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Hey all. Before I start getting voice actors, would you take a look at my script? I need some honest but constructive critique. 

Thank you. 

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I enjoyed the script. I was hooked in early and it was easy to visualize what was happening. But I prefer happy endings so I was disappointed there - but that's just my preference. 

The "Others" were hard to visualize/understand in the script alone, but I'm assuming in the film it will be more clear.  Also, maybe some of the Narrator lines are excessive and can be better communicated in the visual. Like "Dunkun lunged forward with a desperate vigor." - in a few places I think it would be more effective to just have the puppet execute the action rather than have the Narrator state the obvious.  But if you're trying to save on animation time and, to that end,inserting these narrated lines strategically, that's a different thing.

Good job overall!

Thank you Rebecca! I deeply appreciate you taking the time to read it. 

A few questions -- 

what did you feel was the message? Was it an optimistic or cynical one? I'm trying to convey a certain message and I want to make sure it's received in the way I want it to. 

How was the pacing? Did it feel rushed at all? 

Again, thank you so much. 

Hey, so I re-read the script to better answer your questions - it’s a good story, and overall well-paced, I feel, and I watch stop motion films/shorts and/or read fiction books EVERY evening, so I have a “fan perspective” regarding the story.

Regarding the pacing, I wouldn’t have the Narrator call Harrison his “friend” but rather, “companion” -
“his only companion in this abandoned world” - but that’s just a suggestion. “friend” seemed a little too intimate for people who just met is all…

The rest of the pace/timing seems really good, especially for a short.

So I want to preface my answer to your other question: we all have our biases, and one of the many gigs I have as a full-time musician is being the music director at a Catholic church. And I definitely consider myself Christian, though I don’t agree with the Catholic church on everything… So when I first read this I thought it was purgatory in which the priest had arrived.

Now, considering my beliefs and personal biases, I felt your message was both cynical AND optimistic. First of all, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that we really have ONE choice: life or death.

I believe it’s cynical for the obvious reasons: I don’t agree on principal that a priest who chooses to serve a congregation in SO many ways and as a loving friend and mentor to so many people would be judged for that choice. But maybe he was a shitty priest who just followed the “rules” and did not really, truly LOVE. Really LIVE in that way.

I would consider it optimistic as a message to those who feel they have been restricted all their lives and never been given the freedom to really CHOOSE LIFE - because I ultimately believe that a “devout” life is one of LOVE - learning to love your enemies (that shit is HARD) and all that.

I hope I answered your questions and I’m excited to see the end video!! Let me know if you want help with music (I’m NOT soliciting for a gig - I don’t need the money). I have my own professional recording studio in Arizona and I’m very committed to the stop motion medium and supporting all stop motion artists that strive for quality.

Graham Ludders said:

Thank you Rebecca! I deeply appreciate you taking the time to read it. 

A few questions -- 

what did you feel was the message? Was it an optimistic or cynical one? I'm trying to convey a certain message and I want to make sure it's received in the way I want it to. 

How was the pacing? Did it feel rushed at all? 

Again, thank you so much. 


Your points are well taken and I agree that "companion" is a better word to use in their circumstance. 

Your analysis is also great too. I wanted an ambiguous message that sparks discussion. It IS both cynical and optimistic. 

Music is going to be a huge component in the film. (Whenever I'm writing I put the soundtrack to my film on to get inspired) the songs I'm going to play are Liebestraum, Claire de la Lune, Spiegal Im Spiegal, Canon in D Major, Dies Irea, and a lot like those songs. Kinda an eerie, surreal, dark tone. 

Thank you so much for your offer, I would love your help crafting the music! And I'm impressed you have your own studio. Wow. 

YES! Ambiguous - it's definitely that!  Like, who is the "Man"??  

Have you made puppets before? there is SO much potential in this script.  Plan on spending COUNTLESS hours making it amazing.... jussayin...

Claire de Lune and Canon in D I have played countless times! (well, at least the most popular parts, haha).  I'm a pianist and vocalist.  I'm happy to help.  My slowest time if year in the summer - I'm in the Seattle, WA (USA) area and have more time to work on personal recordings since I am away from my recording studio and I have less gigs playing out. (I still have a small but very productive project studio up there).  Hit me up! :)

I've been practicing making puppets recently but yes this is my first time attempting it. 

That's awesome! I'm glad you're familiar with the music and that you understand the tone.|

I will! Thank you!!!!

Hi Graham. Just read your script and I have a few comments to add. I agree that it has a lot of potential and could be a very interesting film.

My first comment is to suggest you organise the script layout. You need to break the whole thing down into scenes or sequences, so you can then further subdivide into shots, so you need a numbering system to not get lost. Also, the script should tell the reader what they are seeing. I felt you started quite well, then abandoned that in favour of dialogue, some of which could definitely be cut and shown instead of told. Try to put in descriptive sentences to anchor it in the visual. Think of the amazing images you have in mind, describe them, and in the next stage - the storyboard - you can start to define them more closely.

Who is the narrator? Is it God? This is important because the narrator is the intermediary, presenting the film to the audience. In the film I am doing, I started off with a narrator, then realised that I could cut those lines by putting in a visual image instead, so I went through all the lines and found images to suit. I think it has improved my film. But then I found there were a few things that simply could not be shown, or were too clumsy done visually, so I have put a very few lines back in. A professional writer friend has suggested I write down all the narrated lines separately and then read them through to see if they make sense. Recording the lines is also a good idea, as you quickly find out what can and cannot be said. Get some actors to do the lines if possible, so you can listen.

Less is usually more. Mystery comes from the unexplained. Present a story not a discussion. Above all, take time to revise and redraft the script until it is the very best you can come up with. Only then should yiou start on the filmmaking, or you will waste a lot of time.

Have a look at the way the pros lay out their scripts and screenplays. You will get a lot of benefit by following their blueprint.

And good luck!

Thank you so much for your in depth analysis and advice. I think you're right, there's always room for improvement and my script is far from perfect. I think more visual transparency is needed (numbered, more visual description, less dialogue) and I will absolutely work on that. Currently I'm transitioning my puppets to silicone casts and practicing my stop motion skills before I start filming. Any advice on what to do to prepare filming? (Besides finalizing the script)

I have just been going through this process for my own script, and once i got the sequences numbered i started work on the storyboard with an artist who specialises in them. He drew about 350 sketches. Then I put them all in a timeline, guessing at the timing. But it all looks quite lifeless like that, so I have been turning the sketches into animated shots, some of them quite crude, but suddenly I can get a feel for the pacing of the film. I animated the sketches by messing around with them in Photoshop then importing them into After Effects. This then informs decisions about the lines for narration and other issues around spatial organisation and even things like set requirements start to get more firmed up. All the time you get to ask yourself questions about the story - what's necessary and what's not, what will be more visually interesting, all that sort of thing.

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