Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Riding Herd

Well I'm back at work in Burbank. Lead Layout Artist/DP/Set Designer for my studio's first Full Feature CG Film. And it's Union. That being said, I think I've landed in a production that I do not want my name attached to. Be careful what you wish for and all that. 4 "Directors", 2 of which are the producers who tend to make blanket statements like "Let's do this in 3D Stereo" without actually knowing if the overseas Animation crew has the tech to do stereo. Two months ago.

Every department needs one more person at least. I and a Modeler are the Layout department. 2 guys. The real directors are forced to send kluged storyboards to India in the hopes that the Animators will know what to do with them. No Kickoff. No discussion. No continuity, attention to character placement, or notice of set. Shots come back from India, I sit with the director and proceed to redo the entire sequence. The Animators, through no fault of their own, are "doing the boards" not "using the boards". Those characters are spot on in the right locations as the boards call for them but tend to miss the big picture in terms of character location from shot to shot. Or staging a CG movie like it was 2D. Communication is stalled out at the top and pleas are ignored.

I'm teaching the Modeler how to look at compositions and camera. I almost wish I could go to India and give the animators a lesson in rule-of-thirds and what slow-ins and outs are for. Maybe 25% of the movie is in animation right now without proper composing. There's no line producer. No coordinators except for one guy who does scanning and download organization and director tracking. The art direction was farmed out. My supervisor works three days a week. Oh, and before they hired me, their Layout team consisted of three modelers they imported from India and then told them to do camera. Like teaching a fish to ride a bicycle.

On the plus side, no one has given me a due date for any work. The directors listen to me and do what I tell them. I even convinced one of them to send top-down schematics along with their boards to illustrate how the set should be involved. Just trying to staunch the bleeding. I'm learning a lot. Faking it well. Pushing for what I can and letting go where I should.

"It is what it is."

"That's the process."


No comments: