Its done. Well kinda, it was due and we handed it in so in terms of that its done, but its not really done. Daydreams was a very challenging project for all those involved and I think a very valuable experience for each of us. I learnt a lot over the course of this project in both “soft skills” and “hard skills” which will greatly benefit me moving forward, there were many mistakes made during this project I will be sure not to make again.
During the our Pre-Production stage we had many positive and negative aspects to our work and our approach which shaped the beginning of this project. We were able to quite quickly decided upon a concept for for our project which worked greatly to our benefit. However this conceptual idea of the story and themes went a very long time without any real visual idea of it being created. Elements such as a storyboard or animatic went much too long without being created, the storyboard never truly being made.
My role throughout the Pre-Production stage was to push for conceptual ideas to be produced and developed putting forward my input and opinion as much as possible while hoping to cater to everyone’s vision of the product. However I feel as though I did not serve this role nearly as well as I needed to. My decision to put my name forward as creative director for the piece was done so because I believed I would create the greatest chance for people to be able to have their input in the final film. In hindsight I do question whether or not this was the correct decision for me and whether or not I was the best choice for the position. In the conceptual development of the characters and story it became very clear to me just how unsure of my own creative decisions I was in this role, especially when working on a piece that would not only represent my work but others as well. I found myself often looking towards other peoples opinions, on what was the best option for us. This was most often Steve as he was usually the most vocal about it and had been named Art Director.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that it is very important to listen to the opinions and thoughts of those you are working with in order to create a great product, but I think I made too little of my own decisions for the piece which in the end effected the success of the final result. I think this lack of my ability to make these decisions became a large factor in the time it took to produce a storyboard or animatic. We went a long time without having any true idea of the progression of events in the piece and this issue became very clear to me when we had to have discussions over and over again to explain the sequences of the piece as they were so unclear. I think overall my ability to make creative decisions and critically critique decisions and pieces of work needs to be greatly improved.
The Production phase of the project became a large slump in our productivity, which I believe was due to many reasons. Beyond the mid production slump being a common occurrence this was around the time we began the nuke workshops which meant was lost some possible in class work time to that. However I don’t think that the lack of class time is a valid excuse for this slump in productivity as it should have been on us to make up that time working together outside of our usual classes.
My role in this scenario should have been to take up a much more grounded and strong stance when it came to deadlines and the amount of work people were producing. It was mentioned by Phil in a conversation after the piece was handed in that this was largely due to faults in the producing side of things, I don’t believe this to be entirely true. I think the lack of pushing for work to be completed is as much on me as it is on Ben, both of us were not strong enough in our enforcing deadlines and requirements from everyone. In future I hope to maintain a much more strict standard of work completion in both its quality and quantity.
During the later stage of the production, now moving into our very short Post Production phase we were very pressed for time. This was brought on by our lack of organisation and productivity earlier in the shorts development. It was at this point that all the little issues we had been sweeping under the rug resurfaced and became a great hindrance to what we were able to complete.
During this final stretch of the production I new we were in trouble with render times in the original style we had been trying to achieve. When Phil suggested we change the style of the piece and we decided that would be the right move for us my confidence in the short regrew. This was the thing that stuck with me most during the initial hand in of the product before its reworked version for the exhibition. We were stuck without much chance of being able to complete it, then we were given a solution to our problem and many extra bits and pieces from Phil, but we were still unable to get a close to complete product finished. I do not think this to be due to our lack of efforts in the late stage of the production, as I know all who could gave everything they had. Instead this was the result of the mistakes we made earlier which meant that even though we were given a second chance we weren’t able to get it to the desired level of completion.
It became my job to render the sequences of the animation, while trying to complete this I found that all the resurfacing issues made it hard to get things done. Beyond just the small window of time we had to render, lack of naming conventions, scenes with unnecessary assets and broken scenes also made the job much more difficult then it needed to be. Being the one doing most of the rendering meant I spent the majority of my time in those final weeks and days running around setting up and checking on render farms. This meant I was unable to be with the guys working on the compositing as I should have been as creative director. During the next production I will be making sure that naming conventions are strictly followed, unneeded assets are removed and issues are properly addressed as well as a small team, all members of which understand a strict render plan are assigned to rendering the production to unsure this does not happen again.
In terms of the KPI’s I needed to meet throughout my time in ANI230 the main areas I had not shown I was successful in implementing by week 7 were; Time Management Abilities, Problem-Solving Skills, Ability to Accept and Learn from Criticism and Working Well Under Pressure. Since then its difficult to say whether I met the Time Management outcome as we were naturally so pressed for time in those weeks following the KPI meeting, especially in the final weeks. I do however think I used my time as effectively as I could both inside and outside of the classroom as it became very important for me to do so. I would also say those weeks following the KPI meeting gave me a chance to test my problem solving skills in the form of addressing issues and making compromises where necessary. This project also became very high pressure in those final weeks and aside from a few slip ups here and there I think that I as well the rest of the group were able to work quite well under the pressure of the due date looming on the horizon. Areas such as the week of animation fix up and the time between the initial and second hand overs would be evidence of work being produced in high pressure scenarios. As far as accepting criticism I hope that my nature throughout those last few weeks, the hand over and this postmortem itself are evidence enough of my not just willingness but want to learn from my mistakes and peoples criticism of my work.
As a whole I believe from start to finish this class has been a very valuable experience and one I know I will remember for the rest of my life. Although we did not end with the product we hoped I am glad that we were able to end with something. Moving forward I do hope to come back to daydreams one day and make it what it could have been.