Saturday, March 11, 2006

My goofy blog name, explained!

So many people seem to be confused or put off by the name of my blog. Frankly, it has a lot to do with story, so let me explain.

Every good film suggests a world that is bigger than just what you see in the film. Think about the bug city from "A Bug's Life". You got the feeling there was so much stuff going on beyond the edges of the frame that it really felt like a real place and added to the believability and immersion of the film. So that's part of the name - to suggest something bigger, more interesting than just a blog.

There are a lot of great animation and storyboard blogs already. Their names usually contain references to animation or aspects of our business - pencils, paper, animation, storyboarding, etc. So, just when you are coming up with ideas for movies, your first instinct should always be to go 180 degrees AWAY from what everyone else has already done. Once the world has "Finding Nemo", don't make another fish movie. It's already been done well - capture the audience's imagination in a different way. And by giving my blog a weird name, I tried to ensure it wouldn't get confused with the other blogs out there, or be accused of following in their footsteps.

Also, in story things should never literally be what they are. What I mean is that if you have to board a scene of two people falling in love, don't set the scene over a candlelit dinner. Play out the scene of two people falling in love as they fix a leaky pipe. Or help a friend move out of his apartment. Or while they attempt to hitchhike cross-country. And to me the same thing applies to Blogs. Don't literally suggest a "blog". Everyone KNOWS it's a blog. So suggest something different. Suggesting two things instead of one is always better.

Lastly, there's a valuable lesson the be learned in the fact that a lot of people have told me that "they just don't get" the name of the blog. If people don't get something, don't argue with them. Listen to them. I've worked with some directors that really believed in their idea (which is good) to the extent that they wouldn't hear it when people said they were confused (which is bad). We would say in the storyroom that we didn't get it, and the director would argue with us. Fair enough. Then when we took it out in front of the public for test screenings, the public didn't seem to get it. Sometimes a director, at this point, will start saying that the audience just didn't get it but the "real" public will when it's released. Or that only a few tweaks need to be made instead of big changes. It's understandable - they've put a lot of work in and the thought of big changes, when the end is in sight, can be overwhelming, and certainly weren't encouraged by our previous management because it would be economically devastating. Don't get me wrong, you should never "let" the public tell you how to make your movie, but it's pretty apparent when they connect with something and when they don't. They can't tell you how to fix it, obviously, but they are good at identifying problem areas.

So I get that it's confusing. I hear you! But I won't change the name, we're stuck with it now. And the great thing about a blog is that I can make it my own personal thing - unlike a multi million dollar movie, which needs to appeal to a wide audience to return on it's investment.

Now if you find the INFORMATION on the blog confusing, well, THEN I will have failed. Always let me know on that score!

And it could be worse. I could play up this whole blog-as-a-temple thing to the point where it really wears thin and gets annoying. So thank your lucky stars!

Okay, I gotta go. Time to restock the oil in the magic lamps, slap on my fez, hop on my flying carpet, fly over to the oasis, enjoy my dinner of dates and figs, ride my camel back to my bedouin tent and get some sleep before the big sandstorm blows in tonight.


mark kennedy said...

And no posting dirty comments about "rubbing the magic lamp". Yes, I'm way ahead of you.

RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

Don't explain the name! Who gives a rat's ass if people don't like the name! The name doesn't matter! It's the content that matters!
Example: Almost Famous. Great movie! The title has NOTHING to do with the movie! Will Miller doesn't want to be famous! He just wants to be a rock journalist!
Tell everybody to shut the hell up and go start their OWN blogs!!!
Robotaekwon-z of the blog Phloo!

mark kennedy said...

Well, I hear you - I only expalined it because it relates to story, which I meant to talk about more on this site.

I already promised myself I will never explain it again!

Kevin Deters said...

Can you talk a little bit about the origin of your blog name?

mark kennedy said...

You're still angry because I said bad things about "Episode One", aren't you?

Like religion and politics, the first three Star Wars movies should be off-limits as topics of conversation at work.

Jenny said...

I love this post. I bow to you, sir!

And I also love the name of this blog. I confess I too wondered what it meant--wondered if it referred to something I "should" know--but I didn't mind at all not knowing--I like mystery. ; )
So much of film storytelling--animated and otherwise--has unfortunately been taught as requiring that everything be explained. Wrong! As you point out. There's a thousand ways to leave 90% of the audience intrigued or wondering without being annoyed or infuriated, or feeling cheated by a bit of realistic mystery. There seems to be a lot of paranoia about this, which can result in some really obvious, dumb scenes in movies.

Clay Kaytis said...

Gee, should I be embarrased that my site is creatively called The Animation Podcast?

I read a ton of animation blogs, and yours is one of the few that has a name I can remember! Keep up the fantastic work. You've been moved in to my elite 'check daily' list of blogs.

Anonymous said...

love it... m glad ur leavin it just the way it it is the world is undergoing a systematic housecleaning of mystery and adventure (aka. whatever makes life interesting)lets save the shreds we can

Sant Arellano said...

This post is from 2006 and I'm posting this 2011, I have read the blog sporadically and I find the information amazingly valuable as a story artist.

But now I'm reading the entire blog and I started with your blog because the name stuck, hehe!

Keep posting sir, I'm a fan and an avid student of the temple