Sunday, March 25, 2012

-The Invincible-

The Invincible is a story about events that happened 400 years ago and events that happen in the present. These two characters, the mayor and his son, are from the present.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tour guide

One of the characters from The Invincible.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Being Elmo

Saw 'Being Elmo' today!
Definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Invincible - 2012

Some sketches for my main character...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Friday, September 30, 2011

Birthday art

I made this for my second oldest daughter who turns 5 this coming monday. She always makes the most beautiful drawings for me when it's my birthday, so I decided to make one for her. Happy birthday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Production Design

There’s no point in using Paradise Valley in South America or Rio de Janeiro as a background to my story, when my story is based on true events that happened in a "normal" place. I simply cannot take my story anywhere else just to make it more appealing.
And since my setting isn’t as exuberant as, let’s say a jungle in South America, I have to try a little harder to find characteristic places with lots of visual opportunities to make the scenes in my movie feel equally overwhelming as in any other animated feature. Just look at how they turned something ordinary as lesser duckweed in a visually stunning design from Disney’s Princess and the frog.

Or the lighting and colors in this background from Brother Bear.

Using something so ordinary (and easily overlooked) and turning it into something so extraordinary is truly inspiring.

I might as well plow through google images, but nothing beats real life. So whenever I find inspiring places, I make sure I add them to my research library.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I went to Brussels

Because I'm completely new to the animation industry, I had so many questions I thought it would be a good idea to go visit an animation studio with a substantial track record when it comes to making European animated features. So, one beautiful day, I decided to call them and my very first appointment was set! Just like that!

So, to make it a fun weekend no matter what they were about to tell me;) I went to Brussels (Belgium) with my wife and booked a hotel. I certainly got inspired by the medieval market place called 'the Grand Place' and had an amazing afternoon with two producers from the animation studio who took the time to help me out with every question I had. And more.

They gave me advice from money issues (where to get it?) and industry insights to practical information on how to cooperate with different companies and how many people they had working on a 90 minute feature. Whom I should talk to and which animation festivals to visit. And most importantly, they provided me with a reality check on my feature. They were very helpful, but were very clear on the subject: How easy is this project going to be? This wasn't going to be an easy ride and it's at least very (very very very) hard to get a big budget together. Period. Good luck!

So, not completely desillusioned, I went back to meet with the my wife and we had dinner like people do in Brussels. Have Mussels. Later that evening we found this very nice bar downtown where they must have had literally hundreds different brands of Absinthe in their collection.

conclusion: I had a great weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sharing a Dream

After I talked to my friends about what I wanted, I started doing 2 things. One was draw concepts and moments. It is fun to do but also very crucial. Crucial to capture a vision. Your vision. Don't write it down. Visualize it. Ideas come and go, but a vision is essential. That is what I've learned in the last couple of months. It's so easy to get carried away and forget what is important to feel in the movie just by looking at it. Especially the moods, or that specific time of day, where the sun shines that particular way. For those of you who know what it's like to go fishing on a summer's evening; That feeling. Capture it.

The other was trying to get in contact with someone with more commercial talents than I have. With a proven track record. You know, someone who gets things done. Someone who knows how to get in contact with people who know other people. I needed to find someone who believed in me and my project. Someone that I could trust. Most importantly: Until now I only had talked to people I knew and not a single one of them told me I was crazy. Now it was time to tell someone whom I didn't know. Someone who could say: Hey, nice try, but I don't believe this is going to work. Whatever you do, don't quit your day job.

But I found him.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The starting point of all achievement is desire.

Almost one year ago it came to me. I was going to make my very own feature animation! I decided not to pursue a job at Pixar or dreamworks when I grew up, but instead I decided to start my own project. You know, just an entertaining 3D animated movie with a good story and a global release. That’s all.

Now I’m from Holland and saying you’ll start your very own feature animation isn’t something you hear on a daily basis. You can imagine the reactions...

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat. ~Napoleon Hill
There were three very important ingredients that made me believe that this dream could become a reality! The first most important thing was that I had something to say, something that still is, after one year the foundation for my story. Something that I have to get off my chest for a long time and at the same time is something that everyone can relate to. I could tell by the way people responded. I had my ‘universal’ theme.
The second most important thing: I had found an historical event and a unique and dramatic location; the perfect setting for my ‘universal’ theme!
Third: I discovered a promotional opportunity for my movie. I found a second and earlier date, but my first discovery was a date set in the year 2018! So, that gave me 8 years time to work out a plan, get to work and finish what I started!

This combination made me feel I had something here. Something that could last once it was executed in a good way. And I needed that belief, because I would have to stay motivated for 8 years! This was the easy part...

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. ~H.E. Luccock
How was I going to start? I didn’t have any experience in story development, let alone that I knew how to start -or even end- a monster project like this. The only thing I knew, was that this project was going to be my major personal project for the next coming 8 years.
Was I going to do everything myself? The answer was easy. I wasn’t. After all, my primary goal was not to release a movie that is produced, written, drawn and animated all by myself, but to release a movie in 2018 for a mainstream audience.
I had to understand how the industry works, how much money is involved and more importantly, where you get money from.

Before I had read anything on screenplays, I started with every historical book I could find on my subject. Because this was going to be an animated movie based on true events. I wanted as much information I could get my hands on, to see if it was worth exploring for my story. Second I bought ‘Invisible Ink’ (Brian McDonald) which seemed like a good first book. Like the title says: ‘Invisible Ink. A practical guide to building stories that resonate’. It was written for me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

-The Invincible-

Although I have made some very interesting progress with my project, I have some other things I'm working on at the moment.
I've talked to some people in the industry in the meantime and learned a lot of things. Most important thing I've learned so far, is that I won't be needing as much money is I thought I would, so that is great news! Second: If you have an ambitious plan and it will take a while to get it outthere, stick to your plan; Listen to people who know how you can move your project forward. After all there's enough people who can tell you how hard it is what you're doing. It won't get you anywhere.

My next first big step will be submitting my project at Cartoon Movie in Lyon. Trying to get my project selected in March 2012 means I have to submit my 'project in concept' before November this year. I'd say that is an attainable goal.
I hope I can keep you updated in the meantime...

In the meantime...

I'm also doing some other sketches that don't have anything to do with my animation project.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Storytelling, Great characters and Appeal.

So, it's been a while. First I would like to say thanks to everyone who has offered to help. I promise I will get back to you in time.
A lot has happened since. So it seems I haven't been upto much lately, but that's just because I haven't touched my wacom in a while now. I am spending my time reading, writing, watching movies and rewriting my story outlines. I can honestly say that story is one big tough cookie. With great taste, but tough nevertheless. And because it's so invisible compared to creating art, I'm thinking of using my blog in a different way.

So, where do I stand after spending 5 months with my project? Well, I still believe in what I originally wanted to say (Thank God;) Although I might have changed the way I want to say it, but I consider that to be continous insight. And at the same time I'm constantly working and sharpening my ideas on story, great characters and appeal I read a while back in an inspirational post by Kevin Koch:

‘What are the three most important things for a successful animated film?’ is, Storytelling, great characters, appeal. When you’ve have these three things going on, you have a chance unleash a Lion King or a Toy Story or an Ice Age.

Appeal, as I’ve discussed before, is difficult to quantify, and I’m not going to try here. We know it when we see it. The first moment we saw Skrat in the very first teaser for the very first Ice Age, we were hooked. Regardless of what the story might turn out to be, we were going to that film. I was turned off a little when I saw the later trailers, which gave a taste of the story and other characters (I recognized the well-used “Three Men and a Baby” story, and wasn’t impressed with Ray Romano’s voicework). But the appeal of Skrat and his elusive acorn sold me, as I think it did so many others.

And appeal is something that is important to me, because my story taking place in medieval Europe. Personally I see some issues if I want this to be for a mainstream audience. Not unsurmountable, but still something that needs to be fixed in my eyes. I don´t think it´s something that is appealing to a lot of folks. Appeal also relates to the world in which your story takes place. In short: You need to want to go back to that place, even after the movie ended.
Just ask yourself (you as a mainstream moviefan): Would you go to see an animated movie that took place in medieval Europe?

Monday, December 13, 2010

-The Invincible-

Now that I have something that you could call a basic storyline, I wanted to get a better feeling with the first 10 scenes of the first act. I am not trying to fall in love with these scenes;) but I'm just trying to get a sense if my story is taking the right turns. This thumb is one of two images where an emotional change took place. A positive change to be exact.

This is a sketch for my main character, as he finds himself in a carriage with his father after (!) they have been robbed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

-The Invincible-

The last couple of weeks I've been working on the story outline. And I have to admit. Writing a good story is really really really really hard work. The toughest part for me at this point is identifying the weak parts, how to spot them and how to make them stronger without getting too emotional attached to the story and the characters. Especially to the 24th version;)'s some visual development for the girl in my story!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

-The Invincible-

There are a lot of other characters in this film. This character is one of the gatekeepers of the city. Needless to say that there is a lot that can go wrong when 'the going gets tough' when your job is mainly about sitting around and killing time...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

-The Invincible-

So I've been working on my story for a couple of weeks now and things are really coming together. What has 3 weeks of story development done for me? Well, although I'm constantly rewriting it and probably will be for the next coming months, it made a few things very clear for me. I now know what I want out of my main character. And this is really important for me, because this makes it a lot easier to spot weak elements in my story.

I'm leaving story for what it is right now and I'm going back to the drawing board. I have to get a better understanding of where my story is taking place. I need to get a sense if my story fits the size of my locations. And the other way around. I still don't have a clue wether my main character has to travel and how far. If he has to travel miles and miles before he arrives where he needs to be, maybe I have to double the size of my setting.

Stay tuned...