First Pencil Test

On my quest to sidestep my writer’s block on how to iron out the story, I have managed to get my first actual pencil test done tonight – just nine drawings of Isaac Sr. turning the pipe around in his hand to insert it (at 1:29 in on Take 7) – but it feels like a bit of a break-through for me, and that more will be coming in rapid order.  I’m really looking forward to doing the pencil tests for Isaac Sr.’s face as he contemplates what he is about to do – starting at 0:50 in Take 7 – and the part where the flames spread out of the pipe and across the mare’s butt, so those are likely to be the next two pencil tests.

9-frame pencil test guide, showing the arc used for turning the pipe around

Because I am not happy with the rhythm of the whole at all yet, I am trying not to let that derail me and delay me any longer. I know that I will be working on this through the summer, with the rhythms I’m starting to build up in this production class starting to sink in.  Of course, I say that even though last week was pretty much of a wash, between feeling so blocked up and being sick, but I’m feeling the push to be back in the swing of the work, and I’m hoping this can help me build momentum for the summer, when I will not be trying to balance my energy between my day job and the film, and can devote so much more time daily to the film.

I do know that the fart-lighting section feels pretty much laid out, so I’m just going to spend my time now working through the pencil tests on that and let the rest percolate. I haven’t gotten anywhere nearly as far as I want to get, but this latest (Take #7) doesn’t reflect much of the work I’ve been doing behind the scenes, learning to work with the new software (Toon Boom Studio 6) and figuring out how to work with the fieldchart on the light table and then on the copy stand. I still don’t feel like I’ve got a very efficient system in place, but I’m starting to make some decisions on how I want to nail down everything (well, dare I say “duct-tape down” everything?) when the time comes to start shooting whole scenes made up of hundreds of drawings, not just these brief pencil tests.

One little discovery this past week is that the copy machine at work will copy onto transparencies, and I have a box of them. Granted, without being punched, this doesn’t help a WHOLE lot, but by using an Exacto knife, I was able to add Acme “punches” to one that I’d copied from my 16×9 field chart, so that I can just keep it on my light table under my drawings, so I can better keep track of the framing of my shots, while not have an extra layer of paper for the light to be going through while I’m working.

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