New things going on at work. As short game of Dreamblade.
THE SIMPSONS NEWS
Lots happened this week.
Last Friday they dropped a bomb on Lance (my director). Seems the shows from now on are going to be done differently than what we’ve been doing AND the way that the other digital shows have been done. The situation on Friday was such that it made me worried about the employment situation on the show. I was worried and stressed out all weekend. Monday I got more info so I’m no longer worried, now I’m just a bit annoyed (which is how everyone else feels too).
Okay so, I’ll first explain how the shows have been done so that it might be easier to understand the change. After the writers write the shows and the actors do the voices, the storyboard artist, with the help of the director, creates a storyboard. Once that is done, the Layout artists (which is my job) gets the storyboard and is assigned a few scenes (about fifteen) to flesh out per act. This entails, finalizing the shots to look like what you see in the final show along with camera movements and all the acting of all the characters in the scenes. Once the Layout artist is done, the scenes are timed and shot. Sound is then edited in and it’s all put together as a rough pencil test pass of the show called an “animatic”. The writers watch the show along with the directors and make revisions. We then get all the notes on all the revisions with the new revised script. The storyboard is revised (which is something I sometimes do as well) and the scenes that need fixing are handed back to the Layout Artist to fix. Once done, the scenes are final timed and sent to Korea to be animated and put in full color. When the show comes back, the writers see the show again (without the director) and they, most of the time, make changes. The Retakes department fixes the scenes (not the original crew nor with the advice of the director of that show) and sends the fixes to Korea. Korea then finishes the revisions. The show then goes through color correction, is given sound effects and music and then broadcast. That’s basically the process in a nutshell. It’s about six months worth of work (maybe five, I didn’t go into any detail about the writing process).
So what’s different? Well, at first the only thing that was different was that instead of doing the Layout part on paper, it was being drawn on the computer using Cintiqs. Which is really no big deal. The only thing that was a pain is learning the new program that we are using for that. NOW, they are doing something very different. Instead of going straight to layout with the show after it has been storyboarded, what we’re doing is taking the storyboards and we’re making them move. The storyboards are digital so now we get storyboard pages on our computers and we cut out the characters in the board and move them around so that we can create what is known at the studio as a “boardamatic”. There is no more animatics.
This is big because now the quality of the first pass of the show is not as good as it used to be. The theory is, we will work faster and rougher and when they make changes, it won’t cost a lot of man power. After the boardamatic we then do the Layouts as we’re used to doing and they are sent to Korea.
I’m not sure how I feel about the new process. We are doing the next 13 shows this way and the method has not even been proven to work. It’s a very odd thing to drop on us in the middle of a season after 20 years of doing the show the same way. It’s been like clockwork all this time. Even when the Directors and the Assistant Directors aren’t around, the artist just go on automatic and the shows get done. Now we are reinventing the whole way we do the shows and no one really knows what the heck we’re doing. In many ways, the chaos is like working on the movie all over again.
I’m getting used to the new program. It’s not the program I was taught. It’s similar enough that I can figure it out. By next week, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m already pretty comfortable with it and it’s only been two and a quarter days. It’s times like these that I’m glad I played so many video games and owned so many temperamental computers. They really helped get me used to working with programs, figuring them out, and understanding how things generally work in computers.
Now if I could only figure out what’s expected of me in my new position, I would be very happy.
So I managed to play a game of Dreamblade with my friend Andy (see post: The Simpsons montage, Playing games, Meme. for more info on him). It was really fun. It was also a really close game. I managed to win the game by one point. Problem is, it was a hollow win because we found out after the game that we played a rule on one of the minis wrong. That kinda cheapened the win for me and it just makes is seem like the win “didn’t count”. Oh well, next time we’ll get it right and see who REALLY won.
BOARD GAMES/VIDEO GAMES
In other gaming news, my friend Mischa (a.k.a Rossum), trounced me at a game of Chase this week over at the Super Duper Games website, and in doing so, ruining my three game undefeated winning streak. VENGEANCE SHALL BE MINE!
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