Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Ending for a Happy New Year

Okay, here is the very, very last of the Robin Hood deleted scene for my last post of 2006. Robin and Marian get married and ride away in the obligatory Disney carriage. Click to view bigger.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

And They All Lived...

...happily ever after, of course. In this version, Prince John and Sir Hiss aren't shown breaking rocks in prison suits (like they are in the finished version) or anything like that. They're just absent. Even the Sheriff of Nottingham was invited to the wedding (he's crying, no less).

I really like a lot of these drawings. They are very simple and clear. They have a ton of appeal. The best thing about simple drawings like these is that they can be produced very quickly and then strung together on film to see if the story is working. Today, there is usually much more of an emphasis on things like drawing on model, indicating more of a sense of layout, defining a character's expression more precisely and adhering to a more exacting sense of what the real cutting and staging will be. All of these things are important, especially on modern movies where time is a factor. The closer the boards can be to the final product, the easier it is for everyone down the line (layout, animation, etc.) to build on what you have boarded and do their job effeciently. Plus, watching an hour and a half or so of story reels is not much fun and the more polished and fancy the story sketches are the easier it makes the reels for people to watch. Then they have a better reaction to the material.

The drawback to trying to put too much into your boards is that it can inhibit your thinking and experimentation. The more you are concerned with getting the staging exactly right (and stuff like that) the less you are able to free your mind to try out different ideas and exploring the characters and situations.

Of course, every film is different and has a different need. Every director has their own tastes and preferences as well (but I never met anyone - directors included - that didn't prefer pretty drawings to crude ones).

All in all it is important to remember that a good film is made from good ideas. Not pretty drawings.

...then again, if I was a better draftsman, I might have a different opinion.

Click to see bigger.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays

Best wishes to you and your family, whatever holiday you plan on celebrating this season.

"Santy Clos" by my daughter, aged 5

A few weeks ago, my family and I drove to a local town where you could ride on an old train for a few miles, pick up Santa at the "North Pole" and bring him back to the station. Along the way, teenagers in elf ears and Christmas hats served cookies and milk. One of the teenaged elves read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" over the train's PA system.

Now I don't know about the rest of the world, but if you live in America and celebrate Christmas then you've probably heard the poem a hundred times by the time you're fifteen. Except this particular teenager seemed totally unfamiliar with the poem and when she read from the book she made several (unintentionally hilarious) mistakes. Instead of saying Santa's eyes "twinkled" she said that they "tinkled" and instead of saying that "he laid his finger aside of his nose" she read it as "he laid his finger inside of his nose". Every time she made a mistake she was very embarassed and got more and more flustered. Then after that the elves began leading the train in Christmas Carols. They asked the crowd to yell out requests and there were spirited renditions of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Deck the Halls". Just as we were coming off a succesful version of "Frosty" and building momentum, somebody yelled out a request for "Feliz Navidad". The crowd rolled into it, trying to keep up our energy, but it quickly became apparent that nobody knew the words. Everybody knew the words to the chorus, but after that everybody starting humming, hoping that the person next to them would know the Spanish lyrics to the rest of the song, but appaprently nobody did.

It's hard to convey how truly magical and fun the night was, and I can only say that it was one of those moments where life is funnier, more magical, more charming and whimsical than any movie could ever hope to be. The moral of this treacly holiday tale is to draw your inspiration from real life, not things other people have made. The real people you come across in your life are far more compelling and nuanced than any charcter created in a script could be. the real things that happen to you every day are far more sad, funny and entertaining than any movie. If you do your best to portray life as you have lived it in your work, what you produce will always be compelling and interesting. Try to show the truth of the world as you know it and not as others have shown it to you. The original is always better than the copy.

Anyway, here's wishing you and yours a good holiday season. I'll post the end of the Robin Hood boards after the 25th.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Still More R.H. Screengrabs

So King richard shows up and reprimands Prince John (telling him everything he's done wrong) and Prince John has a meltdown which ends in thumb-sucking. Then (if I remember correctly) Marian explains what's been happening to King Richard.

This version seems unsatisfying for a few reasons. Number one, King Richard is talked about in his absence all through the picture. This always lends a mythic status to a character, especially one that is beloved like King Richard. So having him show up alone really undercuts that idea. Also he has no logical reason to show up at the church. It's weird. And having him repeat a list of PJ's crimes doesn't buy anything. We saw all those crimes commited. We don't need to hear all about them. It also turns the mythical King into a bit of a irritating and preachy guy. We all want to see the villain get his comeuppance but there's nothing satisfying about seeing him get a lecture from somebody. I actually like the way King Richard is treated in the finished movie where he just shows up for one scene and is treated as a very affable guy with a big personality. It fits with the mythic figure the movie sets up.

There's nothing wrong with having your hero portrayed as un-heroic at times but it seems a bit strange to have Robin so completely out of it this late in the picture. Usually that happens earlier in a story so the hero can recover and then save the day. At this point the movie is basically over and in the very next scene Robin is up and around and totally healthy, so him being wounded and sick doesn't really buy you anything dramatically at this point.

I'll post the happy ending next. Click to see bigger.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Robin Hood screengrabs

So right as Prince John is about to kill Robin, he pauses to talk. Classic villain mistake. And his hesitation allows King Richard to show up and save the day. By himself. Seriously, what kind of King travels without any entourage? Not even a valet?

Cick to see bigger.