With a rough animatic complete without sound, we were able to piece together the narrative to work out timings to ensure the pacing was fluent enough. Unfortunately, we ran into a serious issue which is thankfully solvable and something that opens our eyes to how complex the narrative originally was and what direction we need to go to ensure the story is simplified further.
The major issue with the animatic at this point is that the story is way too fast – the audience have little time to absorb the events and the interaction between the solider and general is lost in translation. More importantly, Chekhov’s gun theory came into play: the truck has nothing significant to the narrative other than to mislead the audience and infer to what’s going on in Area 51. By changing the significance of the truck to a mere dynamic or even metaphor means that we can ignore the complexities of the inner truck and scrap one of the characters.
So instead of going back to the drawing board and restarting, we found a way to make the project more feasible. By removing the general and ensuring that the truck never stops, it becomes a dynamic that triggers the story. This way, we spend almost the entirety of the narrative building a tension between the soldier and the alien, which is paced significantly more better since we could prolong shots longer to give the audience more reaction time.
We drew up a quick rough outline of the new direction and spent time considering the ending to make it more ‘punchy’. This involved taking our 5 endings, bringing them into 2 directions and then options, eg. D1 O1 = reveal alien visually and show character shocked, D2 01 = keep a massive shadow and cut to a high angle from the aliens perspective (final decision). Essentially, we furthered our ideas into the ending and created branching paths which led to a consensus. Much of this new direction was a major compromise without affecting the integrity of the original story – keepin’ everyone happy!
James sparked an idea and we all bounced off. It’s become a bit of a recurring theme of James, Darryl and I to have a level of subtly 4th wall satire in our projects we’ve worked on eg. in the sound assignment we had to find authentic sounds for a scene from the Wild Bunch in which we composited in a Star Wars blaster effect… The rest of the group joined in with the humour of the idea of (in a respectfully innocuous fashion) subtle parody the ideas of other groups – fun, happy quirky animals – in this case, a bird, and have it attacked by a Bald Eagle then a signal feature drops to the road before a truck drives over it, connecting to the narrative. The artsy metaphor behind it was to connect nature with man – peacefulness with fear – and foreshadow what’s going to happen… Just don’t tell the other groups…
NOTE: Obviously we didn’t touch or in anyway manipulate or hinder the other teams projects as that would be a volition of our professional ethic. We have made no attempt to affect the production of the other teams efforts. Note that these photos were taken from a distance without tampering with the models.