After Matthew's feedback on my first animatic, I went back and changed a lot of my story to try and fit in the relationship build-up of Mollie and Babbit, which Matthew had said, "was not present" in the film. I understood completely where he was coming from, as in this first animatic, the amount of screen time with Mollie and Babbit together is very small, which, for a film about a friendship, seemed a massive flaw.
Babbit - Second Animatic [Rough] Vimeo Link
So I decided to change certain aspects. To begin with, I cut out the first shot of Mollie and Babbit together, as Matthew said he liked the meeting scene with Mollie and Babbit in the coatroom, and thought that would work well as the first introduction to Babbit for the audience as well. So I began instead with the shots of Mollie looking sad and isolated in school amongst her classmates.
The biggest change I made, however, was to have another character who appeared in the first animatic, have a bigger part. The little girl with the skipping rope who wants to play with Mollie in the first animatic is seen earlier on in this second animatic when Mollie is playing with Babbit.
The reason behind having the girl introduced earlier is to show the audience that when Mollie is seen wanting to go play with someone else who is not Babbit, then Babbit grows smaller. It happens earlier, just before we are introduced to the girl too, when Mollie and Babbit are in a scene in the playground. Mollie is drawing on the ground (with chalk) with Babbit - and the other children are doing the same but across the playground from where they are. When Mollie looks up and sees the other children, we see her looking like she wants to go and play with them. With a few angle changes, we then see Babbit suddenly a bit smaller, as Babbit is beginning to realise that Mollie is starting to grow up and become more independent and doesn't need him. Babbit growing smaller every time when Mollie is seen wanting to grow up was an idea that Matthew really wanted to see in my film, and this was how I went about producing that.
After the first "encounter" with the girl, it is more obvious that Babbit is smaller, and this is when the teacher comes in and takes Babbit away, as this was a scene I wanted to keep in. Thereafter, the film is pretty similar to the first, with a few extra scenes adjusted; i.e.: the time lapse scene in the middle, and the ending in a silhouette form.
Here are some rough thumbnails I worked on whilst developing these new scenarios.
Feedback from James
James did not like the second animatic as he felt that I had now made the film "too literal" in the sense that everything was explained too much and there was nothing left for the audience to uncover for themselves. He said that it lacked the subtlety of the first animatic, and that it would be best to go back and refine the first again, with a few ideas from this animatic, but mainly to keep the subtleties and explain the friendship between Mollie and Babbit in a few still illustration scenes with hardly any movement, instead of these drawn out and literal scenes shown in this second animatic.
I totally understood James' comments, as I didn't have a 'gut feeling' about this animatic, even as I was making it. I made it, trying to live up to Matthew's feedback, but obviously, I didn't want to completely lose the subtleties of the first, though unfortunately, I had. James' critique helped me re-look at my first animatic and spot points that could be improved on and altered. This critique session helped me really envision my film much more clearly, and I believe the changes I made to the animatic in the third version are definitely better executed and still retain the friendship of the characters and the heart of the story.
The Third Animatic
So the main problem Matthew had to start with was the lack of screen time of Mollie and Babbit together. In the discussion with James, we both came up with the idea that the relationship moments with Babbit could appear between the first shots of Mollie on her own in the classroom. I would show Mollie alone at a table, sad and upset, and then the next shot, Mollie could be sat in the library cuddled up to Babbit reading a book. And as I had three scenarios of Mollie alone, I could easily intersperse three more scenarios of Mollie and Babbit together to show their relationship clearly in a montage.
So I quickly went back with this feedback and drew up some new frames to put into the first animatic again. Thankfully, this did not take too long.
I also chose a different piece of music to the one I used in the second version. The new animatic did not fit well with this previous piece, so I went back to a piece I had chosen a few weeks back which I had noted down as a possibility. Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie #1". I love the first phrase of the piece, the simple repeating chords really worked well with the first scenes, and thankfully, pretty much the entire piece of music fitted well, with some minor alterations at the end. I love how soft and emotional the track is, and I feel that it really helps the audience watching connect more with Mollie as a character to empathise with. I will be showing this piece to my composer to discuss ideas inspired by this music choice.
Here are some pages of drawings, thumbnails for shot development and new final shots for the third animatic:
Here is the storyboard for the third animatic:
I definitely feel this animatic has more weight and works better story-wise than the first and second. I will be showing this to my peer group on the 12th December after the Hand-In and hope to get some feedback on it. After this feedback, my next task will be to re-draw the entire animatic, adding more effects (with the aid of After Effects) to make a clearer and more detailed FINAL animatic for the second part of our Hand-In on the 16th January.
Here is the third animatic that I will be submitting as my final Rough animatic for my Hand-In deadline on 12th December:
Babbit - Third Animatic [Rough] Vimeo Link
Next Post: More Pre-Production Work.