The soundtrack is available from:
My final graduation film for BA (Hons) Film Arts, and the culmination of my four years at Plymouth College of Art. While I'm still developing with animation (as the rather lackluster animation on display here demonstrates), my skills as an animator and director, I feel, are fully shown off here. I've gotten multiple people actually come up to me and compliment me on it, something that has never happened to this extent before.
And to think that this was something of an eleventh hour job, that's quite surprising.
Throughout my last year on the course I struggled with finding an idea that was 'worthy' of being my graduation film. Ideas for a sequel/remake of When Worlds Unite (vimeo.com/29915750), finally making the scrapped idea for a 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' style film that got dropped from the Consolidation project last year, a proper, fully-animated film centering around the background characters in an 80s sci-fi B-movie (the setting and style of which was reused in Orange Blues), and an animated remake of the final project for my first FD year, The Night Shift (which was terrible and is now, thankfully, a lost film) were all considered and eventually dismissed for one reason or another.
So, I was about half way through the year and while some people were actually starting to shoot, I didn't even have a clue what I was going to make. So, I thought through what was easiest for me with my limitations:
- animation would be easier for me to make, since I'm terrible with shooting live-action and I wouldn't have a crew
- the limited animation I can do may not be able to do much, but it can just about pull off dialogue alright (as was proven when, despite no real prior experience with animation, the Consolidation Project vimeo.com/67346651 came out okay, [and the character from that short makes a brief cameo in this film])
- I have no actors, so the only voices I have access to are real-life people
With that combination, it hit me: make a Creature Comforts-style short with real-life interviews recontextualised through animation. It would mean actually working with other people instead of being locked away working on my own like usual, and was a solid idea I was actually interested in doing, which was something absent from the other ideas. So, with about a month left before the deadlines, I shot interviews with seven people. There were originally supposed to be nine, but one dropped out and another didn't respond to attempts to organise interview times. And to be honest? I thought I'd fudged them.
I remember going through the audio, attempting to assemble the sound portion of the film ready for a work-in-progress screening a day or so later, and thinking that I'd just have to make do with the fact that the final film would be ungodly boring. I accepted that fact, just put together whatever vaguely usable clips there were in some semblance of order... and something happened. To this day I'm not sure what, but somehow I magically made a silk purse out of a cow's ear. The film had energy, entertainment value, and some vague semblance of a point. I fully admit that last point was almost solely thanks to Billy, a student who left in the first FD year but volunteered to come in and be interviewed for the film. One of the film's best moments is with him discussing what it felt like to leave, and the film wouldn't have a climax without him.
It also helped that I didn't have to rely on cheap stock music either. Ned stepped in to do the music and no matter how many times I told him to go back and redo cues that didn't work, he always happily obliged, which meant he must have the patience of a saint if the amount of times I asked for changes to the cue that plays under the opening narration and quotes about the college.
One notable cut was the original intro; the plan was to have audio from a speech given by what is assumed to be the college's headmaster play over the opening space shots before going inside Orange Delta Station. However, in the end I cut it (even after hiring a voice actor to perform the line), because it was unnecessary and doing the required sound mixing to simulate the speaker talking to a large crowd would have taken too long.
And that was that. The animation process taught me that the software I currently use, while more newbie-friendly than most, may not be up to snuff with bigger projects. There's no functional way to copy animation models from one project to another, and there's no way to import animation files directly into Premiere, and that's a problem with bigger projects like this. Although the animation quality leaves a lot to be desired, and the pacing maybe flags in places, a lot of people think this is my best work, even the best work of the year group. I may not 100% agree with the latter, but I can agree with the former.
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