Short Film - Overview

It's time! I'm making a stop motion short, and this blog will document the process of building the film from the ground up. I'll be posting updates as often as possible starting with this big post.  

The idea for the film came from an image that was floating around my head of bright string being tied to trees throughout the woods.  This image of a homemade network of string, developed into a narrative about a kid navigating his way through the new territory of a divorce.  I developed a script with the help of my wife, and the characters were brought to life using detailed character development sheets. With the script, I created storyboards. Then the storyboards were timed out and an animatic was developed.

SYNOPSIS:

A teen traveling between the homes of his newly divorced parents
creates a home of his own in the suburban woods.
Who: A 12 yr old boy and his newly divorced parents.
What: Drama/Comedy, a coming of age story with realistic characters
When: 1993, summer evening (5-9PM)
Where: Suburban neighborhood in the upper Midwest
Why: Communicate meaningful connection in a simple, creative gesture

 

MOOD BOARDS:

I created a production design guide to communicate the specific references and visual guides to the production design and fabrication team.  This tool serves as a style guide and character design sheet for the puppets.  It also describes the specific design references for props and locations. The film is very fabrication heavy, so having this guide will make it easier for the team to be on the same page. 

FABRICATION:

As of last week, the boy armature is finished.  I'm using a ball and socket armature kit that I've adapted to fit the boy's proportions. It's from Julian Clark Studios, and I've added a few upgrades.

Miniature hand building is incredibly detailed work, and I've created a "jig" to help create consistent hand armatures.  It's based on a tool I saw that helps jewelers to make earrings! It's been a great tool and I've made a jig for each of the characters.

Miniature hand building is incredibly detailed work, and I've created a "jig" to help create consistent hand armatures.  It's based on a tool I saw that helps jewelers to make earrings! It's been a great tool and I've made a jig for each of the characters.

Miniature hand building is incredibly detailed work, and I've created a "jig" to help create consistent hand armatures.  It's based on a tool I saw that helps jewelers to make earrings! It's been a great tool and I've made a jig for each of the characters.

Threaded brass coupling rod to connect new hand armature wire. The hands also have miniature magnets in the palm.

Threaded brass coupling rod to connect new hand armature wire. The hands also have miniature magnets in the palm.

Brazed brass nuts to the toe joints for the tie downs.

Brazed brass nuts to the toe joints for the tie downs.

Here are some details of the character sculpt. The puppet will be cast in soft and pliable silicone, so the molds are made of Ultracal, a gypsum material that is durable and allows for a high degree of detail. The process is simple, and I've added a venting system for the silicone injection molding. The wire from the fingers allows the silicone to flow throughout the mold.

Next steps: Mom and Dad sculpts and mold making, prop fabrication, 3D previs and set fabrication!