WilliamsnMichael - Spencer : Short film

-Michael Williams
-Spencer - Short film

Hi Michael,

I really like the idea of the dark basement. However there are some story elements that left me feeling quite confused, which i'll come to later.

-When the guy peers around the corner the second time i would try to make sure the pupils are visible. The eyes are the first thing you look at in any character and its important to get them right. Try to plant his fingers firmly on the corner of the wall.

-As he nervously approaches the entrance to the cellar I would look at his side to side motion. It feels sticky. I think the general weight positioning over each foot is good but there are strong glitches in the animation that really make him look light (this glitchy light movement comment applies to most of the film). I would film your self acting all of it to get something more natural. Check how many steps you take and how far apart they are. Look at how your head and arms move with your body. Great animation comes out of great reference. Think about gravity, weight and balance in your character, together with fluidity and mechanics.

-I like the camera rotating slowly back down the stairs, it feels very Alfred Hitchcock. If the guy casts a long shadow on the wall next to him the effect would be even better.

-When stepping down the stairs he seems to keep the same centre of gravity with each step. Shift his balance.

-The miss step and fall down the stairs feels quite erratic and awkward with the camera rolling, bouncing and pulling back to the other side of the room, then cutting to a close up. Animate the camera as if you were there holding it and filming the action. Your movements would be offset to follow the action rather than sync with it, and make the landing happen right in front of the camera, don't go to the other side of the room first. Concentrate on getting the fall working before worrying too much about the camera moves.

-The wrists of the character often bend unnaturally with the arm, like they're broken. Good Video reference will help with things like this.

-The eyes should lead the head rotation left and right, they generally feel quite erratic at times.

-The story gets very confusing for me toward the end. Who is the white haired guy? Is he a ghost? Why is he so small? And where's the end of story? There doesn't seem to be a conclusion. The cut and story telling here would have really benefited from good planning with a story board (thumbnail sketches, telling the story in picture form). This way you'd know if the story worked before you started animating.

-Try simply telling the story with pictures and see what you come up with. Any good story can be told this way.

-Anim Dailies