Wooden Production Journal #27

“The knife slid warmly with the fine, light grain. Mr. Stockpot held the block of summer linden firmly in his gloved left hand and drew the blade across the groove once again, peeling away a thin layer that circled over itself before breaking free and softly dropping to the floor where hundreds of similar clippings greeted it.”

I know Mr. Stockpot. I’ve lived with him for over a decade. Being both passionate and precise in his work afforded him the comforts or a large and cozy cottage tucked neatly away in the forest. He whittled with the finest woods and premium blades. His paints were mulled in the workshop using the sharpest pigments and a bottle of linseed oil purchased from Deary Farms and delivered every Thursday in a crate of mixed goods by a young lad named Mr. Brahms.

Stockpot proceeded tirelessly at his craft as a puppet maker. He never settled for less on design or quality and became very well known, far and wide, for his expertise and perfectly crafted toy puppets.

In that vein, it would most certainly be a disservice to the characters if I gave any effort less than what I was fully capable of in telling their story. I’ve been in these shoes before trying to film “Wooden” in a half-assed way. But with this new animated version, I honestly feel like my only burdens are time and tedium.

Animating, either 2d or 3d or stop-motion, is not glamorous. It’s not exciting. I thought I’d be able to post an update each month and show the small scenes I’d completed, but it doesn’t really work that way. The audience wants the final project, not bits and pieces. However, I’m sure you wanted to know I updated my bluebird to have fuller, more practical wings.

Bluebird made with Blender

My New Year’s Resolutions are in place. The oft-mentioned “Don’t get killed” and “Make less than 1 million dollars” have made the list again for 2014, which I successfully accomplished in 2013. But the completion of my animation was also on the list and I was short-sighted in believing I could finish a 12 page animation in 1 year all by myself. 2 – 3 years is really more likely considering the actual amount of time I get to devote to the project, which isn’t nearly enough.

This all said, of course I’m going to continue forward with this project, though it is extremely wearying and my desire to work on something else grows stronger. But I owe this to everyone involved and it really needs to show my best effort. I’ll probably cut out the monthly updates, as the update is always the same: “I’m still working, you keep waiting”.

However, in a couple weeks, I’m going to post a video focusing on one particular shot in my film. I’ve rendered the scene, which is a mostly acceptable, blocked and staged animated sequence, one that a beginning animator might be quite happy with, and will analyze its strengths and weaknesses. I’ll then attempt to correct the problems and render a more perfect shot.

This may provide some insight into why the process of animation takes so long. Until then, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2014. And the show must go on.