fathomsmovie said: Hey duder, real question time! My impression is that your work is very improvisational and in the moment. Or is that just your super chill vibe? What is your process like in developing / planning / creating something like a short film that can't be completed in one or two sittings? Do you outline, storyboard, write stuff? Is the process wildly different depending on your mood? What's the deal?! Thanks, Joe
Hi Joe. thanks for the thoughtful question. First off I want to say, if you’re looking for advice, my main tip is to ignore any rules you might have been taught and focus on what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to animate. So do whatever you want to get sweet results.
Yeah you guessed it. I mostly just animate off the top of my head. I’m not big into pre production. I never make animatics for my own stuff. I only do rough animation if its a complicated shot that i might fail at. Otherwise i just go straight into final clean animation. I’m not saying that’s the best way to do things, but its best for me. I do make storyboards for longer stuff. They’re super sketchy and loose. Mostly just make them to quickly reference what happens next and to keep the big picture in mind. This is the storyboard I used when making The Jump.
You’ll notice I cut some stuff out and didn’t bother planning out the ghost memory stuff. I think if story meant a lot to me I might be more into planning. But it doesn’t, so I’m not.
"I only do rough animation if its a complicated shot that I might fail at. Otherwise I just go straight into final clean animation."
Only possible if you have a clear vision of what you wanna do.
The film is a mobius strip.
It’s hell, an inescapable one.
Every effort made to escape the path leads you back to the one you just tried to get away from.
All you see around you is success, but only the kind that others enjoy, the kind you want and what is always out of reach.
Every move you make is one step too late. Everyone around you also lets you back into their lives after you have supposedly ruined the relationship.
Hellish in structure, though the facade looks fairly mundane and almost trite. But that structure underneath is devilish.
I actually wouldn’t watch it again. Well made, but not my cup of tea these days.
This film stands the test of time. Looks like it was shot last year.
Everything about it is excellent. At times, very hard to watch, but such an excellent film.
Just saw this.
Solid film. Not on par with City of God or Children of Men, which to me are masterpieces in storytelling and production, but definitely a solid, solid film that I would recommend to those who wanna watch something with some soul to its flesh and bones.
SETTING THE STAGE
the world has gone to shit – and in this instance, we’ve entered a new ice-age that has wiped out life-as-we-know-it on earth, and the remaining people are on a Noah’s Ark of sorts, in the form of a train that never stops, circling the frozen and desolate world.
The name of the game: social stratification, exploring it from the angle that those in power justify reinforcing it (with violent, cruel, and inhumane means) under the banner of a “healthy ecosystem,” in which “every individual has their ‘preordained’ place” in the train.
An underdog set out to escape an oppressive system fights his way through a gauntlet of power-serving police, hoping that his elder will become the leader of the “community,” but along the way, the underdog emerges as a leader through trial, discernment, decisiveness, and the greater good, as he confronts oppressive power at the top, in hopes that the community the new leader is a part of has a chance at a new life, a new hope, and a free world in which suffering can be eliminated – or at least to destroy the systemic structure that enslaves a class of people to the benefit the upper echelon, who only cares to be sedated with drugs, creature comforts, and heartlessness in regard to the downtrodden and exploited.
THINGS DONE WELL
Chris Evans does a great job of acting. Had he been a bit to the left or to the right, the film could have veered easily into cheesiness and campiness, and the stakes of the film could have dropped drastically, but he pulled off a great performance.
Ed Harris plays a very cool, rational, “logical” and therefore, so, so, so, so very mentally twisted and emotionally decrepit cult-leader/CEO/demi-god/architect figurehead. You don’t really hate him, but nothing he says seems legitimate in the face of all that we’ve gone through as we’ve watched the hero claw his way to the top.
The stark contrast between the living conditions of the haves and have-nots, makes each successive level into excess and luxury look so very, very disgusting. Now that I think about it, the film does an amazing job at displaying the fruits of greed in a tertiary manner, rather than moralizing against it directly through preachiness. Some of the luxurious levels look so beautiful and serene, but within the context of how everything else is in that society, they start to look so very, very evil. And it becomes very evident that the only way those levels can be maintained is through the exploitation of the oppressed class. This theme is hit on the head a bit much, but the visuals and production do a very solid job of demonstrating how this greed plays out.
THINGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER
Some of the fight scenes could have used a bit more, backstory? I don’t know. I’m always skeptical when a downtrodden hero displays preternatural fighting skills, but I’m sure that exists in the real word.
VFX were aiite, but considering the overall budget, they squeezed out a ton from the money they had.
Some of the acting could have been more nuanced – like the dude who lost his arm, and even the Door Opener’s daughter.
When the teacher pulls a gun out after she acts all creepily happy-go-lucky-cult-follower when praising the “glorious achievements” of the dear leader, Wilford.
POLITICS SURROUNDING THE FILM
Harvey Weinstein didn’t like that Bong Joon Ho didn’t want to cut 20 minutes from the film, and thereby, imposed an artificial “limited screening” and blocked the film from having a nationwide release. Who can say why he did this? I wonder what motivations and intentions were behind such actions. I can’t say! The mysteries of life abound unabated.
I wish they hired me to do the motion graphics for the Wilford propaganda piece that they play to indoctrinate the kiddies at school. I woulda knocked it outta the park. I’m super curious who was hired to do those. For a story set in the year 2030 or whenever, the motion graphics were straight up steeped in 2013 motion graphics trends up the wazoo.
Anonymous said: Hi Kevin! I really admire your work and love seeing it on my tumblr feed! I was wondering what you do to stay inspired?
Hi! I wanted to answer this because I remember when I was younger I used to go through long spells where I felt like I had a creative block or “just didn’t feel like drawing”. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time and this question made me wonder what happened since then. I think it boils down to having a broader appreciation of the world. I’ve found as I’ve studied art and gained more life experience in general that it’s easier to see amazing things all around me, whereas my younger self would need a massive creative spark of some sort that would give me a flash of inspiration. These days I feel more aware of stuff and feel like it’s easier to notice things that are just vaguely different enough to be super interesting and inspiring, like an especially orange cloud in the sky that I can’t ever recall seeing, or an exceptionally blue shadow on one side of a box. I think as you draw more, your brain learns to make connections between things more easily, so mundane observations of the world can quickly turn into grand ideas or give you an answer to a problem you’ve been chewing on for a while.
I still have plenty of days where things don’t go how I want them to or I hit a wall with an idea, but there’s almost always another idea that can quickly take its place. You shouldn’t ever be afraid to scrap something if your intuition tells you its not working, but at the same time you shouldn’t be afraid to follow an idea into the ground even if it feels like it might not work out. I think the key is to just try your best to be a keen observer of the world, compare, contrast, and critique everything you see, take lots of mental notes, and keep an open mind!
This is nice.