Episode 1.12: Fighting for Guardianship

Nick chats with Melvin online because of his big problem, but while doing so puts aside his little sister Jenny.

Series: 
How to raise money online

Background

I’ve come so far along since the first episode of Enter Sumo. Back then I wasn’t focused in the story being told in each episode. Given that the episodes are around two minutes in length, the scenes should be very focused. They weren’t. Now I am making an effort for simple scenes.

In this episode the point is that Nick is preoccupied with his online chat instead of his sister’s need. To highlight this point I placed the camera behind Nick and never broke away from this shot. Compared with the first episode, set in the same setting, this episode did not cut through multiple camera shifts or random pauses. This episode has one camera shot with no random inactivity. There is a continual movement on the screen through either chat messages or by Jenny.

I have great pride in the scene of the stuffed animal hitting Nick’s head. Genius, I say! I originally just thought about having the stuffed animal hit Nick and have him look at Jenny. But I realized that the impact needed to be more apparent to the viewer. Given that the camera has not moved since the beginning of the episode, I needed to break this inactivity.

The unmoving camera angle represents Nick’s focus on his online chat with Melvin. As the camera angle illustrates through the episode, Nick may have a view of Jenny on the side of his eye but his focus is entirely on his laptop. Jenny physically and emotionally moves away from Nick and he does not notice. So Jenny throws her animal at his face in order to break his focus from the computer. And that is why I made the creative decision to shake up the camera angle as the stuffed animal bounced off from Nick’s head. Only then did Nick and the camera move to face Jenny. The sudden camera shake was built up by the unmoving camera angle up to this point.

I can understand how some may feel that not much was happening besides just text appearing on the screen for the majority of this episode but I did that for a reason. I hope this artistic decision made you feel focused on the online chat like Nick was and also alert to Jenny’s presence when the camera was shaken up. That is the takeaway I intended.

In Case You Missed It

This episode parallels the first episode in that the majority of the episode has no oral dialogue but consists of text communication. There is a big distinction, however, in the production of these two episodes. And that’s that the text of this episode was added at the end and not during the animation process. This saved a lot on time and made it easier to produce.

The animation of this Enter Sumo series is produced in the Blender 3-D program where I move the 3-D character models to the desired position. In the first episode I added the text in this 3-D program next to the characters. Not only that, I also added the chat conversations letter by letter.

Crazy!

No wonder it took me months to produce. I ended up with over 100 frames because I needed about 30 frames to animate one sentence being typed. After that experience I decided to take a short cut in this episode by not showing Nick typing each letter. I moved the camera angle away from the keyboard and only showed the chat sentence in its entirety once it is entered.

I added the text in the end once the animation was rendered (exported from Blender). So this was done in iMovie as an overlaying layer instead of in Blender. And with that I saved so much on time and energy. You may not have noticed it watching this episode but I hope you appreciate it once you know this fact.

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