This week’s homework was to make up three story pitches for our final project at Animation Mentor. I’ve actually been working on this one idea (really, anything surrounding this original character I created) for some time now, and I’ve wanted to do my short film on her since before I applied to AM. However, we did need three ideas to meet the grading requirements, each of them in the format you see below.

Here are my three ideas:

Pitch #1: “A Cross Titan” starring Briar — A Ramswoole Maide Adventure™

We open: on a close-up of a flower in a clearing after a forest. The titles fade, what looks like roots on the flower twitch, become legs, and the flower walks away. As it leaves, Briar enters. She’s a faun, young and thin, with ram horns on her head.

She’s obviously hungry, and is looking around for edible things as she walks down the path out of the forest. Then she sees it: across a bridge that spans a gorge, there’s a single tree with a single, ripe, delicious-looking fruit hanging from a low branch. She is elated, and walks quickly towards the bridge

Until: she steps on what looks like a stone, until it opens its eye and glares, angrily. We see her from behind as she nears the bridge, and a shadow overtakes her. She turns just in time to see a rock Titan swinging an arm down to smash her. She ducks, and it misses her but demolishes the bridge anchor posts on her side of the gorge. The bridge collapses. Briar exclaims wordlessly at the fruit, and at the Titan.

And then: the Titan attacks again. She dodges to the left, trying to circle around it, but it’s too large. One massive arm comes down to block her way; she turns tail and runs to the right. The Titan shifts, bringing its other arm down. It lands inches from her feet and the ground shatters.

She looks left, and right; she can’t see a way out.

And then: she notices that the Titan has plenty of space between its legs. It is closing on her now, pushing her to the edge of the gorge. She steadies herself, waiting for its swing. Both arms come up, and as it brings them down for the killing blow she dives between the Titan’s legs. She tucks into a roll, and on the other side of the Titan she mule-kicks him as hard as she can. The Titan loses balance and falls.

Close up on her as she waits for the inevitable crashing sound!

Until finally: she turns to see why the Titan has not crashed, and she sees that the Titan is just the right length to act as a temporary bridge. She crosses happily, pausing while on his back to give him a victorious face, then runs to grab her fruit.

(Optional, depending on time:) After the credits roll, we see her standing near the Titan’s hands, eating her fruit. She’s slowly kicking the fingers on each hand off the edge of the gorge.

Moral: In every obstacle there is opportunity. Also: Never cross a Ramswoole Maide.

Pitch #2: “Not My Kind of Dinner Guest” starring Granny MacGee

We open: on a kindly old woman in a living room. There’s a television, a reclining chair, and a TV tray atop which is a smoking TV dinner. The woman sits gingerly and looks about to enjoy a quiet evening in with her stories and meal.

Until: a cockroach appears from behind the television, frightening her. At first, it stays near the television so she tries to ignore it, but she can’t seem to take a bite with it there. She throws a ball of yarn at it. The cockroach dodges.

And then: it advances towards her. She freaks, stands (more nimbly than one would expect), and backs away. She grabs the knife off her TV dinner tray and tosses it, expertly, at the cockroach. It dodges again and continues to advance, pushing Granny MacGee down the hall. She tosses things she can put her hands on — a vase (from which she gently removes flowers beforehand), a coat rack, even a bowling ball off a bowling trophy on a table in the hallway. When that misses, she throws the table.

And then: she is backed into a corner with a closed door blocking her path. She feels for the knob but can’t find it. The roach comes closer, and closer. She feels her clothing and pockets, patting down her body to find anything else to throw, and her hands find her mouth. A light goes on. She pulls out her dentures and, just as the roach gets within arms reach, she brings the dentures down as hard as she can, splattering the bug.

Finally: she returns to her chair, picks up her fork, and flips on the TV. Then she realizes she can’t eat without her teeth.

Moral: Desperation in moderation.

Pitch #3: [ Untitled at the moment ] Starring Roger Jolly (Yes, the One and Only)

We open: on a pirate ship.

There’s a pirate with a sword, pushing a man tied with ropes to walk the plank.

The man pleads for his life. The pirate yawns.

The man gets on his knees and begs and begs! The pirate gestures with the sword for the man to get on with it.

The man comes off the plank and kisses the pirate’s boot. The pirate gets fed up (“Oh, for the love of Davy…”), and kicks the man backwards, off the plank.

The man scrambles! He holds on with his teeth! Then he falls.

He screams and screams and then: He finds out the ocean is only ankle deep.

The pirate looks over the edge, smiling, and loses his grin when he finds the man not dead.

The man in the “water” sniffs the water and throws up a little, you know, in his mouth.

Zoom out through a series of quick cuts! We find out that the entire thing happened inside a sky-colored cereal bowl.

The man who was eating the cereal is caught with the spoon in mid-air, mouth wide open. He picks up a carton of milk from OS and sniffs it. He throws up a little, you know, in his mouth.

Finally, we see the milk carton land in a garbage can.

Moral: Don’t drink expired milk unless you’re ready for wicked hallucinations.

There’s one other thing I wanted to post today. Last week I did my first bit of texture painting at work. That alone was interesting, but I also used Blender to do a bit of texture baking onto the character so that I wouldn’t have to paint the whole thing in 2D in Photoshop. The essential technique is to import the mesh of the character with UVs into Blender (or to UV it in Blender, seeing as Blender is still the best UVing tool on the market), then to add a texture that’s projected differently and bake the projection down into the UV layout. This way you can more easily lay complex patterns and colors onto your mesh without having to pay for ZBrush or BodyPaint 3D. Both of those packages are great at what they do, but for AM students just trying to spice up a character they’re a bit expensive.

Anyway, here’s the video I made. Hope it helps someone.