Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thesis guidline for the new comers

Some thoughts on SVA 2D thesis planning guideline.

This isn't what thesis committee says, but its what a senior, who finished her thesis early and is helping out other people, and has been observing for 3-4 years of thesis students have in mind.

Common pitfall of thesis students:

1. Too ambitious. Don't make this your last film, make it your first film into the pro world. Do your big big big project after graduation when you are searching for jobs or something. If you just can't shake that big grand idea, storyboard it, but plan an exit for the worst, you are going to need it.

2. Have trouble with stories and sticking to it. Some people might be more technical minded, if story is not your thing, pick a story that's simple, and a story that can totally make your strongest point shine on the screen. Go technical first then make sense of it.

3. Over estimate their time:

Don't allow yourself to think "Oh, I still have time"
Instead, double all the amount of time you think you will need, and that's what's likely to be realistic. If you think you can animate the shot in 1 night, think 2 nights instead. If you think you can finish a scene in 1 week, plan 2 weeks. It hasn't failed for me.

For the ambitious:

* The limit is 10 minutes, you can't go over 10 minutes to make a good film. You can make one over 10 minutes, but make sure there's.... a lot of still shots and talking? (TV show content will work)

* From my observation through out the 3-4 years of thesis screening, the limit of a single artist, doing a good looking animation for thesis alone is actually 8 minutes. Even if you have people helping you, you can never make that "feature" in your mind.

* You can try, but 1 person, 9-12 months, just can't compete with 4 years, 200 people productions. Make it work as a short film. 10 minute is your limit as an animator for 9-12 months, even if you are fast as lightening, you will have other duties as a student bogging you down.

* If you want it really really high frame rate and feature quality, stick with 2-3 minutes, or you can plan it so a few important scenes are that way, and tell longer stories from other scenes that require less.

* If you want it really really artistic, stick with 2-4 minutes.

* If you want to tell a good story, 5-8 minutes.

* If you never made a whole colored film for around 2 minutes before thesis, stick with 2-3 minutes.

* If you have done a whole colored film before thesis, then you can try going for longer.

* In your third year, make a fully colored film, whether the professor require you to do it or not. To give yourself some experience to prepare for the thesis.

* Start thinking about your thesis idea in second year summer.

The due dates from thesis committee, it's order of production may not always suit every artists' needs, figure out what takes the longest for you to do first, do that first, then go to full fill everything else required if you can. As long as you have something to show, it will be fine.

I personally layered my bigger film in production along side my thesis, when I wrap up my thesis, part of the pre-production of my next film is already done, recorded, and story-boarded, it became one of my biggest advertisement to employers, and animatic can be on the way once my thesis is finished.

I don't know, maybe this is going to be pointless to some, but i just thought I want to put my experience, observations, and thoughts into some written form for next gen of SVA graduate to take notes of. You are welcome to pass it around if you feel this helps.

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