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Reflective statement

Over the course of the past 9 months that I have worked on this film, I can honestly say it has been the most enjoyable project I’ve done during my three years at university. Having the freedom to create a film so close to my heart and connect further with my close and extended family has been really nice. Whilst things have gone a bit off the expected course in these last couple of months, I still enjoyed this last academic year and all the things I have learnt.

I think this particular film has pushed me to the next level in a lot of ways, be it through my directing and self-producing skills or in my designing, both digitally and traditionally, and most importantly my animation skills. I was able to create this film using the techniques of animating that I love best so I am thankful that I was able to do that even though they may not be used as commonly in industry practice. I think by using oil paints and charcoal as my means of animating, that I was able to really create the intense atmosphere I wanted with the use of the brushstrokes and textures they both create.

There are many parts of this project that I think were successful, some of those being the concept work in did back in the first term, my character profiles I created and the way I managed to blend such an array of techniques and styles of animation into one 5 minute film whilst keeping the topic cohesive and interesting. There are quiet moments in the film, they give the audience time to reflect, time to understand what the characters are going through. The trailer I created for the film has been very well received by people online and by my friends and family and I was quite pleased with the result it garnered. The reason I created the film in the first place was to share my grandad’s story and to pay my respects to him and his crew, so the more people who know, the better. Another thing that I’m happy with was the home studio I put together at my parents’ house when the university closed, and we were forced to come back. I now have a nice space to continue working on my film and other projects. Lastly, this year was the first year I have had the opportunity to collaborate with both sound designers and composers on one of my films and it has been a really enjoyable experience for me. Seeing people’s genuine reaction to my work and then hearing how they translate that into sound and music has been amazing.

There are some elements which I think could have gone better and many of these equate to my own time management skills and the way in which I went about doing things at the very start of the year. I always seem to underestimate the time it will take me to finish scenes and it always puts me behind my own schedule and leaves me rushing when the deadline comes around. Things would have run a lot smoother if back in January I had started to work on filming the charcoal and oil scenes sooner, rather than doing more experimentation and starting those in February instead. This put me on a much slower track compared to many others in my year and made me quite worried at the time that I wouldn’t finish on time. Little did I know what challenges would lay ahead for us and how my schedule would become pretty much useless in a matter of weeks.

If I could back and change parts of my process for this year, they would be to find a voice actor and sound designer much earlier on in the production of the film. I have sorted those both out now and will be able to add those elements in later but not for submission which is a shame. I would also go back and spend more time on my animatic and make it have more moving aspects as this would both help me when creating the scenes and also when presenting it to people to it would make it easier to understand how I would go about animating it later on. I have learnt a lot more about storyboarding and animatics from this project so I will be better prepared for the next project I work on.

Now I’m looking to the future and hoping to continue to work on the film to get it to a place where I think it fully tells their story in a cohesive way. As the lockdown continues on and I don’t have any means of work at this movement in time, I have decided to spend this next month continue to work and tweak the film before the film festival submissions I want to do this summer and autumn. I am working with a sound designer now who will be adding the finishing touches to the film with some key sound effects in parts. Whilst I want to add in a couple of scenes and re-work some of the older scenes I did.

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