Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mary and Dan

This is a new film, but it's also a very old film. Why don't you watch it here!


Short version is, this is a recut and tweaked version of a short film I finished a long time ago and was never completely happy with. I'm not completely happy with it now, but I'm slightly more happy with it at least. If you want to watch the original version and see what I changed, you can watch it here:



CREDITS:

Written, directed and co-edited by Will Tribble (also I filmed bits of it and worked on some of the stop motion)

Lauren Clancy as Mary

Alexander Wright as Dan

William Seaward as Ed

Awesome VFX magic and some of the editing and some of the stop motion animating even by Melanie Keyzor

Awesome stop motion model design and construction by Clare Porritt

Lovely music (that's now quite messed around) by Ian Flanagan and James Hyde

DOPing and camera operation by Geoff Gedroyc and Peter Booth

Animation by Bill Davies, Joseph William Peach, Clare Porritt, Gassan Suliman and Dany Woodmansey, and also me and Mel

Sound recording by Ian Flanagan and Simon Maeder

Sound design by James Hyde

Thanks to Rasheeda Nalumoso and Angela Udemba for letting us use their house, the University of York Drama Society for letting us borrow their boards, walk down the road and hold them outside Rina and Angela's front door, YTV for letting us use their studio, and the York Filmmaking Society for everything else.


So longer backstory:

While I was at university, I started making a short film. I wanted to do something short but also big and fancy looking, that combined live action with digital effects.

 I wrote a script very quickly (WARNING: if you do this, sit down afterwards and rewrite it, rather than patting yourself on the back for writing a script very quickly).  I made a first cut of the film using digital cut outs of cogs and gears and things but decided it didn't look very good, so I tried doing it with stop motion bits instead, and then I started gathering together people who might pause their busy lives to make tiny stop motion props, fancy VFX and a nice bit of music to a silly student film, and it all started to spiral out of control a little. After Clare had built a lovely moveable model I set it up a stop motion set in the back of our garage, with a big green cloth blue tacked to the back wall, and we animated it when we had free time. After deciding I couldn't VFX it together myself I took all of our random assets to Melanie Keyzor and was like "MAKE THESE WORK PLEASE" and she got angry at me for not planning things properly and then made everything awesome.

It took a while. As in, the film was finished after I graduated. Between 2009 and 2010 it was shown at the London Independent Film Festival, the Cornwall Film Festival, and the "box[ur]shorts]" international film festival. It got a few giggles, but every time I saw it I got more and more embarrassed by the long pauses and repetitions that didn't really add much to the film.

So recently, I decided to cut out a couple of chunks of it. Not much, just a couple of minutes, but at least it's in a slightly more manageable state now. I also added a couple of tiny VFX to a few bits (turns out it's really easy to add pre-comped smoke to footage, who knew). Also the footage had been graded back when I thought grading was basically just increasing the contrast, so I went back and tried to de-contrast it as much as I could. It's certainly a bit more visible now.

So that's what this is. I guess I learnt a few things from it:

- I have a serious problem with finishing things quickly the moving on to the next thing. Don't do this.

- If you want to do a short film quickly, start by thinking about doing what you can with what's immediately in front of you, what you can get hold of quickly, and what you can do with the minimum of getting people to sacrifice their free time to help you for free. I'm not sure I've learnt this yet. And below, even more applicable if you're planning on spending months or even years working on a short film:

- Make sure you've got a good script. Show it to people, listen to their opinions, and change it. You are not clever just because you've written a story. Some things are only funny to you.

- Don't assume you can just teach yourself complex VFX quickly as you make a project. These things take time.

- If you haven't done something before, assume it'll take you a long time to do it, and try to start simple.

- Long pauses and holds on things are not inherently funny or even especially good, and might not please anyone except you. Everyone else might start looking at their watches. Try cutting them out completely and seeing if the film is any better.

- Get a good microphone or collar mic. I swear the sound for this gets a little worse every time I listen to it, and I know James spent ages trying to fix the damn thing.

- Attaching a green screen to a brick wall by blue tack is a terrible idea. Cold makes blue tack fall off, and then it knocks over your little stop motion model and you have to start all over again.

- Man, I really wish I'd called the main two characters Mick and Nic so very, very much. Like if I could go back and redub them calling each other Mick and Nic I definitely would.

What else. Some pictures maybe. Here's some of my early highly detailed drawings of what the robot would look like:



Can't remember who drew this? Think my girlfriend took pity on me: 


This is what Lauren and Alex look like in front of a green screen and what Alex looks like if I freeze frame his face to make him look high: 




I'd actually forgotten that I started off trying to do this myself in Apple Motion, and actually had a whole cut of the film using Terry Gilliam-esque cut out footage. It's not good, but it's actually much better than I remember. I think the main thing that slowed me down was that Apple Motion was a terrible program that really didn't get on with my laptop, and doing the slightest animation in it would cause the whole program to freeze up for literally hours at a time, before sometimes just crashing or going insane. If I could've got past that though, done some better cutting out, and messed around with the grade a bit more, perhaps I could have finished the film this way. Maybe if I'd skipped over Final Cut Studio altogether and just gone straight into Adobe products generally, things might have been a bit easier. Raah. Anyway:






Actually looking at my experiments with grading in Motion, maybe it wouldn't have been too good:




These are Clare's robot models. They're beautiful combinations of cogs, gears, bits of electronics, and Meccano:







Sadly I don't have any full shots of our stop motion rig, but this is a close up. Haha the more I remember about this film the more I reflexively punch myself in the face. Get this: I didn't have a stills camera for the stop motion. So instead I filmed it with an HDV camera, and then cut out stills from it. Press record, press stop, move, press record, press stop, move...taking an already slow process and adding hours of unnecessary time to it. I actually used to take a lot of "photos" this ways with my video camera, by taking video and then scrubbing through it to extract freeze frames. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME.






I think this actually leads to one final thing I am trying to learn with every project I work on:

- actually stop and think, really properly pause and think, about the simplest possible way to do something. It might not be the best way, but it gives you something to build/fall back on.

This actually reminds me of a different project I worked on last year. We wanted to do a tiny stop motion beach rig that we could blow with a hair dryer without billowing sand everywhere. We all decided the best thing to do was to get some sand from a sandpit, cover a sheet of paper in PVA glue, and glue loads of sand to it. An hour into this, it looked awful and not at all like beach sand.

Our conversation:

"This looks terrible! What else can we do!"

"I don't know! What other possible way can we combine sand and paper?"

And that's when we remembered sandpaper exists.

And that's a good a place as any to stop writing. 

I hope people enjoy this film.

Will.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Comicon

I went to the MCM Comic Con this year. Haven't been to one in ages. Was fun!














I wasn't very good at taking photos, mainly because I just kind of ran up, asked if I could take a picture, then took the photo while I was still moving slightly, before speeding away embarrassedly. 

I cosplayed! I've never cosplayed before. I stuck some stars to a dressing gown and made myself a Rincewind hat! With sewing! I was obsessed with Discworld books growing up and Rincewind was always my favourite character. I'd like to give him a hug and tell him that bit of magic he did to open that door in The Light Fantastic was completely awesome. It also gave me an excuse to be bad at costume making, although it would have been nice if I'd made the word "WIZZARD" a bit smaller and closer together. And maybe if I'd dabbed it with black paint a little, I always got the impression Rincewind made that bit himself after a long and probably very drunken night full of especially big personal embarrassments. 

I got a few friendly shouts, nice chats, and bumped into a few better Rincewinds and even an entire Discworld group! These are nicked from Another Will, I hope he doesn't mind...





In general it was a fun day mostly consisting of people in funny costumes trying not to fall over while people at stalls hoped they'd actually buy something. 

So that was that.

Will.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Joe (warning: reading this may ruin your day)



Joe Burgess was a funny, creative, lovely human being. We worked together on the original one minute films as well as these fun silly Lottelo films, and also one time we dressed up as tigers and pretended to have sex in a forest while he laid down a soundtrack of porn guitar music (it was a tiger woods sex tape), although that video appears to be far too passionate for YouTube or Vimeo standards and keeps getting removed. He was awesome.

We got older, we went our separate ways, and we stopped working together. I was hoping that at some point that would change. I looked forward to doing something fun with him again someday, when we were both ready.


I’m fucking devastated. I’m so sorry Joe.

I wasn’t sure whether to write anything about this – my blog is becoming 50% obituaries and I don’t know how that comes across. If anyone closer to Joe feels like I should take this down of course I’ll do so. I only learnt yesterday that this happened, and I’m still in shock about it, and I wanted to pay my respects. To Joe’s family, friends, and Immy, I am so sorry that this has happened. He was a really fantastic man.

There’s a JustGiving Page for London’s AirAmbulance set up in his memory. Please consider donating.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

WEBSITE! WEBSITE! GO TO MY WEBSITE!

HEY! YOU! 

What are you still doing here? Didn't you see the dancing robot? Didn't you see the polite but insistent instructions? I have a website now! It's way cooler than this one. This isn't a website! It's not even a blog! You're not even on the internet right now! Stop daydreaming! Sit up straight! Go to my website!


It has lists of films I've made and descriptions of stuff I've done that weren't all written in 2007. It has a nice neat layout and contact details and links to my YouTube channel and my Director's page at Indy8

Did you know I was represented as a director by Indy8? Well now you do. See? This website will teach you things. This website will bring us together. As a family. This website will save our marriage.

More importantly than that, 

IT HAS GIFS:


SO MANY GIFS:

BEAUTIFUL GIFS:


GIFS OF FILMS I MADE:


GIFS OF FILMS I EDITED:
GIFS OF FILMS I MADE BUT DIDN'T GET ROUND TO BLOGGING ABOUT FOR REASONS:

GIFS GIFS GIFS GIFS 
GIFS GIFS GIFS:

Ever since 1997 it has been my firm belief that every website should have as many animated gifs as humanly possible. And also MIDI musical covers of classic 1980s dance numbers, speed metal, and/or hardcore gangsta rap. Unfortunately, it turns out Apple computers have made it very hard to play MIDI music in browsers these days, because the whole Apple expansion and popularity increase was just an elaborate plan to crush people's dreams. But at least I've managed to make half of this grand vision come true by filling the page with animated gifs of films I've written, directed and/or edited. Hope you like them! Feel free to make the noises you'd imagine they'd make if they were making a noise. 

It was built in Wordpress, which is a much harder method of constructing a website than a heavily recommended website building thing in 2014 should really be. You have to go and retype bits of code when things go wrong, and things go wrong a lot. At one point I found an option in the administrative interface that, if changed, would instantly break the administrative interface, and the only way it could be fixed was to go into all the background data files, copypaste some code into a section that says "DO NOT WRITE NEW CODE HERE", refresh the site a few times, then delete the new code and hope it wouldn't have any long lasting effects. Making it do anything nice is like trying to carve a statue out of stone while you're carrying it up a flight of stairs. I still haven't worked out how to get rid of the Wordpress URLS, or make the website description "Will Tribble" rather than "Willtribble.co.uk" (without adding extra ugly text to the front page), or put a little thingy with my contact details in the top right hand corner. I originally tried to do it in iWeb, which is a lovely and easy thing to use, but it seems that Apple have pretty much stopped supporting it and using it is not encouraged. (see: dream crushing, above). But that's all grumbling, FORGET EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE.





(That last one's not from a film I made/edited.)

- Will.

PS the clouds behind the main site logo come from Horse Heaven! Nice link back to 2008! Don't read this blog any more please.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Lottelo Me

Hello blog! It's nice to see you again. I actually feel dusty writing this.

Main bit

I've recently uploaded some TV and internet ads we made for an Austrian lottery company called Lottelo back in 2009. Check it out!





Me and the other folks who made the One Minute One Take films were hired by The Viral Factory to make a wide variety of films that were both imaginative and designed to look user generated. 

Longer bit

I may be forgetting some of the technical details of how Lottelo actually worked, but the jist was that the people starring in each ad were trying to get people to ring them, and the more people rung them the bigger chance they'd have of winning this lottery. So they were either trying to charm them or giving reasons why they want to win the lottery - "I want to see the world!" "I want to live the high life!" etc. The numbers they give out were real Austrian phone numbers, and for a few weeks actors were on hand to chat with anyone who called.

It was a bit of an oddity, and not just because we were pretending to be Austrian. We had a sort of scattergun approach of being given a few ideas to develop, along with pitching our own ideas, then being given a bit of budget, then basically heading out and doing whatever with minimal supervision. Then we'd come back in a week's time and present what we'd done. We went through this process twice over for two straight weeks and ended up with about - hang on, I'll do a rough count - holy crap, twenty films, all very short but each with a totally different set up. And then I had a nice long sleep.

Actually we spent a bit more time on the stop motion. We did a simpler version in the first week then remade it, spending more time on collecting together props and building things and animating it. Geoff got involved and helped light it. The extra time we put into it shows, I think. There's a difference between making things look home made because you have to and making things look home made because you want to.

A lot of the films were made at my house (again), with the art design being handled partly by Laura Archer (who stars in the stop motion film), partly by my dad, the only person who could make number-shaped moulds that would produce little number-shaped chunks of ice that didn't instantly fall apart when you take them out and stand them upright. Try it yourself, it's hard. George Burt, Jake Lunt and my mum were brought in as producers after a few days of more things falling over than films being made.

These are just the highlights. One of my lesser favourites was something I randomly decided to make one day, a "party helmet" that was a cardboard box covered in those tonguey noisemaker things all connected by taped together party straws. I made a demo, TVF liked it. So somehow I ended up having to operate a shinier version of this Party Helmet for another one of these videos, looking as aggressive as someone who isn't an actor and knows that the damn thing would only hold together for thirty seconds before needing a complete duct tape repair job/rebuilding and we only have five party poppers left would probably look.




It was an interesting experience. I didn't make these that long ago, but looking at them again bring up a lot of memories, some good, some not worth talking about. There are a lot of nice ideas in there and I'm glad we got the chance to make it. Not sure I'd do another shoot like it though. Well, not for the same budget anyway.

Will

PS the guy in the giant top hat was Harry Hill's Steve Benham

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Boo.

I try not to use this blog to talk about personal things these days, but there are a few exceptions. 


On Wednesday the 4th December my dog Boo died. He was a much loved member of the family, and had been for the last nine years. 


I inherited him from my mother, and in many ways he helped me to deal with her passing, being a constant, bouncy, friendly face to wake me up and get me out of the house in the morning. He was the spirit of liveliness and fun, and it was impossible to stay unhappy when a gigantic fluffy monster was dragging you down the road to the park at a hundred miles an hour. Or stay in bed with this big gallumphing teddy bear of a thing grinning at you and trying to lick your face.



I tried to involve him in my life wherever I could. He actually has a starring role in a film I made for the FA - you can see him here, 33 seconds into the film, being held by my dad and my brother, watching me stomping around behind the camera, to make him look like he's following the footsteps of a giant robot (I've somehow completely missed talking about this film here, but will do soon). 



It's hard for non-animal owners to know how close you can get to pets, dogs especially. They're family. Sometimes they're your closest friends. They're always there for you, waiting for you to come and play. I'll miss Boo very much.




- Will.