Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In-Class Storyboard Drawings

For his Drawing for Storyboarding class, Prof. Benjamin R Phillips shows us a still from a different movie every class and has us sketch it out in 15 minutes. It involves studying the principles of storyboarding like composition, framing, staging, contrast, etc. Here are two examples from the last two classes.

First is from the movie "The Ghoul" and second(both) from Freaks. Lately we've been dealing with old black and white films that were shot in a different aspect ratio than today's cinema widescreen. So that's what the letterboxing on the right is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty

You know how the internet is… Some trend catches on like wild fire and creates a buzz for a while. Then it dies down and everyone forgets about it. Waking sleeping beauty is a documentary film by Don Hahn that was originally screened back in september 09 at Telluride film festival. It was talked about on all animation and movie review blogs. Eventually, people would stop talking about it.

But I got to watch the movie earlier this quarter at SCAD and had to write a field trip report for Charles DaCosta's class. Here is my paper which I finished last week.

I remember I first heard about Waking Sleeping Beauty on Mark Mayerson’s Blog when it screened at the Toronto international film Festival. It quickly left my mind as I finished my fall quarter finals and went on vacation. Early spring quarter, we got assigned our field trip which was to go watch Waking Sleeping Beauty at the Trustee’s Theater at SCAD. As all the great things I’d read about it on animation blogs started coming back to me, I got very excited that we would get to see this documentary.
I knew I had heard Don Hahn’s name before, and I realized I own the book he compiled from Walt Stanchfield’s lectures on figure drawing. He has also worked at Disney with Professor Troy G. And his page on IMDB page is full of fond names from mine and many of my peers’ childhood. This documentary is his debut as a feature director. Waking Sleeping beauty is a documentary about the revival of animation at Disney from 1980s to 1990s. He would also answer questions after the screening.
The theater was jam packed with students, all animation junkies I presume. This was much bigger turnout than I had expected. I arrived a little late and quietly found myself a seat towards the end of the theater. And I was gripped by the movie from the get go. Being the animation nerd that I am also helped I am sure. The movie only used archived video interviews on screen. Interviews specifically conducted for the film were played as voice overs while funny and captivating imagery was played on screen.
The story started off by talking about the time when Disney was in shambles. None of the movies were the success everyone hoped they’d be. The animators were beginning to lose hope and thought their days at Disney were numbered. Through home video footage we see animators staging a zombie apocalypse enactment in the studio. It was a nightmare scenario for these animators who were ripped apart from their ‘home’ their old studio and put in a new facility, uncertain of their fate.
But the magic was returned through the hands of the talented people like Eisner and katzenberg who were brought in at what was the lowest point of the company’s history. With a slew of successes from The Great Mouse Detective and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Disney animation era jump started again. Audiences were coming back to the theaters in hordes, the movies were making more and more money and the studio was prospering. However, all was not well.
Animators still had a very stressful life. They worked long hours as Disney resolved to release one new feature length movie each year. They hardly had time to go home. Animators spent days and nights in the studio, never saw their family and kids. This was what everyone had always told me what working in the animation industry is like. The animators made the most of what they had. The studio became their second home, their co-workers became family. They had margarita nights where they let loose.
The focus of the film shifted from the animators to the executives. The politics higher up in the company played an important role in the creative decisions of the studio. However, they did not seem to capture my interest. But it does serve as a lesson that the fate of a company can change drastically in the lack of good leadership. Also that good leaders need to keep their personal differences aside and work towards the greater good.

Friday, May 07, 2010

SCAD president's chat

Today, I believe Savannah College of Art and Design did something that had the potential of being HUGE! They had an open forum for students, faculty and staff to ask questions directly in front(or in the online presense) of President Paula Wallace. I was at work in Montgomery Hall cage and my friend Vijay Prabhakar who works at SCAD in Keys Hall reminded me that this was going on. And I decided to participate. I am copy pasting my question and answers I got.
Yash Gupta: The SCAD site is very information heavy, but still does not provide me with an idea of what other students are creating and doing. I would love for scad to provide a forum/gallery where students can put up their work and interact with peers. I am sure this is something that would also appeal to prospective students. What are your views about such an offering?
Paula Wallace: I am encouraging each chair to present lively, relevant information on each department's Web site.  I believe recent past projects, guest speakers, awards, and facilities should be highlighted. We are very proud of our esteemed faculty, alumni, and students.  I would like to see each department's Web site more effectively communicate its life and essence.

This, to me was a very unsatisfying answer. I really suggested something more open. Even if they were to come down to a level where each professor was displaying their students' works on a section of the SCAD website, it would mean more student works get exposure.

Then Jason Parker responded with the following:

Hi Yash, I'm SCAD's social media manager. We have a number of program-specific groups and pages on Facebook where students are encouraged to interact with each other. You can find a comprehensive list on SCAD's Facebook page at under the ''Connect'' tab.

I feel this doesn't get us anywhere either. There are already better forums like and deviantart and blogger blogs where people can display their work. But the problem is exposure. When put under an umbrella of SCAD, the students are bound to get more focussed traffic and response and appreciation. I have a facebook fan page of my work that only has 17 fans at the moment.

Anyways, the fun didn't stop there. More after the jump break.