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Part 1: Evolution of a GoAnimate Contest Entry

GoAnimate recently launched their What's Your New Year's Resolution? contest on Facebook and I plan to enter. Since the deadline for entries is January 31st, 2013 I thought this would be a great opportunity to document the creation of my entry in a series of three 'highlights' posts leading up to the closing date.

Ordinarily I like to show viewers my finished animations first then talk about the behind the scenes stuff afterwards in this blog so this will be a new experience for both you and I.

Unfortunately there will be spoilers. Stop reading if you would prefer to see the finished work first and come back here after my entry is complete to find out how it all unfolded.

House keeping out of the way, let's dive in...

Inspiration

The contest is about New Year's Resolutions. The kinds of things life coaches and motivational speakers love. Quite a few of them base their philosophies around the teachings of Ninja. GoAnimate has two Ninja themes... can you see where this is going?

I had the idea of someone saying to a friend as their resolution "This year I want to be more Ninja."

I listen to a lot of Kevin Smith's podcasts (Kevin's a well known film writer/director whose career began with the 1994 film Clerks). Shows like Hollywood Babble On and Smodcast where it's just two people swapping stories and bouncing jokes off each other. Which is how I imagine my entry will be.

It starts out with the above mentioned statement and then the person's more cynical friend chimes in with their interpretation of what the first friend means by 'Ninja'.

So my initial concept is to have two friends discussing the idea of 'being more Ninja' inter cut with scenes of Ninjas acting out some of their ideas.

The Script - First Draft

Thinking about what these two friends say for about an hour I had their opening lines clear in my mind:
Friend 1: This year I want to be more Ninja.
Friend 2: You want to be more Ninja? What? You want to hide in the shadows and kill people?
I actually had much more than that sorted in my head with friend 2 counter pointing that friend 1 should have said he wanted to be more like a camera - which won't make much sense to you... yet.

Sometimes when I have a fairly clear idea of a script in my head trying to write it down can really slow down the development process. A quicker way to get your first draft done is to just perform it. Yes, I said perform it.

Now you could just record your voice but I'd also planned to write this blog post. I recorded myself performing my first draft as a video so you could see the ideas forming as I say them out loud for the very first time.

Fair warning, the video below is rough, recorded on my camera phone, with several jump cuts to remove lengthy pauses and one or two minor ideas that went nowhere. I also don't perform to the camera. In the video I'm playing two characters talking to each other and switching between the mindset of each by turning my head.

The important thing is not how it looks, it's about getting the ideas out quickly. So pay no attention to all the weird thinking/acting faces I'm making!



Note that this is not my final script. To me it's not funny enough and needs more refinement and ideas injected into it. Plus some of the ideas didn't come out or play the way I intended.

From here I'll transcribe what I said into an actual written script and start to revise it with additional ideas and  a few visual jokes for the scenes that act out what the characters are saying.

However I wanted to show you this part of the process as a useful tool for those of you that aren't 'writers'. There's no rule that says you have to actually write a script - especially if you're only making films by yourself and don't need to give anyone else a script.

At this stage that is as far as I've gone with my entry. Hopefully by the next post I'll have my script done, storyboard finalized and perhaps even started to animate.

Part 2 will be posted next week.

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