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Friday, July 3, 2020

2D to 3D Animation Techniques


Here is a behind the scenes, sneak peak at how Netflix Animation and SPA Studios solved the problem of how to get the 3D look on 2D hand-drawn animation. Wow! A must see.

NetFlix - Klaus: Getting 2D to Look 3D - ( video courtesy of Movies Insider)






This link describes how to merge 2D with 3D animation, and has a nice historic flashback with movies that have attempted this.

How to Merge 2D with 3D - (video courtesy of  Howard Wimshurst)


Here is a video tutorial on creating 2D animation in Blender with Grease Pencil



2D Animation in Grease Pencil - (video courtesy of  Blender Developers) 


Want more? Check out these links here:

2D to 3D Animation Software

2D to 3D Animation Software Part II


Let me know what you think and enjoy.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Character Types Will Make Or Break Your Story



The characters will make or break your story. Maybe you have heard this saying before.
It's true. Having the right character at the right moment in your story will keep your storytelling seamless, further engage your audience and keep them engrossed until the very end.

Conversely, having the wrong character will have your audience questioning your logic, grind your story to a full stop, and have them move on to something else. The downside is they may never give you a second chance. You've got to get it right the first time.

Here are 7 of the typical character archetypes:



































A well-crafted story will use just enough character types necessary to get maximum impact with no fluff. Certain genres may rely more on certain character types than others.

A good exercise is to take your favorite movie and do an analysis to see which categories the characters fall into.

Want more tips? Check out these below:

The Secrets to Overcoming Writer's Block
The Top Ten Tips When Writing for the Entertainment Medium
Types of Story and Why it Matters

Do you find these tips helpful? 
Leave me a comment.

Share with your friends and enjoy!



Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Secrets to Overcoming Writer’s Block.



Writer's Block- The Crisis – The Scribblings


In the article, 
Top Ten Tips When Writing for the Entertainment Medium,
we discussed 10 sure-fire ways to get you motivated and to jumpstart a successful writing experience. I hope you found them interesting and useful. 

As promised on #8, 
Discover the secrets to overcome writer’s block, I could not do this topic justice in just a blurb. So here we go. 


What is writer’s block?

Have you ever sat down to write and the white screen or page makes your mind go blank. This happens to everyone more often than you think. What if I were to tell you there are at least 3 ways to overcome this problem if you find yourself in this situation. We are going to assume that you are writing a narrative with characters and situations, but the techniques below can also be modified for non-fiction categories as well.

Have you heard of the TaglineWhat if or Can, and the One to Two Sentence Scenario. These are all shortcuts to get you writing immediately even if you have writer's block. Let’s start with the Tagline.

The Tagline:
Think of a catchphrase that captures the essence of your story. Usually, it expresses a theme/plot or main action in your story. You typically either see this flashed onscreen or hear it said in a movie trailer.

Some examples:

  • In space, no one can hear you scream.

  • Two men; a thousand bullets.

  • They were 7 and they fought like 700.

  • You will never go into the water again.

  • You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.

  • One ring to rule them all.

Take a moment, relax your mind, and think of some interesting taglines. Here is what I came up with:

  • Mind over dark matter.

  • The ultimate warrior has met his match.

  • Man versus machine in the afterlife.

  • A one-way ticket to nowhere.

What If or Can:
Take a statement and use “what if” or “can” in front. This creates another unique variation on the tagline. You may find some of the examples very familiar.

Examples:

  • What if an asteroid 30 miles long hit the earth?

  • What if a gun had a soul?

  • What if machines became smarter than man?

  • Can a young boy with psychic powers save the earth from destruction?

  • Can an ogre find the love of his dreams when rescuing a beautiful princess?

  • Can a Kung-fu master defeat a steel-plated android?

  • What if you could travel at the speed of thought?

  • What if you could live forever?

  • They say we only use 10% of our brain capacity. What if you had instant access to the other 90%

The One-Two Sentence Scenario:
Can you encapsulate your idea in one to two sentences? With most good ideas you can. This is the main element that drives your story. You might recognize some of these examples.

Examples:

  • An average boy must defeat the jock at the sports competition to win the girl of his dreams.

  • A man accidentally acquires the power of a spider

  • A teen race car driver must face-off with an evil millionaire in the race of death.

  • Insects outwit humans in a battle for survival.

  • A computer virus saves the world from destruction.

  • A celestial phenomenon makes a man super smart.

Now that you have a start point for your idea, what is next? You will need to flesh out the concept with more info. A good story requires who, what, when where, how, and why. A fiction narrative requires a beginning, middle, and end (3 act structure), a hero and villain, the inciting incident/conflict that gets the story in motion, and some kind of resolution that causes the hero to change.

Below is an example of a worksheet breakdown using the What-if or Can approach. It was complete in the classroom by students in under an hour.
Asks the right questions, then find the answers. Flesh out the rest.

What if there is life on Mars?

What type of life?
A micro-organism. It’s deadly to humans and spreads rapidly.

When is the story taking place?
In the future.

Type of genre?
Science Fiction / Horror.

Setting?
A space station orbiting Mars.

What are the characters?
A brilliant scientist (hero)
His female assistant (possible love interest)
An evil general (villain)
A team of covert –ops

The military has discovered a micro-organism on Mars that, if injected into a human host gives you super strength and telekinetic powers. The downside is that it destroys the host within three months. A brilliant scientist uncovers the plot thanks to help from his assistant.

Conflict: They must outwit the evil general and his team of covert-ops who have been injected with the organism.

Resolution: Do they win or lose?
They win.

How?
The scientist creates an anti-virus serum.

What change does the hero go through?
The scientist who was pro-military has a change of heart when the evil general infects his assistant. The assistant who was envious of the scientist's mental prowess must rely on his intelligence and her own wits to stay alive.

At this point, it is just a matter of getting the sequence of events in the right order for maximum impact. Hopefully, these techniques will help you create some unique ideas of your own. For non-fiction creators, you could generate ideas from your life, the experience of others, articles /news topics, or historic events using the same techniques.

Please respond to this post if you have some tips that we have missed or had feedback you would like to share. We would love to hear from you. If you liked this, stay tuned for more to come.


This article is also available on Medium -   The Secrets to Overcoming Writer's Block.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Top Ten Tips When Writing for the Entertainment Medium




The Purpose of Creative Writing



If you happened to have read Content Creation & Ownership: Keys to the Entertainment Kingdom, you now know the following: The reasons why entertainment companies are consolidating and buying up what they can, and the importance of content creation and ownership.

With the COVID pandemic in the mix, these companies have consolidated even further and switched to streaming platforms to make up for losses in closed movie theaters and other venues. The irony is that the playing field has somewhat leveled between all the players. The size of the company is no longer much of a concern as to how interesting and popular your content is.

So the question to all you creatives out there is this. How does this impact you? Well, if you love to write, know how to tell compelling stories with interesting characters, and have knowledge of genre’s and what is acceptable, you are well on your way to writing for the entertainment medium. Bear in mind, you can write and sell to a third party or if you are technically savvy, you can also write and produce for yourself.

How many times have you watched a movie / TV show, read a book or comic, and predicted the outcome way before the end? Was that piece of entertainment satisfying and well written? Was it just a poor rehash of the same old thing? Do you think you could have done a better job? Could you have come up with a better story, with more interesting and engaging characters and situations? If you answered yes to the last three questions, 
you have the motivation to proceed.


Below is a list of top ten tips when writing for the entertainment medium. 
I preface this list with the following statements. Writing is an art that takes practice and dedication. The more writing you do, the better you become, and the easier it gets. Put in the time and you will see the rewards.

  1. Know your niche/genre.
    What genre are you writing for? Is there a subgenre that might appeal more to you? What are the story conventions/rules for this subject matter? If you don’t know you are doomed to fail

  2. Read/watch good work and analyze it.
    Who are the top people creating in that genre? What techniques do they employ? Can you incorporate these techniques with your story?

  3. Write every chance you get.
    Take what you learn and practice, practice, practice! Keep what is working and edit or rework what is not. A quick tip: if an incident in your story is not providing either critical information, action, or motivational backstory, take it out. Storytelling is always about forward motion.

  4. Know how to conceptualize visually.
    Storytelling not only has the literary component but has a visual component as well. It doesn’t hurt to learn a little about visual composition and camera angles. Some writers see the story visually in their heads; in terms of shots like a screenplay. If that is the case, the conversion of your story to a visual medium will be made much easier if you write with that intent. Tell the story by actions of the character.

  5. Get feedback (especially from your target audience).
    Once you have a section done get feedback from people into that genre. Post a sneak peek and see what happens. Ask for comments and suggestions. If the feedback is mostly good, you are golden. If not, and you trust the source, revamp, or fix what is wrong.

  6. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.
    We all tend to default to what we think we know as a safety factor. However, you never know what might trigger your next big idea. Expose yourself to things outside your comfort zone and you will build interesting pathways to new ideas and points of view.

  7. Try genre bashing.
    One thing smart creators can do is this. If a genre seems worn and dated, selectively incorporate a second genre and see what happens. An example would be Game of Thrones. We have all read and seen stories similar to Lord of the Rings, where powerful, corrupt, and evil factions set out to overrun humanity and dragons persist. But, what if we were to take the zombie apocalypse and throw it into the mix? Boom. White Walkers!

  8. Discover the secrets to overcome writer’s block.
    Tips #6 and 7 are a good start. Have you heard of the TaglineWhat if or Can, and the One to Two Sentence ScenarioMore on this here.

  9. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel just improve upon it.
    Take what you know, and what works and do it better. Add your spin or a personal touch to it.

  10. Do background research on the top people to see what they went through.
    Not can you also learn by analyzing what the best in the field do, but it is also a good idea to see what they went through to become the best. By reading interviews or background info on these top people, there might be life lessons you can incorporate into your life journey that will improve the learning curve to your success.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Please respond to this post if you have some tips that we have missed or had feedback you would like to share.

Want more? Please check out this article: The Secrets to Overcoming Writer’s Block

Stay tuned for more to come.


This article is also available on Medium -  Top Ten Tips When Writing for the Entertainment Medium 

Enjoy.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Free Orchestral Instruments for Music Creation & Scoring




Recommended Orchestral Sample Libraries | Evenant Online Courses


Most of us musicians are always on the look out for good sounding orchestral libraries. Even better if they are free. I came across the links here that sound awesome. Check them out:

Free Orchestral VST Libraries (Top List) - Video sound comparison by Mikael Baggstrom

1 - Labs by Spitfire Audio

2- The Free Orchestra by Project Sam

3 - Layers by Orchestral Tools


What sounds like your favorite from the list? 
Shoot me a comment and tell me what you think.


More on Project SAM - Video by Guy Michelmore

More on Layers - Video by Alex Moukala


If you have some money to burn for an orchestral library check out this list here:
World Best Orchestral VST Libraries


Want more info like this?
Check out The Audio Production Resource Guide available on Amazon


Triple A Dude Audio Production Resource Guide: 400 + online resources for multimedia artists to maximize audio productivity and creativity by [LeMond, Jon]


Friday, May 1, 2020

Types of Story & Why it Matters.

Amazon.com: Drama Comedy Tragedy Masks - Acting Theatre Theater ...




Storytelling for entertainment is all about the escape from our everyday world and experiencing a different point of view which is something new and exciting. These techniques translate to books, movies, comics, the web, and more. This is an art-form we are really needing these days. So how do we begin?


Story Types

When teaching idea creation in a storytelling class a very important topic we discuss right off the bat is story types. One of the first things to determine is the kind of story you are writing. Why? The story type will dictate the structure. How many kinds of stories are there? If you were to give this a number what would you say? Maybe 5, 7, or 12 kinds of story? What if we were to remove genre out of the equation? What then? Believe it or not, there are really only two kinds of story and it is a throwback to the ancient Greeks: Comedy and Tragedy (which we normally recast as drama). Regardless of story genre, including fiction/non-fiction, whatever we write will be either funny or serious. The reason why this is important is that the structure for these two types is totally different.


Comedy


Comedy plays out the worst in human nature for laughs. Take any sitcom and you will see that they set up a premise at the very beginning of the story, and based on the character archetype and relationships, they have a string of gags that play out based on that premise. Usually, a character says or does something, and a chain of events (gags) ensue based on that initial incident. Check out popular long-running shows like Big Bang Theory, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, and Two and a Half Men and you can see this in action. Short sketch comedy like Saturday Night Live works this way too. Drama however is a totally different animal.





Three Act Structure in Film: Definition and Examples




Drama

In a drama, we have what is known as 3 act structure. You must have a beginning, middle, and end. We also call this the setup, confrontation, and resolution.

Act I: Setup
The setup involves the introduction of the characters, their story world, and some kind of
‘’inciting incident,” typically a conflict that propels us into the second act. It’s usually the
first 20-30 minutes of a film.
Act II: Confrontation or Build
The middle of your story should raise the stakes, you want the audience to keep
watching. This is the main chunk of the story and often leads us to the worst possible
thing that can happen to the character.

Act III: Resolution or Payoff
And the end should bring some kind of catharsis or resolution, (regardless if the ending
is happy or sad)  

You usually have a protagonist (hero) and an antagonist (villain) who square off by the end of act II with an outcome or resolution in act III. There is in most cases, an obstacle that the hero must overcome, and a point of no return (plot point) that forces the hero to take action. Storytelling is about forward motion. Another important point is that unlike your villain, a hero goes through some type of change and is different by the end of the story. Syd Field covers this extensively in his book, “ Screenplay, the Foundations of Screenwriting", which is a must-read! Knowledge about the typical character types and the importance of subplot is key to getting maximum impact from your storytelling. 


Thinking Outside The Box

If you follow the structure you can succeed in just about any genre. Note that even in a non-fiction environment, like a DIY or self-improvement article, you can successfully use a 3 act structure and still have it work. How about using the comedic structure for your next top ten list or reasons why you should or shouldn't do something. Game developers; think of the obstacles and rising conflicts in your act structure as goals, mission or quests for your player (which happens to be the main character). If you are not using structure properly in the case of these two types of storytelling there is a good chance your story will fail.


Did you like this article? Leave a comment for me.
Check these out as well:

Secrets to Overcoming Writer's Block
Top Ten Tips When Writing for the Entertainment Medium
Character Types Will Make Or Break your Story
   
More to come. Stay tuned.


Please check out our previous post on:  Keys to the Entertainment Kingdom

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Video Editing and Compositing Online Course


Videomaker website is offering a course on advanced video editing for members.

The full overview link is here. Membership is as low as 2.50 a month.

Two sections of the course are free to non members: The Art of Editing, and Compositing. Click on these and check them out.

Check out some more cool free stuff here:
Free Stuff for the Holidays VI

Best wishes and enjoy!