I think it is a great idea to encourage the creation of short films here on CG Talk.
In what ways can CG Talk help facilitate this?
Let’s look at the problems facing the successful completion of an animated short:
The number one issue is motivation. People tend to start out enthusiastic and fizzle after a few weeks.
Perhaps CG Talk could use its clout to get some sort of prize. Doesn’t have to be big. That way the production teams have a carrot so to speak.
The second issue I think is time. Many times, people will bite off more than they can chew and that directly affects the first problem of motivation. Keeping the projects simple and managable is key. Especially for a first-time project.
I would suggest posing a time limit. 30 sec to 1 minute is probably more than enough for a first project, especially if it’s collaborative with personel spread over many parts of the world.
I also suggest coming up with a handful of scenarios that people could pick from. Keep them vague enough that there is room for interpretation and even if 5 teams pick the same scenario, the end result will be five different shorts.
If a team would like to do their own idea, perhaps then would be a good time to have it approved to make sure that it is a viable project to complete.
Lastly, DEADLINES are crucial to keeping a project on schedule. An idea would be to break the short film down into a production schedule of script, storyboards/concept art, models, rigs, textures, animation, lighting, rendering. Each stage would have a set deadline that is strictly enforced. If a team misses a deadline, they are out. Fired so to speak. This gives it a real-world feel and stresses the importance of working within a structured schedule. They can still finish the short and are encouraged to, but would be out of the competition. That may sound harsh but strict deadlines keep the production moving forward. Perhaps there could be one grace given for acts of God that interupt production and affect the deadlines (these can and do happen from time to time). Each team would get one “mulligan” that could be used for one production deadline only. A second chance.
Maybe CG Talk could then create a DVD of the shorts (sort of like the Expose books). I don’t know how realistic that is, it’s just a sugestion.
Well, those a just some thoughts and suggestions to take or leave!