Proud to announce Laundry Day will be in the Canada International Film Festival and the Animation Torrent festival!
Very excited about both these. Laundry day has won the Royal Reel award for animation at the Canada International, the first win for our film!! This fest will be in my home town of Vancouver, Canada. The Festival will take place March 28th-29th 2014.
I’m really proud to be in the Animation Torrent festival, april 17th in Chicago. Getting in this festival was really important to me because the judges are two people who have had a significant influence on my animation. I first saw Bill Plymptons work when my parents took me to the “Spike and Mike festival of animation” in the late 80′s. That’s when I realized animation was much more than Walt Disney. PES is also judging the films. Laundry Day is inspired by his hilarious and unique short films.
For years I’ve wanted to make my own film. Unfortunately lack of time, money and know-how were getting in the way. …Or so I thought.
I’ve working as a CG animator for quite a while now, and have worked on many films, but that’s much different than being a film maker. Animation is very focused work its rare that I get see how the frames I’m working on relate to the whole picture. The long hours don’t leave me with much free time. I’ve never had much formal training in cinematography, editing, sound design and many of the other skill needed to make a film. So how the hell was I going to make a short film I could be proud of. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and not doing much else. Then the idea for a short about the missing socks came a long and I realized despite all my so-called limitations, that was an idea I could work with.
I wanted to make a live action film but animation is my strength. Using stop motion animation I could make a live action film but still use one of my strengths to enhance it. Animating relatively simple characters and having it set in my apartment gave me the flexibility to work on it when ever I had the spare time. I have several talented friends who I consulted repeatedly through out the production. My friends (and google search) taught me about as much as any pricy film school could. As for all the expensive equipment I needed, my friends came through on that one too!
Check out this great TED talk. I wish I had seen this sooner.
I am proud to announce that Laundry Day has been accepted to the Festival Sayulita.
“The first annual Festival Sayulita, presented by SayulitaBeach.com, is a unique gathering for all lovers of Mexico, film, tequila, food, music and surf to be held Jan 16-19th in the idyllic coastal town of Sayulita, Nayarit. Sayulita provides a scenic, bohemian background perfect for this international festival. Creative and provocative films will be shown in various venues throughout the town. Additional events include tequila and food pairings, master tequila tastings, beach-front film venues, private screenings and live music.”
Sayulita is a great town! I recommend a visit to anyone looking to get away. The sequel to Laundry Day might be “Socks In Sayulita”
With over a decade working on films and TV, I thought making a short film would be relatively straightforward. I was completely wrong. A director has an incredible amount to think about. Not just story and performance, but also technical details like continuity and spacial relationships. As an animator I only have to focus on one shot at time or at most one sequence.
Working on feature films in post production I’m often doing fixes or cheats. This is because a scene wasn’t filmed right, the edit has changed …again, there’s a problem with continuity, or any number of things. And I always hear complaining (sometimes from myself). “Why didn’t they just shoot it better”, “Why didn’t they think about this when they were filming”, “Nobody is going to notice this little detail”, “why don’t they just…” Making my film I learned why these mistakes are made.
With the story on paper I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how the short was going to look. I had a clear idea of how I was going to edit key sequences. The characters don’t talk so I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to show their emotions and thoughts with their actions and cinematography. I drew the storyboards and the story evolved a little. I filmed (previs’ed) a rough version with my iphone found some problems and made more revisions to the story. I filmed and animated it and that’s when I really started to see what wasn’t working. Through out the whole production the underlying story stayed the same. However I had to keep making little plot changes here and there so the story line would read clearly. The more editing I did the more I realized how just how much had to be cut out. It was pretty tough for me to cut shots that I had spent hours/days animating, but in the end its the story that counts.
Directing is arguably one of the hardest jobs in film making. When animating I only have to focus on the subtle details of just the animation in my shots. The director has to focus on the smallest details of every element in every shot while, at the same time seeing the big picture. That’s not just about story or character performance, but also time and space. A director has to think about the flow of the film. You can spend days filming a couple shots, making sure each one is perfect. But when these shots are edited together will the audience have a clear idea of layout of the scene? Or will they be confused as to how a character got from here to there. Although I had a lot of help making this little film, I did most of the work myself. While filming, animating, setting up lights, building camera rigs, finding props, training the dog, and trying to stay on budget, I had to always keep the story in mind.
Even with detailed storyboards and previs it’s easy to forget something when filming. I filmed Laundry Day in my apartment where my wife and Rex live. It was easy for me to re-shoot any mistakes or get additional shots. For my next film I will be much better prepared for any editing room surprises.
I decided to start this blog to share my film making experience. For Years I have worked in the film industry as an animator helping other people make their movies. I enjoy animating, but for some time now I’ve wanted to try making my own movies. This spring (2013) I finally got off my ass and made a short film.
The short film I made is called “Laundry Day”. This story explains a mystery as old as the washing machine, its a story about what can happen when you’re not looking. Set in a typical apartment a woman (played by Susanna Stewart) is trying to get the house cleaned up. However two mischievous characters and the family dog have other plans.
I’ve been working away at this in my spare time. Its now six months later and I have recently completed filming, animating and editing “Laundry Day”. My Brother (Mike Stewart) is working on composting the animation into the live action footage. My Friend Dan Brittan is working on the music, and I’ve hired a sound designer to create additional sound FX’s.
Getting this far has been a lot of hard work I’ve given up a lot of my free time, and have made plenty of mistakes. But It’s also a lot of fun, I’m happy with the way its turning out and can’t wait to complete it. I still have much more work to do. Slowly but surely we’ll get it done.