The Dwarfs have Pinocchio

Pu and the 5 Dwarfs
Danny Kneip | October 5, 2015 | 2 Comments

Indeed, there were some pretty great animations submitted to the 11 Second Club in September. My own animation, “Pu and the 5 Dwarfs”, a play on Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, swung and missed, finishing in 33rd place. The reasons why are fairly obvious.

The Problems

Overpopulating the Scene – Going in to the challenge, I knew my frames were too busy. With six total characters and each doing his own thing, the audience’s eye never gets to rest because there is no clear focal point. We usually want to look at the person speaking, and I thumbed my nose at this convention by trying something different, just because I personally liked it. That’s a sure way to confuse, and thus lose, your audience – especially within the confines of the 11SecondClub, whereby the voter has nothing to go on except your animation.

The title of the piece and a brief description are only available after the rankings are public. On YouTube, my animation can be well received because right away, people know what they’re looking at.

Identifiable Characters – Based on the comments I received, the audience was super confused about who the characters were. One thought they were “Santa and the elves”. Another KNEW they were dwarfs, but didn’t know why there were five of them in the scene! And I’m sure nobody recognized Pinocchio, so the point of the concept was completely lost.

I should have opened the piece with a medium-shot of Pinocchio so the audience could see exactly what his predicament was. I also should have left his head intact to more easily identify him. This way, Dopey could still stick the Plutonium in his own ear, and there wouldn’t be a conflict.

Unconventional Concept – Overall, the idea that the 7 dwarfs have Pinocchio and will turn him into a slave-boy powered by Plutonium (symbol Pu, if you didn’t catch that already) – was too off-the-wall for the general audience to grasp. Naturally, Pinocchio only comes to life with a wish. Asking the audience to have this much foresight is asking WAAAAY too much.

I’m sure I would have scored higher had I stuck with two speaking dwarfs and a “device” of some sort. But then would I be happy about that? It’s a tightrope, for sure, but sometimes a concept is TOO out-of-the-box for the audience and they do not reward the effort or thought.

Jiminy Crickets – Leaving him out of the final shot was probably a mistake. There’s a good chance people would have connected the Cricket with Pinocchio, realized the Disney world and then noticed the Dwarfs. There’s also a chance the Cricket would only have caused more damage.

I chose to exclude Jiminy Cricket because he provided hope for Pinocchio’s escape. I preferred that Pinocchio’s eventual reunion with Gheppeto would be unresolved. I was thinking much deeper about the concept than the audience was ever going to.

And because I thumbed my nose at the audience, but had a nice render (though nobody complemented it), I finished with 5 1/2 stars, or 33rd place out of 164 total entries. It’s still the top 25%, but at the lowered end. I take full responsibility for my low ranking with the 11SecondClub.

However, there is a great accomplishment in creating something for oneself first. For that reason, I am especially pleased with the results.

Comments Received

Many of the comments amused me.

Nuclear rod in his ear made me laugh. 🙂

nice on the acting, just a bit confusing on the camera, like, who are these other 3 dwarves all of a sudden…

Good idea ahah

facials are good…body needs improvement

Wait so what is the thing that runs on plutonium? The toy on the box, or the gnome that’s shoving it in his ear?

Really like the Santa and Elves idea! Confusing focus – am I looking at Santa or the guy shoving plutonium in his ear? Weight shifts are not always correct, bodies are fairly dead. Decent eye and face work.

Funny 🙂

And here is the entry on my 11SecondClub page.

Congratulations to the other entrants. This was a fun experience, overall.

Cheers,

2 thoughts on “The Dwarfs have Pinocchio

  1. Mark Mushakian

    I think you might be harsher on it than yourself here than you should be. This isn’t a general-audience type of contest, of course, so you’re getting votes by folks who are analyzing it all from a much more technical POV than most would. I think that, yes, a closer shot of little Pinocchio would’ve helped, and it is a LITTLE crowded.. but I don’t mind that. It adds a richness to the scene, spares it from feeling like a barebones animation, and the background action is subtle enough that it’s not distracting. You chose some of the more defined dwarfs, too, and that helps ID it for anyone who knows the Disney characters even remotely. I’m actually a little sad that viewers on an animation site had trouble knowing who they were 😉

    In hindsight, perhaps it would’ve worked better having Dopey and Grumpy next to the puppet, to help make it more obvious from the opening shot… but I noticed Pinocchio right away, even without the top of his head. It’s an 11-second challenge, not a lot of room to breathe, and I think it turned out really great. I hope you’re still working on non-contest animation, too, because I’ve been a fan of your stuff since we first met and I loved a hilarious screenplay about a crippled puppet-maker… I’d love to see more.

  2. Danny Kneip Post author

    I’m still in shock that three different animators would not have a clue who these characters are. It’s depressing, quite frankly. But I can’t let it get me down. Too much work to be done!

    Thank you for your kind words. I’m putting the contest related animations on hold this month and indeed refocusing on other projects, including Wooden. Some new lines have been written to help clarify things and I’ll record them this weekend along with a Bedtime Story I’d like to hand draw.

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