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Quizboy
07-19-2003, 03:07 AM
Hi All,

I'm a screenwriter and aspiring director whose dream it is to make bigtime Hollywood style entertainment. I've written 4 screenplays which are all full of huge ideas that I'll never be able to make without begging someone for money, so I got into 3D to be able to realize at least some of those visions myself. I'm now a Maya newbie and I love it, but I'd be kidding myself if I think I'm going to be able to realize a project, even a short one any time soon, that rivals some of the images that I envy from the big screen or even on this site - working fulltime and doing this on the side, even if I am somewhat artistically talented - it's just never going to happen to compete with guys that have been doing this everyday for years on top of being supremely artistic. But I'm convinced that I've got wildly original and entertaining ideas and that I should be one of those guys calling the shots, literally, so...

...I decided to get smart. Here's my idea:

Make a very SIMPLE project, using a SIMPLE character, but tell a highly ENTERTAINING story. Tell the story of "Stick Man." He doesn't talk, but he's trained in Kung Fu as well as modern martial arts (guns, espionage, chicanery) and he's really pissed off.

OK, the project is deceptively simple. It will still take a lot of work and cleverness, but at least it's a project which is within a regular guy's reach. What I want to do is approach the project from the perspective of a film director using the techniques which I've already been studying for years. The beauty of Maya is that it allows ultimate flexibility with camera movement, lighting, the works, but normally this flexibility is limited because we have to spend years modeling and rigging the characters and environment and blah, blah, blah before we can get to the actual nitty gritty of making the characters actually do stuff, then when we get that far, we realize our computers can't handle the load, and it just turns out to be more frustration before we even get a few seconds that we're happy with.

Enter Stick. He's the most basic form of character there is - so render speed is high. Multiple characters are as easy as duplicate and a change of material color. We can coordinate extremely complex animation sequences BIG BUDGET HOLLYWOOD STYLE and not be bogged down like other typically complex 3D characters and objects. And the star of our show is a figure as recognized by audiences far and wide as Jesus Christ himself, maybe more, even Cro-Magnon dudes made homages to Stick back in the day before JC was even an idea in the womb of the "so-called" Virgin Mary. Man would I love to make a mockumentary on the life of Jesus's real father...but I digress...

Anyway I had originally planned to do everything myself, but ultimately I don't think that's the most effective or efficient way to work to achieve the best results (although I will if I have to, it'll just take a lot longer.)

I'm looking for someone or some people who love to do animation, and another person who gets a kick out of making extremely simple models, lots of them and fast and maintaining a consistent if simple style for all the objects throughout the film, then this would allow me to focus my energies on choosing shots, moving the camera, setting up lights, compositing and editing of rendered shots (basically final look type of issues which a film director should be concerned with)

I want to approach the thing just like we're making Charlie's Angles 3, or the Matrix Revelations or something, just that it's starring Stick. Kinetic pace, over the top stunts, extreme action, hardcore fighting, laws of physics defying acrobatics.

I know that the kind of animation I need should really be professional, because the choreography needed and its execution is the make it or break it of this project - in fact it should be better and more fluid than any other animations of more complex characters, but I'm hoping to find someone who is dedicated to animation but just not quite through into the working part of this industry, and like me looking to prove they've got what it takes - or someone already in the industry but working the pipeline grind, looking for an outside project that would be fun to do and might turn a few heads.

I don't think the group has to be extremely large, I was thinking three people who are commited and talented would be able to cut it. All of us would have to animate, but me being a newbie I would take instruction from the lead animator who is hopefully more experienced than I am. And a modeler who makes various objects and also does supporting animation, maybe specialiazing in anmating things that have to move around besides the characters themselves. I could still see room for a fourth for additional things like explosions, bullets or missiles firing, dynamics type stuff, but the smaller and more talented the few the better than lots of suckers with little talent.

I only want to work with people who truly love action for the art that it is. People who realize that there is a beauty in the choreography of bust it up bang em up shoot em up sequences that can be well done or not well done. This whole project is artistic action driven so you have to be able to see and appreciate that to achieve a good result here.

Of course not the whole film at once! I'm am not a newbie idiot (yeah a newbie in Maya, but not in life.) I understand the line between wannabeing and wishful thinking and realistic project planning. Although i have enough story material for a feature film, the first goal would be to make one kickass opening scene. It sets up the story for the rest of the film, but also stands on its own. I want to focus a lot of energy on this one scene to make it look and sound fantastic. Also this will allow us to see if the format works. If not we dissolve, if we're still excited we go on. We can constantly get feedback along the way so we'll know if it's worth going on, but ultimately I'd like to complete a feature and sell it to a film distributor just the same way any low-budget independent film gets sold.

----------------------------------

So there's the deal laid out for the whole world to see. Any and all kinds of suggestions or feedback is welcome, even from professionals or those not interested to get involved but who might have good suggestions for how best to proceed. Pipeline suggestions are especially welcome, such as proven methods for working as a team over the internet. Animator mentors are also very welcome on this project, as in you don't have time to do any of the animating yourself, but you're willing to share with me - as an animation newbie - specific advice and feedback as to how I can best get Stick to do everything I want him to do...

Thanks everyone ahead of time for your generous contribution to this thread! Cheers and Watch for the Stick!

Quizboy
07-19-2003, 03:09 AM
Sorry I talk so much guys, i just looked at the massive size of my post. Please forgive me, i'm a writer.

Cheers!

Quizboy
07-19-2003, 03:21 AM
Oh yeah, just in case you've never heard of Stick Death online or this is the first time you've heard of the Stick concept as entertainment, check out www.xiaoxiaomovie.com (http://www.xiaoxiaomovie.com ) for one example of just how cool sticks can be.

Quizboy
07-20-2003, 05:54 PM
People if you read this could you at least jot down some feedback, even if you're not interested in getting involved. Every additional morsel of input can help, even if it's just to convey your initial reaction upon reading the post.

Cheers!

ndog
07-21-2003, 07:17 AM
Hi, here is a little feedback and a couple of questions,

I think the simplification of the charactor to a stick figure kind of leaves me with a "already been done" feeling, having previously seen the kung fu stick animations. A simple but original charactor might be better.

You've mentioned Maya several times, are you limiting your search to people who use Maya?

What is the end goal of this little production?

How much time will you be expecting people to contribute, say on a weekly basis? As you are already aware even a simple short is time intensive.

Quizboy
07-21-2003, 07:43 AM
Are you saying that the Stick short has been done in 3D before? Cause I've seen it in Flash and the concept continues to be very successful in that medium...but I've never seen anyone make a film of it that takes advantange of 3D perspectives and camera cuts. I think it would work for a broader audience - like people who aren't bound to the internet. If so please hip me to the links...

Quizboy
07-21-2003, 07:48 AM
and no it doesn't have to be limited to maya, cause the objects will all be extremely rudimentary and can be exprted as obj files which i can load into the scene in maya.

although i think the animation would have to be in maya.

i'll check into that. what are you working with?

ndog
07-21-2003, 08:08 AM
I'm referring to the flash animations, I think AOL was also running a series of television commercials using an animated stick man composited into live action.

I think FBX files were designed for exporting animation data between packages but I'm not certain about that.

Just my 2 cents.

Quizboy
07-21-2003, 10:48 AM
So what app do you use?

Quizboy
07-21-2003, 10:58 AM
i see quite a few uses for Stick animation. First of all it can be fun, because it lets us build a scene quickly and efficiently from the perspective of action and story, instead of from a detailed oriented perspective first. That way we approach the project more from a film and storytelling angle which hopefully will result in a more entertaining end result.

Secondly, there's a higher plausiblity of FINISHING, which in my book is infinitely more valuable than not finishing - especially in this field of rampant aborted projects because of people striving for more than what is realistic, given their resources - time being the most valuable of those.

Thirdly, Stick is using the same skeleton as any other human character (minus hands feet and facial), so if the story we generate is entertaining in stick form there is always the possiblity of expanding the detail of the characters using the animations already generated for the Stick scenes.

Quizboy
07-21-2003, 12:08 PM
The First Scene I want to shoot is a Sepia-toned Dojo scene. It all takes place in one room of the Dojo where the Master is performing the handover ritual of the Sacred Box to Stick. The Sacred Box is simply a box with a glowing light coming out of it, the contents of which we never see.

In the middle of the ceremony Bad Guys bust in and attack using an unorthodox combination of kung fu, guns, and swords and walking on walls, ceilings, materializing through the walls. Stick and the Master defend themselves pretty niftily against roughly 20 guys but Stick is confined to standard kung fu. He is surprised to discover that the Master can also defy laws of natural physics. Ultimately the Bad Guys get the Sacred Box, and the Master dies. End Scene.

This scene sets in motion the rest of the film, but I just want to make the one scene first. So if you want to start making a Dojo room - keeping it simple - and objects such as the box, shields, swords, staffs, scythes to adorn the walls ready to be grabbed. Guns and double-ended daggers for the Bad Guys that'd be great.

Simple and Quick is the key to the Stick design. If an object takes you more than 15 minutes to build, you're spending too long on that object...

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