Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My short film project - "The Ukulele Man"

Ever since gaining interest in the ukulele (way back in 2011), I have always wanted to have paid tribute to quite possibly one of the worlds greatest entertainers/ukulele players, Mr. George Formby. It was either that year or 2012, I developed a project idea entitled "George Formby Animated", in which I made a very terrible looking stop motion puppet of George (see in the poster below).

However fate struck and the puppet broke! This was caused by the wire snapping (I was using the wrong wire anyway lol) and I lost motivation, shelving the project.

Times passed and about a quarter of the way into 2014, I decided to re-look into the project. I decided on a better title, "The Ukulele Man" and started a storyboard (which I have not yet finished). Duration wise, I am aiming at a 5-6 minute film which I think is suited for a short film. The basic plot is George getting ready to go onstage (act 1), performing (act 2), and the finale which is basically the end of his performance. So really it's kinda like a music video.

A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to visit the famed Mackinnon & Saunders animation studio (Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Frankenweenie) which was just an amazing experience! This motivated me more into getting this project on the go and also taught me a few things regarding puppet construction. I initially was going to do a build up puppet with latex and a wire armature, however after seeing some very high quality machined ball and socket armatures at the studio, I decided this would be a better approach, as there would be no problem with the armature breaking, in comparison with wire. Instead of latex, I will use silicone which I know is a bit costly, but the end result is far superior to latex (I think anyway).

I have been currently working on a headsculpt of George in plasticine which I intend to cast in Plaster of Paris and then make a silicone copy (with armature inside of course).

Head armature design. This will connect to a ball and socket armature.

Music/sound effects wise, I am very fortunate enough to have the support of my girlfriend, who is studying music editing in college! The music will be old timey, vaudeville style, with recordings of George used when he is performing, however this could be a potential problem due to copyright, so thats on the fence right now.

Here's a test I made in After Effects of the main titles.

Something like this.

So yeah that's all I have right now, still a long way to go, so I'll try and keep updated as I go along!

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