|What sorts of challenges did you face when making the short film? |
The challenges started from day one, where the main problem of
the story was to show a convincing change of the hero's character
in a short movie. Mostly if you tell a short film the story is
simple or you just try to tell a joke. The characters don't really
change or grow much. You just have to try to have one strong turn
at the end of the story. Not so in my case. I tried to imitate
the structure of a full feature film and bring it to a short film,
including portraying depth of character, his needs and wants, his
background and so on. In my short film you know from the middle
of the film how the movie will end, but you have to see it and
to feel it. When I watch films in the cinema, very often I know
how the film will end, so that is not the point. What I think is
important is that you believe the characters and feel with them,
or – even better – identify with them.
So the main challenge was to give that much background information
and make sure that everyone understood the character's needs. We
created the situation at the beginning when the dragon slayer was
meeting the blacksmith and his son. At this point I was a little
afraid nobody would understand that the dragon slayer already had
this need somewhere in his head, but didn't realize it.
In this short introduction I could show a lot of stuff. For example,
his dissatisfaction with his situation. You can see it how he is
riding on his horse unambitiously, and the view of the people towards
him shows a lot of his situation. The people only see the heroic
side of his work. They admire him and give him a lot of respect;
he is something of a star. But we see his real life; it is boring
To make his character deeper we created the introduction sequences
at the beginning and at the end. We could show much more of his
background and understand his decision at the end by making this
short review of what happened and what will happen. These snapshots
of Tarragon are ironic, especially at the beginning of the movie
where what we see is not what we get. The picture shows a shining
hero, but what we see at first in 3D images is the opposite.
Then there were various technical issues. I had some anti-aliasing
problems using Maya's depth of field. So we had to fix this in
the compositing using additional masks. Then, for some shots I
had to break the scenes into different layers, because Maya wouldn't
render the scenes. They were just too big.
At some point after we had recorded the music by an orchestra,
the movie was shortened. So it was much more difficult to fit the
music to the new length of the movie. Thanks to our musician though,
who did an excellent job using the music program to cut everything
together. Finally, nobody realized that it wasn't meant to be like
this. He also created new music synthetically and mixed it with
If you take care of a project on your own, sometimes decisions
are difficult to make.
I experienced this and realized it was better for the project if I discussed
the problems of project with people from the team. At the same time, it was
also very exhausting to find new people for the project again and again, especially
because there was no money for the project. I had to finish
the movie by a specific date, but I still had to earn some money meanwhile,
in order to have enough money to live. So I also had some time issues too.
If you could have done anything differently, what would
it have been?
I would work together with a script writer right from the beginning
of the project in order to make the development time as short as
possible. I would work with 2D Storyboards from the beginning to
save some time, instead of doing the 3D animation straight away.
I would also try to find a permanent team of 2-3 people to help
me over the whole production period. The best case would be if
they each could be helping me in specialized fields.
What about the music? Who did the music? Tell us about
how it was composed for the short.
The film music was composed by a student, Julian Pesek, and brought
in by the Ludwigsburger Orchestra. Additionally, the musician composed
a song for the credits with a singer. After the music was finalized
we decided to shorten the film by about 1 minute. This was a small
problem, because now we had to fit the music to the new cut, but
in the end it worked out.
Parallel to the music, Frank Casaretto did the sound design. Both
musicians worked on the final cut, while we did the compositing.
I received a special prize for the short film in Germany , the
title “Prädikat Besonder Wertvoll” which means that the short
film is pronounced to have ‘special value'. Now I am working on
the film version, which means that I render the whole film in HDTV
resolution! And it will be put on to actual film at the end, so
there will be a film copy.
Thanks to CGNetworks and the whole Dragon Slayer team.