Thursday, April 26, 2007

Think Big Picture

Think Big Picture

Think Big Picture

As a Producer, you need to think big picture, if you don't, you shouldn't be a Producer.

You need to see a birds-eye view of the episode, from story genesis, to design(characters, backgrounds and props),colors, storyboards, voice casting, retakes, ADR and editing. All of these elements make up a television program and must be done within the production time alotted(hopefully). Having a birds-eye view allows you to see every aspect of production in context. To make sure everything is consistant. If the script calls for an "albino moustache -twirler that speaks with a russian accent" to go up against your protagonist, you have to make sure that's hit when the character is designed and carried through to color and voice acting. Not an easy task when your working on 3-4 episodes at a time, all in different stages of production.

I have a story that illustrates my point very succinctly.

When I was Producing on the batman, I was in Ink and Paint with a director. He wanted to go all out on this effect shot, on the screen for maybe 15 seconds. He wanted it to be awesome, and I was on board. There would be many different colored models, multiple dx's and other layered effects. It ended up being a nightmare. I wasn't thinking big picture, I brought the camera in from the birds-eye view and tunnel visioned my focus onto one aspect of production.

I fell behind 3 episodes for a 15 second shot. You can't add time to one aspect of the show, without sacrificing it from somewhere else. While trying to catch up and get back on schedule, there was also a quality drop across the board to try to make up time. It was a painful lesson to learn, but it drove the point home to me.

Though I've given all of this a Producer-centric twist, everyone would benefit from thinking big picture. Here's some examples:

Writers: Figure out what the arc/theme of the season is. Keep the production limitations in mind for whatever medium you're writing for. In animation, write in locations that have already been visited to utilize reuse. This way you're not burdening other departments when it's their time.

Character Designers: Design characters with animation in mind. If you can't figure out how to draw the turnarounds, they sure aren't going to be able to animate it well overseas. Simplify the line work to essential lines only. Keep story in mind, diminish the "noise" in a shot, if it's about 2 characters having a moment, make sure the unimportant incidentals become part of the background, and aren't designed so strongly that they trump the stars or the point of the scene.

Storyboard Artists:A lot of times a board artist will go nuts on a scene and make it amazing. Sadly the scene wasn't intended to be a show stealer. It needed to fit into the beats of the show.

I understand that everyone wants to kick butt and do the sweetest job possible, but you have to do it in context to the big picture.

22 Comments:

Blogger Kane said...

Solid advice man!! Thanks!-T

8:03 AM

 
Blogger Brenton said...

Well put, sir. Well put.

10:57 AM

 
Blogger NOLLAN OBENA said...

You've SOLD OUT my friend!!! HaHaHa

12:37 PM

 
Blogger ANX said...

Seriously, it took me until I read three different books to realize just what you were saying with the Storyboarding rules. Glad you could put it into simpler words here.

Thanks Jeff.

11:22 PM

 
Blogger The Original "Funsaver" said...

thanks for the advice. appreciate Mr.Matsuda! -Nando

9:03 PM

 
Blogger Chad said...

Around August of last year, I tried out for Character designer on The Batman.

I gotta say, trying to nail your style and make turnarounds within only a couple of days notice was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was told I was 90% there and that my inking suffered heheheh....welll if I knew that was just as important for a tryout I wouldn't have slacked in that area.

I was told they needed someone that could hit the ground running. I even visited WBa not too long after that...i was so depressed after seeing that place.

Anyway do you have any more tips on making turn arounds?

www.chadtownsend.com

10:07 AM

 
Blogger PixelCreatures said...

Great advice, although I don't usually work on the animation field, it is interesting (and comforting as well) to know that some of the rules you mention also apply to advertising, package design and illustration.

Sometimes it's easy to get carried away with backgrounds, taking away the focus from the main characters.

Thanks for the taking the time to do this.

9:48 AM

 
Blogger Clinton said...

Hey Jeff, I found your blog surfing through other animator's blogs. I appreciate all the advice you can give to an aspiring animator like myself.

7:34 PM

 
Blogger jeff matsuda said...

I'm glad you guys are finding the tips useful, it helps me to solidify the thoughts by writing them down. I'll keep posting as i think of them.
Thanks for coming by and taking the time!

12:36 AM

 
Blogger redbolt1 said...

I really enjoy The Batman series, it's bar none the best animated series out there. Is there any chance in hades that you will ever have the time to put these great tips, along with maybe some drawing "how to" in some kind of published form? I have seen some great books and many more not-so-great, but your style is so different and perfect for this genre, that I would love to get some learnin' from you...

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Blogger Becky Lau said...

Dear Sith Lord Suda,

I'm glad to see you are giving out good advice in this competitive field. i get annoyed at ppl who like to keep their 'secrets' for fear of losing their advantage. b/c honestly, what goes around, comes around.

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Blogger Derek said...

Hey, Jeff. Just wanted to say hi. I just discovered your site. I used to manage the Mile High Comics store in Garden Grove, Ca. back in the early comic days. I've always been a big fan of your artwork. I think that's why Marlo gave me all his art pages that he inked of yours. Keep up the beautiful work.

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