Monday, 7 April 2014

The Robin is released!

The Robin has been released into the wild for your viewing pleasure.

Can't quite believe that its taken a year and half in our spare time to create, but its been totally worth it. We've really enjoyed creating the little guy and following him in his adventure.

The whole film is available to view below so on behalf of Will and I, we really hope you all enjoy it.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Its official The Robin will be released on 7th April. We really can't wait to show to everyone, so bring on next week!

How To Edit A Trailer

The trailer for The Robin went live just over a week ago.

If you haven't seen it yet then have a look at the previous post.

Cutting together a trailer for The Robin was a challenge. And it was a challenge for one main reason. Most Hollywood trailers run from about two minutes to three minutes in length. Two to three minutes doesn't sound long does it? But that's the length of the final film. So the trailer has to be even shorter than that.

Whilst making the trailer it was our job to reveal as much about the story as possible without giving anything away. A seemingly contradictory task.

We watched the animatic over and over again, trying to figure out what belongs in the trailer, what doesn't and what we want to be a surprise for the audience when the film is released this winter. There are some trailers that reveal too much about the film, like the trailer for Cabin In The Woods and then some trailers leave you without a clue as to what the film is actually about, such as the trailer for A Single Man. We wanted to reveal just enough to make it interesting but not too much so that it feels like you've seen the entire film.

To do this we looked for three main components in the story that we wanted to include in the trailer:

1) Character
2) What the character wants
3) What is standing in the character's way

These became.

1) The Robin
2) Wants to eat
3) But can't because of two pesky Pigeons.

Boom! What more do you need to see? That's not only the trailer but that's the story spine of the film. If we put anything else in the trailer we'd be telling the story, which is not what we wanted to do. We wanted people to know what the story is about. To finish we ended with the close-up Clint Eastwood-style shot of the Robin's narrowing eyes to end with one simple, important question; a question that will only be answered by watching the film:

What will the Robin do next?

Behind the story.

The main idea behind making the Robin was to make a Christmas film that could be watched at anytime of the year. Keeping that in mind when creating the story pretty much ruled out any reference to Father Christmas, snow and sleigh bells.

So what was both Christmassy and non-Christmassy at the same time? Well, I always see robins flapping about the garden, quickly diving towards the bird table, nibbling on their sacred seed ball and then being startled away by anything from the neighbour’s cat to a butterfly.

And that’s where the story came from. A hungry robin, whose survival was dependant upon eating seeds left out by humans, couldn’t eat because of two stubborn pigeons were blocking his way. And just how far would this robin go to ensure he’s well fed?

I had just finished reading Michael Hauge’s book ‘Writing Screenplays That Sell’ and was intrigued by the way he broke down many successful screenplays into a very simple formula. Keeping that in mind, writing the script was easy because I knew who the characters were, what had to happen when, and what had to happen in the end. And the result is a screenplay, a single page in length, which I’m actually quite pleased with.

You can find out more about Michael Hauge at his website

Robin Design

Some size and proportion issues. Centre design is getting there

I remember reading something about the creation of Mickey Mouse and why his appeal is so universal. The reason he works so well from a creative point of view is that he is made out of circles. A very welcoming and friendly shape, with no corners and no harsh straight lines. Even his arms a bendy!

With the script and style as it was, this information would be the ideal spring board for development. I was sketching out a few 'well rounded' (excuse the pun) ideas and something just wasn't clicking, when I remembered a sketch I produced years ago for the design of a bird. Pulling out all my old sketchbooks I found the design and knew instantly that it was going to work.

An old design, you can see the robin in the rounded shape

By pushing the birds body down to become plumper and making his eyes no more than black dots gave him instant cuteness and charm. It was a very happy accident. Knowing that the colours of a robin would suit the existing colour palette, this was not an issue. The main concern was, should he have tail feathers? Robins as you are aware have these features but placing them on the robin looked bulky and less rounded. Less cute. On discussing this with Will, he put it simply “Its a cartoon, it doesn't matter”. Fair point and definitely the right choice.  

Nearly there....
....perfect! :)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Trailer

Flying onto a screen near you this winter, here is the first glimpse of The Robin. About a tiny English Robin who wants nothing more than to devour a scrumptious seed ball for breakfast but two stubborn pigeons find it first. There's nothing the Robin won't do to reclaim that seed ball...nothing at all.

Follow us @therobinfilm to get updates and news on the release. We look forward to seeing you there.

Animating The Robin

Here is a shot from 'The Robin' and it's step by step process from storyboards to final shot.

First I start sketching the shot for the storyboards. Here I try to get the rough layout and staging of the characters and set the scene up.

Next is to put these drawings into an animatic where I work out the timing. This shot will then be added to all the other shots in the film and will be reworked and reworked until the whole film has the desired timing.

Once the animatic has been timed and we are happy, the backgrounds are created and then the fun begins, animating. When starting the animation process I draw out the keyframes on the background to get a sense of where the character will be in the scene at the most important parts. Usually I try and draw a few different varieties of the same pose and pick the best one. It's always fun to do more than one as usually it ends up being a combination of a couple of ideas. I then in-between all the drawings creating all the movement that brings the Robin to life.

Once happy with the rough animation Will and I go through it and see if anything needs to be changed. If not then it's time to clean-up the rough line and make it clean ready to be coloured.

Once coloured it is then composted onto the background in After Effects and shadows, lighting and camera are placed. Once rendered it's ready and waiting to slotted into the final film. Ta da!