Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Projects 350 - Story Pitch and Beat Analysis

For my second semester Junior Project, we keep a weekly progress journal defining our progress and documenting our process. I was keeping it in a word doc, but decided to move it to the blog to share the progress of the project. I'll be updating this at least once a week until the project is done.

For the class, we have to create an animated short from scratch, using Maya, Max and other software. We start by building out a story and storyboarding it out, analyzing the beats and making sure everything works while we build out character analysis and art, then model, rig, skin and texture the character or characters, build and light the scene and then animate the entire thing. Depending on our focus, our scene can be between 15 and 45 seconds.

Below is the first entry for the project, detailing my story, breaking it down to a Logline, and then the first pass at analyzing the beats of the story itself.

Story – Pitch and Beat Analysis

Shot opens on a moonlit roadside exterior, somewhere in a thin forest. An ancient sword sticks out of an anvil at the side of the road, an old twisted fence surrounding it. Grass has grown high after years of neglect. Clearly no man has been able to free the sword from the anvil in a very, very long time.

A small goblin coming down the road appears in the left of the shot and, just as he's passing the sword, spots it. He stops to examine the object and gets nearer, getting a good look at it. As he touches it, a beam of light illuminates him. Clearly he is destined by the Gods to be the next great leader of men. He decides to try his brawn and grabs it by the grip, jerking it upward. It doesn't budge. He tries again, both hands on the grip, and it refuses to budge. Grabbing it by the cross guard, he strains and bends and jerks the sword as hard as he possibly can. Finally it comes free and he falls to the ground, the sword in his lap.

Coming to his senses on the ground, the goblin shakes his head, then realizes what he's done. He leaps to his feet, elated, and tosses the sword away into the grass. The beam of light immediately fades as he runs over and grabs his new-found anvil and drags it off screen right.

Logline (story pitch in 25 words or less)

A goblin, finding a sword in an anvil, pulls the sword out but discards it for the anvil itself.

Story Beats

Opening shot: sword stuck in an anvil beside a road under moonlight. Goblin enters screen left.

  • Goblin notices sword.
  • Goblin approaches cautiously, examining sword in anvil.
  • Goblin touches it tentatively. Shaft of light appears above him.
  • Goblin recoils from anvil, cautiously.
  • Goblin touches again.
  • Goblin decides it is safe and grabs the handle, jerking upward swiftly. Sword doesn't budge.
  • Goblin grabs with both hands and pulls hard but sword doesn't budge.
  • Goblin lets go of sword, then musters his strength.
  • Goblin grabs sword by the cross guard, steps onto anvil and pulls with all his might.
  • After a long pull, goblin frees the sword from the anvil. Resulting forces goblin to reel back and fall onto his butt with sword across his lap.
  • Goblin shakes off the resulting confusion, notices sword in lap, and jumps to feet.
  • Goblin pitches sword off-camera into the weeds and approaches anvil, excited.
  • Goblin grabs the anvil and, straining, lifts it, dragging it off screen right.

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