I’m currently in the process of tightening up my storyboards, and I wanted to make more interesting transitions between my shots. In an effort to do this I started watching the Adult Swim show “Superjail!”. Almost every shot is connected by some sort of creative transition. One convention that they often use is that an object in a scene will creatively transform into an object relating to the next scene, the camera will focus on that object transforming, and when the transformation is over and the camera backs out we are in the next scene. One example of this was a scene in which the warden was in the office talking about cutting funding for the garden. The camera focused on a plant in the office which turned into a satellite and beamed what the warden was saying to the plants in the garden, which proceeded to become afraid and get mowed over by a lawnmower. This can be seen below.
Vice and Project X’s Party Legends
I showed my piece to some people and they said it reminded them of a series that Vice Media did in 2012 in promotion of the movie Project X in which celebrities share experiences of crazy parties and crazy experiences that they have had and it is accompanied by a 2d animation. All of them were very eye opening. They were all animated by different people and had different little intricacies that made them all a little different. Seeing the way in which they represented ideas that the celebrities mentioned and how they would show what they were talking about without actually showing everything was interesting. Their use of visual metaphors was very effective and I’m keeping all of this in mind as I touch up my story.
In addition to this, I did intensive research on how to speed up my workflow in Ableton Live 9 in an effort to create better sonic work. I learned things that will help me create better audio for this project as well as things that would greatly improve my last thesis. I watched tutorials on how to essentially use algorithms to write songs. I also wasn’t very satisfied with my audio mixes as a whole so I watched hours worth of mixing tutorials. I think as a result my near-final audio mix came out pretty good, though I intend on touching it up. This information will also benefit Justin Sorozan as well as Caden Prince, for I am doing all of the audio for their pieces as well. Additionally I learned how to trigger video clips using MIDI note messages, as well as control lights with them. Using this new information, I am considering revisiting my last thesis which didn’t quite hit the mark and making it better.
I started filming some reference footage for my animation and watched hours worth of tutorials on how to use a camera more effectively and compose better shots. I think this will end up bettering my piece.
This week I spent a LOT of time revisiting the audio which I had created for the piece. Over the course of the week I recreated it 2 separate times. I felt their were some deep flaws in my first 2 passes of the audio for the project, which would end up ruining the project and making it boring. I felt that the story dragged along in my first pass of the project. The story felt very flat and I didn’t feel like it was satisfying to watch. I came to this conclusion because when I would show people the audio track for the piece it wasn’t able to hold their attention. It seemed like most people would just end up texting and getting distracted by their phones.
This was not what I wanted. To change this, I changed the background music completely to something much more upbeat. Additionally, as the story progresses the music speeds up. This is in an effort to make the short repetitive background music seem less repetitive. I could easily dress it up and make it more interesting, but I didn’t want it to be distracting or get in the way of the story, which is why I specifically went this route. Not only this, I included several sections where the music cuts out completely and leaves the narrator speaking with no background music. I did this when the narrator is saying something particularly important, or funny in an effort to quickly pull the viewer back into the story if their attention started to wander.
Not only did I change the instrumentals of the piece, I also recreated the vocal track several separate times. The original pass was recorded with my phone, so I had no choice but to record it with a more professional setup. This week my first pass entailed me recording the exact same words with the exact same delivery. I HATED IT. Not only did it not sound natural anymore, but I thought back about my trip and felt that I included ALL of the wrong details. When I was making revisions during my original preproduction I ended up cutting the most interesting parts of the story and included lots of boring events that were rather arbitrary. Using these observations I wrote a script that generally stuck to the story, but was structured better, funnier, and had a better pace. I also took some creative liberties in an effort to spice up the story a bit. After hours of writing and re-writing I finally had a vocal product that I was happy with.
After I had the instrumental and vocal tracks created it was time to mix. I cut a lot of mids out of the instrumental to make room for the vocal track in the mix. After a lot of tweaking and equalizing the tracks it was starting to sound pretty good. I added a gate to the vocal to cut out unnecessary noise when I wasn’t speaking which helped clean it up a lot.
There is a section near the beginning where the instrumental cuts out because the narrator forgets to mention important details and says, “woah wait, let me back up” and when this happens I decided to make the instrumental do a tape stop because I felt like it metaphorically matched what the narrator was thinking. I only used this once, because I thought overusing this effect would be cheesy.
There were sections of the piece where I mention things that my friends and I were all thinking and saying. I felt like it came off a bit strange originally with just my voice saying something that the entire group was thinking. To change this, I grabbed a few of my neighbors and recorded them saying the phrase that the group was thinking or saying. Having these additional vocals in the track at key points helps the story make more sense, and it also helps to pull the viewer back into the story if their attention started to wander.
After I made all of these changes, I showed the track to several more people. It seemed like the reception was MUCH better. People laughed more, they paid attention, and it seemed like they overall enjoyed the piece much more. The change to the audio was so drastic that I have to touch up my storyboard because the old one is no longer applicable, but I think it will all be worth it. I’m glad I am making these changes now rather than waiting and realizing I hate it further down the road.
***NOTE – the old piece was almost 5 minutes long, the new piece is around 2:30 right now but will probably end up being around 3:
I started modeling a guitar and some vehicles, among other things.