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  • Writer's pictureSilvana

The last push

I managed to finish my film on time, and I am very proud of it. In these last few weeks, the making of the film has totally consumed me and it has been a challenging and rewarding experience.

I am very happy with the way the result looks and sounds, I think that I have completed it to a professional standard and managed well to bring my vision to life. I really like that I achieved this inky sketchbook look and realised my initial development work into moving images.

In the ‘final push’ period leading up to this assessment I came to appreciate the work I have put in early in this semester: figuring out a consistent workflow. Knowing exactly how to compile the different assets for a scene and how it will be composited helped me immensely and made me so much more productive. Mike has been especially helpful in that process, and I can see the benefits of my consistent exchange with him.

Having a good structure for compiling my work provided a great framework for keeping an open mind and approaching every scene with new curiosity while being able to keep a consistent look and feel of the overall film. I further think that I found a good balance between sticking to my initial plan and animatic and at the same time staying flexible and adjusting it during the production process – not only when it came to the look and animation but also regarding the story. The story was an element that I struggled with a bit. Defining the title, the visual motives (eyes, smoke, feet) as well as the ‘mirroring shots’ (referencing back to a forest shot when in the city for example) really helped me to visually express that which I had difficulties putting into words.

Deciding on a title gave me some headaches in the last week. My working title 'Leaf the city' felt too cheeky for my film, gave too much away and so I decided it would do much better as a logline instead. I wanted a title that encapsulated my film and felt somewhat poetic, but all I could come up with were silly puns. This is where I realised once more that I find it hard to define my film, and wished I had more precisely narrowed down what it is about at its core in the pre-production process. Then one night I stumbled across the word 'Waldeinsamkeit' (literal translation 'Forest Loneliness'), an untranslatable German word and poetic motive of romanticism which describes the feeling one gets when alone in the forest, a spiritual loneliness and reconnection with self that is often missing in our busy concrete city environments. I read articles about the resurgence of the Waldeinsamkeit ideal after the lockdowns and in many ways I felt like this word articulates so well what I am exploring with this film. I only wish I came across it earlier on. While I am very excited about this title I am at the same time worried that it could be a bad idea to choose a German word (and a long one at that), because I know it diminishes chances that people here will remember it...but hey, I am German and I could not come up with a better title (and I made very long lists) so I'm gonna stick with it.

The amount of detail I put into each scene overwhelmed me at times. I could not let anything that bothered me go; oftentimes I spent hours fixing things that other people probably would not have noticed watching my film and while I think this contributes to the professional look of the film, I wish I did a better job at prioritising what is important for my own sanity.

I am very grateful for the help that I received from Renata and Magnus in animating some of the effects animation. Delegating work made me realise the importance of good planning and communication, giving clear instructions but also leaving enough room for their input, and the results I received were exceeding my expectation every time!

It was a little bit more challenging with the music and sound design collaboration, mainly due to the fact that I changed the duration of the film in the process of animating and so we had to adjust the sound a few times. I also had to overcome some insecurities of giving feedback to other artists. To make that process easier I asked Enya and Andrew to separate some of the sound assets, so that I could make the adjustments myself. The fact that they were both working remotely probably played a role, it would have been much easier in person. In the end I am very happy with the result and think that the music and sound enhance the film a lot, although they might need a wee polishing before the graduate show.

Day and Night

A wee process video (featuring lots of feet...somehow the only thing I took reference footage of:

Special Thanks to Sammson for the pictures and time-lapses!!:)

(Update) Here is a quick flip through of the sketchbook in which I painted most of my backgrounds (that I then touched up in Photoshop):

Some still images from my film:

A quick mock-up of the poster I will create for the graduate show:

I can't quite believe that this film production is over now and with that my time at university as well! But for now I am excited for the graduate show next month and seeing my film on the big screen :)

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