SMA: The Introduction

So I figured I have to start another big project.

And that project is something I have titled:

SMA: The Movie

What does the title mean?

The title itself is simply an acronym for:

S tray
M inutes
A nimation
The Movie

And what is it?

SMA: The Movie is a project that have been tinkering in the back of my head for quite some time now.

Do you remember that old game that you used to play in grade-school? The one where you have a piece of paper. And each of you in a group of friends would take turns in drawing in secret. As each member is done with his/her section, you fold the paper to hide all but the lowest lines of the image before you hand the paper over to the next participant. When you get to the bottom of the paper, you unfold the resulting artwork and laugh at the result which is usually a mess of gibberrish… with naughty bits…

So I have thought… What if I made a movie in the same way?

I know there must have been countless story-writing-exercises where  each person writes a page and leaves only a sentence to the next writer. But I want to put in a twist here. And I want to be able to make it all myself.

The Manifesto

What self-proclaimed movie-maker with delusions of grandure would be complete without a Manifesto a la Dogme95 or Dogpile95?

So I have made a set of rules for this project:

  1. I will create the movie in 1 minute fully animated chunks with color , background, sound, everything (when needed).
  2. The movie will be 85 minutes long. (excluding opening and closing titles that will be made at the very end of the project).
  3. I will choose each minute using a deck of cards numbered 1 to 85, shuffling between each draw. If I draw a Joker. I HAVE to insert a WTF-moment in the scene determined by the next card. I can do WTF scenes other times, but the Joker means it is mandatory. If I get 2 or more jokers I will just push one or more back into the deck. There are 9 Jokers at the start.
  4. Once a minute is finished. I upload it to youtube. After that, I CANNOT ALTER IT IN ANY WAY. Mistakes, flaws and continuity errors will stay.
  5. Character models are improvised for each minute chunk. They will be inconsistent!
  6. Method of animation will change when I feel like it. This keep the process open for strange ideas.
  7. I will use plot-structure guides to help me create characters and events that will happen. I am not allowed to plan ahead. I can end up with having to do the ending at the beginning of the project without knowing what the central conflict actually is. I have to just deal with it. Segways between plot-points will be improvised as they end up clashing.
  8. I cannot re-use existing characters from either my own previous work or others. Everything MUST BE NEW!
  9. I will set up 2 playlists for viewers to watch the result: – One is a chronological order. Simply just each episode as it is finished. This is for archival purposes so I can go back and watch my mindset change over time. – The other will be the “correct order” where they are in the order of the plot.
  10. To show gaps in the narrative that will be filled, filler-videos of “Footage Missing” will be created. And then compiled as bonus-footage in the event of a bluray release.
  11. For each uploaded minute I will also make supplemental videos and material. Sketches, behind the scenes, flubs, etc. All for the enjoyment of potential viewers When everything is finished. I will make a render of both playlists so that you can watch the result without constant loading-screens.
  12. While Youtube-uploads will be in 1080p h264 with 2.0 sound. The footage generated will be made in full 4K 4:4:4  and 5.1 sound so that I can do proper DCP’s and BluRays in full quality.
  13. The aspect ratio shall be letterboxed 2.4:1 CinemaScope. And 2.4:1 Cinemascope the aspect ratio shall be.
  14. Oh, and the whole thing will be mainly in English… To maximize viewership numbers.

– Charlton Heston

Those are the rules I will follow. Like Dogme 95, they are deliberately set up to screw with core subjects of wisdom that make up sensible filmmaking. But like those crazy danes, it really is a way to stretch your muscles and accomplish things not previously deemed… well… sensible.

When will I start?

If you are reading this as an outsider (as in, not me). Then I have probably already started.

When will it end?

As 3D Realms used to say… WHEN IT’S DONE!

How often will there be chunks finished?

When they are done. I know much better than to promise regular uploads each week.

What about Potterthon?

Potterthon is half the reason I wanted to start this project. You see. When I make one episode of Potterthon I write a full script. I storyboard. I sound-design. I animate. I edit. I render. The whole thing in order. In the traditional method. Doing each phase until completion before starting the next.

While it makes for a consistent product… As Potterhon 6 came along, the timeline just grew way, way out of proportion. As of this writing. I have it all animated and sound-edited. Now I “only” need to make the backgrounds… about 200 of them… in full HD quality… Something I have never endeavored before.

Couple that with the fact that that  damned project has become such an eternity I have kindof grown bored with it since I cannot do anything outside of what the storyboard and animatic demands.

So as a way to break free I designed this whole SMA thing. It will let me make things up more on the fly in much more manageable chunks. I will probably still work on Potterthon. But at least now, if I don’t feel like doing background-paintings, I have something to fall back on. So while not dead. Potterthon will probably go just as slow as before.

In closing

More rules and stuff may follow. But these are the starting conditions. I really just want to get started.

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