noun: animatic; plural noun: animatics
1 a preliminary version of a movie, produced by shooting successive sections of a storyboard and adding a soundtrack.
The No Lies Told Then (“NLTT”) team is always searching for ways to elevate this project from a blip to something bigger. How can we share pieces of the story a unique and exciting way? How can we facilitate a larger conversation about NLTT, supporting artists of color and the universal themes the film explores?
It was those questions the director and I were pondering during one of our “crazy idea” sessions. We knew a trailer was out of the question, so we gave ourselves permission to get really creative. Our brainstorming session ended with a vague promise to create something with colors and audio, and maybe a voiceover with lines from the script.
The next night, he called with a more concrete idea. It was a “picture this” moment: Central Park at the Alice in Wonderland statue, and the rabbit comes to life! It was captivating. As he conveyed his vision to me, I made mental notes; our “vague promise” morphed into the creation of an animated short. When we hung up, I got to work.
In effort to be economical, we searched for simplistic options like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO2-f-CgK0M. Or possibly this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBk3ynRbtsw. Those don't look too difficult or expensive, right?
Wrong. Polite rejection after polite rejection forced us to dive deeper down the black hole known as the internet to find an animator to fit our budget. Giving up was not an option.
Eventually, I discovered a website with a community of freelance animators called Wooshii. You post your project description and budget, and people pitch their ideas to you. Easy.
We received a few pitches, one of which went in the direction of horror, but a submission from a UK-based company, Fudge Animation really stood out.
After they read the script, I was hoping they would say, “This is great! We can do so much with the story in the style you want.” You probably know where this is going. Our vision, they said, was too ambitious for our budget and timeline, but they had an suggestion — what about a hand-drawn animatic? They had us at “hand-drawn”.
It was a fascinating collaboration. They would sketch versions of characters and we offered our input. They’d go back to the drawing board and return with a new version. We became a well-oiled machine.
Everything went smoothly on the animation front, but the mistake we’d made in the process was asking Fudge hire and direct the voice talent. Folks, if you hire the wrong voice talent, it can change the entire tone and meaning of your story. Fudge nailed the visuals and sound effects, but without the director to guide the voice work, it didn’t quite come together.
We were faced with a decision: leave the animatic as delivered, or work with our own sound engineer and voice talent. We chose the latter.
Once we hired local voice talent, the director instructed them record the script in several tones. I was rewriting on the fly. The engineer was offering suggestions. It was fun until we had to listen to the raw audio files and decide which version of a line best conveyed the tone we wanted to achieve.
Somehow, and I guess this is a testament to the symbiotic relationship the director and I have developed, we managed to land on basically the same audio files. The sound engineer added all the effects and vocal choices to the audio and after a couple months, we’d made an animatic!
I share this story with you to give you an inside look at the creation of the animatic. There were at least ten people who worked on this project at various stages. All of us dedicated time and in one way or another, money, because we believe in the work.
We are proud to present to you an animatic introducing Sandra, our protagonist, as she arrives at the first stop on her journey to woke-ness.