 dimensional, 2 dimensional) are determined by the traits you can find in it and can be summarized at a term per trait.  Each trait for a character has to be diametrically opposed from each other.

The two terms/traits that my character had in my class critique were:
Hopeless Farmer.

Farmer came from
the overalls,
his male features,
and a few other traits.

Farmer means
and other similar qualities.

Hopeless came from
observing the emotional qualities he exudes,
and responding emphatically to those emotions.
'thats the goal of a good character... is to make your audience feel'

[Here's Ruben explaining how he articulated this trait - how you have to tap in to your thinking:
'When I see this farmer and I think of all the conditions of what a farmer has to be and has to become and all the struggles they have to face, you know essentially I can feel all the emotions coming from farmer... but there's something conflicting with this farmer that does not make sense to a farmer that is a struggle for a farmer to feel, because now I'm feeling it.  And it does not make sense that a farmer should feel this and that is the feature.  That is the feature that is in conflict with the farmer that is producing the character.]
[someone in class suggests the term 'hopeless']
[Hopeless, beautiful.  Farmers cannot be hopeless because that would be against every farming intuition.  They always have to have hope.  That is part of the condition of being a farmer.]

A Fitting Word

This is a word that describes the tone of my film well, and it may even make for a good title.

noun: odium
general or widespread hatred or disgust incurred by someone as a result of their actions.
"he incurred widespread odium for military failures and government corruption"
synonyms:disgust, abhorrence, repugnance, revulsion, repulsion, loathing, detestation, hatred, hate, execration, obloquy, dislike, disapproval, disapprobation, distaste, disfavour, aversion, antipathy, animosity, animus, enmity, hostility, contempt, censure, condemnation,
disgrace, shame, opprobrium, discredit, dishonour, disrepute, ill repute, infamy, notoriety, ignominy, stigma, loss of face, humiliation, unpopularity;
raredisesteem, reprobation
"his job had made him the target of public hostility and odium"
antonyms:approval, delight

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Character Development

What I aimed for, first, was a more realistic-looking character.  
Someone who looked like an older man, a farmer.

Personally, I thought he looked a little too old,
but I think I am going to be integrating more of his look back into the character.
For now I have a character that arose from this development:

A younger look, and more of an animator-friendly design.
This last image is what I based my first character study animation off of.

Graphite Boil
The idea of not being whole resides with what I am going for.
I decided to try and achieve that stylistically, you'll see in this video as he goes through a transformation.
I included the intro to Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' as a stand in to give a certain mood.
The social reference may be amiss, but the lyrics and tone of experience, failure, and individual empowerment, rings really well with me and my film.
I included a shot I did of storm clouds from Ruben's Special Effects class.
One of the more successful shots I made this summer out of Autodesk Maya.

First Storyboards

Main plot points in sequence:

- Farmer gets comfortable at home after a long days work

- Sits down with hot tea and a book

- Idea of a tornado starts to sink in as he reads

- Alarmed, he gets up to check out what's actually going on outside

- Sees the terrifying tornado

- Hides his kids in the shelter

- Goes back outside

- House disappears behind him

- Chase between him & tornado begins

[not storyboarded]

- Tornado disappears during chase

- Still gets sucked up by tornado

- See's house get torn off foundation as he gets sucked up

- Spots house on ground from above, inside tornado

[storyboarded. bottom-most shots]

- We see the door to the shelter

- Kids take a peek outside

- House is fine, father isn't there anymore

Why tornado

So at this point I had developed a few key things for my story that led me to get out a first version of storyboards.

But let me backtrack - these boards require some explaining.

My main focus last spring, when I was first conceiving the roots of my film, was a poem.  This poem was charged with everything I could think of regarding my subject matter of  and how it related to me (I'll post this poem up at a later date).

It was what my idea revolved around at the time.
Later in the summer, I found myself taking Ruben's, Natural Phenomena: Special Effects, course (which I recommend for animators of any medium).  By the end of it I found my next main asset, the asset which trumped over the poem and is now the main aspect of it: The Tornado.

Here's a little story about how it came about:
At the beginning of the class Ruben wanted us to give him written proposals on what special effect we wanted to work on and how we will be treating it.  Being that, by nature, working with special effects can take a large amount of time he wanted us to narrow in on what we will be experimenting on as soon as possible.  He gave us a range of examples, from cloth simulations to steam.  Before concluding his list of possibilities, he said something along the lines of, "if you want to be really crazy just go make a tornado.  It's just so freaking hard.  Don't even explain any details, all you literally need to do is get a piece of paper and right in the middle of it just write the word 'tornado'." So I did that.  I am always seeking out challenges.

That may have come about kind of aimlessly, but more and more I realized there was so much behind the symbolism of what it represents and how it can be decoded to refer to Depression.  I will get into the symbolism in a later post, but essentially this is what brought about the next key aspect in my film, the farmer and his home.  More and more, I developed it, and soon many aspects of what I had in my eyes, reflected what the poem was trying to say and more.

So in a little note to myself before the semester started, while I was still in the midst of dozens of ideas, wrote down what I had confirmed thus far and will definitely be striving to show come the final render of this film:
- 3D Renders of tornado
- 2D Renders of tornado
- Character being chased by tornado
- Character overcoming tornado
- Poem ideas
- Shot ideas

Then on September 22, I laid down what else I had confirmed before boarding:
- Farmer Character
- Farm House
- Getting sucked into tornado
- Shot of house being torn off it's foundation, watching from a distance
- Conceptual ideas

Monday, October 7, 2013

Notable Lesson from Ruben's Class

Enter Ruben's Class..

Enter notes from Ruben's Class..

This was from, I think the second and third week.  And well here I am maybe a month late... but it's okay those classes are still pretty fresh in my mind.

It started with critiquing short pitches of our films... thus the notes in the middle of the left and right page. Then in the second week we delved more into Aristotelian theories.

Art (experimental) World vs. Commercial World
At one point Ruben references Aristotle saying that 'you cannot be an artist while being commercial'.
This led into a lecture I'm realizing that more and more has become quite important to me as I have continued to discuss it on the side.

The main point in this discussion was that the art world is very much so alive and well today and so is commercial, but their relationship with each other isn't exactly of co-existence... the art world functions as feeding the commercial world, which then makes profits from it.  To exist in either one, whomever is creating the work must visually declare themselves to be functioning distinctly as one of the two fields.  Although, an argument can be made for existing in both, there are conventions and standards that have to be on display that will appease either field.

This presents an important dilemma for me to consider, and will soon take the form of a stream of think-vomit on this post.  I may have come to more decisions based on this dilemma, but the thoughts that were running through my mind went along the lines of...

Where do I stand amidst all of this?  Where does my work say I stand?  Which field do I want to be practicing in?  What is it going to take to define myself as either or?  How will this affect the result of my grad film?  How will the lifestyle that I want to have be affected by this decision?  Does a decision need to be made soon?  Or can I afford to wait?

What will Jay do next? Stay tuned for the next episode of my... lifeeeeeeeeeeee...

First Character Revision

Yeah scratch that first sketch

Not being so confident with my character design skills I called upon the help of my friend, Dora, who pumps out characters like Aaron Rodgers does touchdowns.  [ Using a football analogy for describing character design? yeah, I do that ] 

She had been there for my formulating the theme behind my film and had an understanding of what I was trying to achieve... and then she saw my character.  Criticality ensued, but for good reason.  In making him more human-like I can give him a more distinct age and can use human-like facial features that are universally recognized to describe a more facial wear and tear to the character.

So I took the critique with open arms and began to really get into character development.

Here's a sketch in the meantime showing his proportions, standing in a pose I might use to open the film.  On the page are some shot ideas and some notes from Ruben's class where he began to get into the nitty gritty of Aristotelian narrative.

This page is where I determined that it would be important to start with shots showing him being comfortable, to contrast what happens afterwards.

First Character Sketch

This is the first full sketch of my character, the farmer.

My main focus was to emphasize his eyes and make them stand out and also to be able to visually describe sadness.  His body type is to remain skinny as it describes a certain frailty that I want my character to achieve visually.

A nice surprise came in the form of his hat, as by the time I drew it and took a step back really had a way of defining his character... I took time to develop the meaning of his hat.

Here are some notes from my sketchbook:

[ - moment where he loses his hat is a moment of vulnerability
  - more symbolism for his hat?
           - symbol of possession/material
           - symbol of vocation
           - defines who he is
           - hides behind it, thus a symbol of safety/shelter/comfort  ]

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Welcome to my blog 
where I will begin showing my progress as I develop a fourth year grad film in Emily Carr University's Animation program.  This will serve a pool of my sketches, storyboards, designs, tests, and experiments that will lead me to the final resulting film.

Thus far, 
production for my film took place during most of the last Spring semester where I attempted to formulate different narratives that I wanted to write about.  After going through and revising several stories I wanted to make my film about, I've concluded in my current pursuit:

A farmer who is confronted with a tornado.

First sketches and proposal to come by next week. 

- jay