Monday, July 2, 2007

Jason watches "Tebby Assassin"

Hey everybody, my soon-to-be brother-in-law (and "soon" means less than a month now) made a short stop-motion movie about a stuffed animal eco-avenger named "Tebby Assassin". You can see it here (link updated, Quicktime still required). It's obviously a first effort, but he's asked for constructive criticism, so here goes:

First, I like the idea, both of an eco-warrior and graphic violence with teddy bears. And with practice or help it could be something pretty cool. And Tebby and Moose Avenger look suitably crude and cute. Now on to the criticism.
  1. The opening narration is too long. For about a minute (about a third of your movie) you have nothing but a picture of the earth and your voice. Figure out how to say what you want to say faster, or find a different way to say it.
  2. When the stop-motion starts, it's pretty crude and amateur. But really, you could make the aesthetic work for you. I don't know if you're old enough to remember those film strips in school where the soundtrack beeped and you had to manually advance to the next frame, so you were really watching a series of photographs instead of a film. Well, it's about half-way between that and professional stop-motion. And the more I think about it, I'd laugh more if it were a filmstrip, because it'd make me imagine a teacher having to show this to her class.
  3. Get some friends to help do a few voices. Maybe I'm too close to the source so I know what it sounds like when you're making funny voices. But especially when the two jerks in the car are talking, I had trouble distinguishing which was which.
  4. When Tebby stabs them, is that supposed to be blood or shit coming out? If you're saying they're full of shit, cool, but make it more obvious. Tebby or someone could yell "Ooh, shit! That stinks!" or something. If it's just supposed to be blood, make it redder. But please tell me it's supposed to be shit.
  5. You introduce a villain at the end who wasn't in the rest of the movie and does nothing. Fine idea for a villain, but put him earlier in the movie and make him do something, or save him for the beginning of episode 2.
Okay, I think those are concrete and constructive points. I hope that helps.

Oh, and by the way, I don't want anyone else to get the idea that you can get free publicity here just by marrying my sister. Besides, I only have one eligible sister left.


baceman007 said...

Thanks Jason, I appreciate the commentary. This was my first experience with stop motion ever. Well doing it myself anyway. I need to take at least 4 times as many shots. I'd be happy to have other people help with the voice but when you go down the political road, like I have, many people loose their backbone and shy away. I'm surprised that you had no commentary on the music.... At any rate at least it's more than just an idea I had for a couple of years now. I learned a lot from making it and the next episode should be a lot better. Again thanks for the commentary.

Erk Schmerk said...

Well, I'm still pissed that I had to install QT to see this. I mean, really. QuickTime? If that's not proof that Apple is evil, I don't know what is.

Variety, my friend! Competition is your friend. None of this single-source crap like MS would pull!

Although QT can be way-cool for those high-end panos.

OK, since you asked for it, I'd like to say:
* I like Jason's take. Make them bleed poo.
* Definately too much talking in the intro scene.
* Tebby needs a new voice. That high, squeaky voice is hard to understand.
* Tone down the politics.

Not that the points are bad, but the confrontational nature won't win you fans. Think like this: the lefty hippie wackos who agree with your main points won't agree with murder. The neocon righty fascist warmongers will love the murder but hate the message.

I say, kill 'em all!

Man, it really left me thinking of Billy Joel's Angry Young Man

baceman007 said...

Eric, what the hell are you talking about? Microsoft pulls the proprietary stuff all of the time. Especially with Exchange server, Access DB's, their code, need I go on. Apple provides XCode Tools free to it's development community instead of gouging them for Shitlosoft Studio like MS does. Also, quicktime player is free. You have to use flip 4 mac to run WMV's on Mac now since MS decided to drop their support for WMV on MAc. I'm not trying to be rude, but come on man.... You can't fault Apple if you use MS. Especially if you use MS. If you run a whole GNU/Linux household then you might be on to something.

baceman007 said...

Anyway, Eric thanks for the commentary on my episode :). I think you're right about hippies and neocons. Please also keep in mind that this was an introductory episode and sets the stage for more episodes.

Erk Schmerk said...

Whaddaya mean "what the hell am I talking about" on the QT front? My exact point was that you were using a proprietary format & expecting everyone to be able to handle watching it.

I mean, you're acting like Microsoft. No bitching about MS's behavior if you're going to act just like them.

And seriously, QT? It has a giant host of security flaws, crashes often (yes, on Mac, at least with OSX 3&4 last time I could stomach it), on windows it insinuates itself into the run-time processes & "talks back" to apple.

No, the point was that you chose a format that only really works semi-decently for Mac users and causes pain for all others. Thank god for VLC.

(for the record, I do actually like QT for some things - like QTVR. But as I understand it, I really only like one of its codecs).

puppymeat said...

Whoa ha ha ha haaaa!! I'm not getting into the Apple/MS debate. I do want to chime in about the politics comments, though. Honestly, I was hoping for something even more offensive that bites harder. Maybe that's just me. But I do live in the bleeding heart of liberal-land, and I'm pretty confident telling you that nowadays, they fantasize about killing as much as the average red-blooded 'mericun.

I think using stuffed animals allows you to get away with obviously satirical fantasies more than if you used a different medium, so I say go for it. And as a movie fan, I'd rather see you indulge your fantasies rather than curtail them to try to appeal to a certain audience. Honestly, the moment you went with teddy bears you gave up changing minds and are really doing this to appeal to your own fantasies...and I love watching that.

So let Erk be the angel on one shoulder, but let me be the devil on the other shoulder screaming "full steam ahead!"

Erk Schmerk said...

Heh, I wasn't actually trying to start an Apple vs. MS debate, ironically. They're businesses & they do what businesses do. No, I guess I was really saying "if your audience (even for testing) uses PCs, don't force a non-pc standard on 'em." Or, give them an alternative (i.e., link to VLC with an explanation).

Just like, if I were doing video for a bunch of mac users, I shouldn't release it in WMV. Even if they can download VLC for free and not pay anyone for the honor of watching a WMV.

I mean really, that's just rude.

Oh, and I disagree about teddy bears being a poor medium for convincing people with a different viewpoint. Setting that different viewpoint as a strawman and murdering him until poo comes out of his throat? Yeah, that might fail to convince.

But it's good entertainment!

baceman007 said...

So I've finally started making this page look better and moved the Tebby Assassin movie. Since your blog gets more hits than my movie :( I thought I should post an update. It's still the same movie though.
Tebby Assassin