And so after extensively researching how the New York Stock Exchange actually works we decided this narrative worked best, no so hard that people don’t understand what’s going on. But convincing enough that we understand it”s the trading floor.
Camera blocking is really not exciting. It was a really effort for all of us to actually get it done. But because it was hard, but because it was really boring. BUT here it is. It might not make much sense as it is… But it’s actually proved really useful in making a final storyboard. And I guess you have to do the boring stuff to get onto the fun stuff.
Plan for the weekend is to have all the images ready for an animatic!
Take a look at our Story Development which includes a CAMERA SCRIPT!
Another crucial section of the film is set inside The Cotton Club, which we have renamed ‘The Cootin’ Club’ (I hate puns.) so it was really important for us to understand what The Cotton Club was like in the 1920’s. Just to give a quick history of The Cotton Club…
Cotton Club was legendary nightspot in the Harlem district of New York City that for years featured prominent black entertainers who performed for white audiences. In 1922 the club was taken over by Owen Madden, a well-known Manhattan gangster. The club played Jazz and Swing music. The club was closed in 1925 for selling alcohol, but quickly re-opened. After prohibition, the club continued to feature some of America’s best musicians, and attracted New York’s celebrities and socialites. The Cotton Club’s best years were from 1922 to 1935. Following the Harlem riots of 1935, the establishment moved to West 48th Street, but the club never regained its earlier success and was closed in 1940. It remains a very iconic part of New York City.
One again it was really important to understand how The Cotton Club works and also what the interior looked like, as well as what kind of music would be playing. We wanted to really capture the energy of the club which meant the needed to be perfect.
We also want to include a dancing scene where Frank dances which Betty for the first time! And this really inspired us:
This is some music that inspires us when writing the scene where Betty and Frank are falling in love:
So for a section of the film there is a scene inside the New York Stock Exchange, and it’s unbelievable how much research has to go into a 1 minute section of film! We needed to learn about how the Stock Exchange works, and just as importantly, what the inside of the Stock Exchange looked in the 1920’s. Above are the photographs from the 20s which give a feel for the place. It was also important that we understood how the Stock Exchange actually worked, and these animations really explained how stocks and shares actually work.
Here are some shots from the videos:
The videos were very good for explaining how the Market works, and meant we were able to write a convincing narrative for the film!
Today we began to expand and develop our story further and add more detail into our timeline. Sections of our story were also rearranged to make room for new scenes in order to refine the structure. After we have finished this, we hope to begin ‘blocking’ – outlining the overall settings and marking out character actions and positioning. Following that, we can begin camera scripting and finish by finalising the storyboard in much more detail. So far, this is what has been accomplished in story development:
Scene 1: Opening sky
Scene 2: Limosine
Scene 3: Wall street
Scene 4: Subway
Scene 5: Cootin-Club
Scene 6: Happy bird
Scene 1: An early morning haze descends over a 1920s New York skyline. A line of hard working pigeons sit on an extended girder similar to the famous “workers at lunch” scene, enjoying their well earned lunch break. The pigeon sitting on the end chuckles slightly and slips forward off of his perch and falls, yet the others seemed unfazed by it. As expected, he ascends back up into his seat and continues eating with his associates. Down on the sidewalk, another more business orientated pigeon, Frank, walks briskly towards his limo waiting a few yards away. His chauffeur acknowledges him and smiles, removes his hat and opens the passenger door. Frank ignores him and steps inside. The chauffeur is visibly bitter about it.
Scene 2: Frank opens his briefcase and reviews his papers smugly. After shuffling for a few seconds he returns them to the case and sets them aside. His expression is concrete, and he looks forward as the limo pulls into his destination.
Scene 3: Upon arriving on Wall Street, Frank makes his way over to the Stock Market Exchange building, and confidently heads into the entrance. As routine, he raises his cards and bids for the stocks he desires, however when glances across the trading floor and at the stock charts, he is horrified to see that his assets have lost almost all their value. Disheartened, Frank exits the building a broken pigeon. He approaches his limo, but is astonished to witness it drive off in front of him. Awestruck, he strolls away from from the stock exchange and into the subway.
Scene 4: Frank hobbles down the damp stone steps and into the bleak lighting of the underground. Both the platform and tracks are littered with newspapers and stained with grime, and graffiti was scattered across the chipped brick walls. Frank approached the platform edge as the train pulled in, and got on hesitantly. His fellow commuters paid him no attention as he slouched down onto the tattered seats.
The final two scenes will be covered in the next production meeting, after which we will move on to our next task!
While Gabriella takes her sweet time working on the main characters, the rest of us have spent out time developing stock/background characters. To add some variety to them, we have given them various shapes and sizes for both genders and made them in different. Here are the preliminary designs based off of Gab’s original work:
Because we were so damn excited about the project, we jumped straight in to our first official group meet! We managed to cover an extremely pleasing amount of work and are well and truly prepared for the upcoming weeks.
First on the agenda was narrative – developing our storyline and character goals. This was our biggest obstacle and took quite some time, but little by little we pieced together our research and ideas to form a solid set of scenarios. These have been moulded into what we perceive as a workable narrative.
Character development came next, and with Gabriella providing an existing foundation with her designs we hurtled onwards. From our storyline, we are developing two main characters, Frank and Betty with their own back stories and goals, alongside 4 or 5 stock characters (with interchangeable clothing to increase the number further).
Following on, the settings were discussed while working from our storyboard and will be in development alongside the characters. We are producing initial designs which will be used in an animatic, and then will provide a basis to work from when we finalise them for the actual animation. These scenes take place all over parts of New York, including Central Park, Wall Street and the classic Cotton Club (all set in the 1920s).
Our final task was to set out a week by week plan for our project, and so far we have outlined the first 4 weeks (out of ~10) which will lead us up to starting the main animation.
Definitely a great start, we hope to keep up this level of optimism throughout the project!