VIDEOS: End-Of-Schoolyear Animations From Our Intern
Our intern this year, Bryan Charles, of Highline School District’s innovative Big Picture High School, has completed his magnum opus animations of his original series “3 Frog. Bros.,” which we proudly present to you below.
If you know anything about animation, you know that it’s a long, laborious process. Now imagine you’re a 14-year old kid. You’ve learned Flash. You are a computer expert. You can draw and paint. You have a bunch of silly ideas and you want to make an animation.
Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself in to?
To understand, here’s some info directly from our Intern ArtistÃ© himself on how he does what he does:
Welcome! Welcome all to my wonderful, fabulous, candylicious, fat free, vacuum packed, deep fried, doctor approved, supercalifragilistic article on how I make my little cartoons!
Sometimes people tell me â€œGee Whiz Bryan, how do you make such silly cartoons?â€ and of course I say â€œMind your own business and let me finish my lunch!â€ and the person might be taken a little bit aback, and I say â€œLook guy, I’m sorry I snapped at you like that, maybe one day I’ll write about how I do itâ€ and they say â€œCool, but you’re kind of a jerkâ€ and they walk off in a huff. So here is what I previously mentioned, I have written about how I animate and every single bit of hard work I have to go through to produce one of those cartoons that gets such low ratings.
Every cartoon starts off in an idea, and what I’ve learned from John K (The creator of Ren & Stimpy) is that a good story can come from putting your characters in any situation and seeing how they react. I’ve learned that this expands the character’s personality and vocabulary and makes them a little more relatable. So what I did with the Frog Bros is I gave it a basic outline, and the outline starts off an episode and I can finish it off however I want. Like for example: Green Frog has an addictive personality, and due to that, he can get obsessed over anything I want him to, so for starters, the mushroom. My very first cartoon was mildly inappropriate because it involved a hallucinogenic mushroom, and actually I got the idea from health class, it was something I knew nothing about so I got to have fun with it because there were no limitations to what a drug could do in a cartoon if nobody knows what it’s really capable of, you know what I mean? The teacher mentioned it once.. just once, so we didn’t know much about it, and due to that I could have the mushroom make Green do anything because nobody knew what it could do in real life at my school, I was almost abusing ignorance with that mushroom cartoon, when I started though I knew I had to keep going, I knew that it would be a small series, it would end up doing something, so I thought up two things. More episodes, and a half hour movie, the movie was a sad story, It grew from a 10 minute movie to a 20 minute movie to a half hour to 45 minutes to 100 minutes, and then I canceled it, a sad story but I did it, I almost put a contract out on it like in the gangster movies, but I still have my trailers up on Youtube if anybody is interested. After episode 1, I knew I kind of limited myself to some things, I learned that anything in episode 1 was pretty much concreted into the series, so Green became obsessed more, Yellow liked to take advantage once in awhile, and Purple was always kind of grumpy.
So episode 2 was just a rehash of episode 1 to a degree, it was the same kind of plot, but it followed my format, and I tried doing this for episode 3 as well, so I had this established set of characters and I needed a place to go, so I made episode 4 which took on some actual subjects like video games, and episode 5 was out of the format too, so I knew that I had a format after awhile, but I just started ignoring it, so I lightly traced the format and now I mostly work on the characters.
Sorry to hold you up, the way I get story ideas is that I sit with friends and we discuss what could the frogs do in any situation, and I’ve come up with some good ones that animation can limit for me, and I’ve come up with some good ones that I’m capable of doing. Writing a script takes a day for the first draft, and a full week to revise.
After the script is done, I begin animation, I draw out the scene and layer it, whatever body part goes where, and then I record Green, then I have my friends record their characters, and then I mix the audio and it melts into a scene, I do all of the scenes at different times and in different orders, and then I merge them into the final product, it’s much easier than working from start to finish.
Typically, a bad episode has been managed in a week, but my newest has taken 5 months due to hard drive failures and casting difficulty, also animation isn’t easy, especially with Flash, that program was not designed for frogs, their heads are hard for flash to comprehend because they’re too curvy, and then I have to do several drawings, it bothered me up to the point where I figured out Google Sketchup, and I use Google Sketchup for 3D rendering cars and buildings, any time the Frog Bros’ house is seen in episode 4 and up, it’s done in 3d, but sometimes I update the design. 3D is also a cool feature because not many 14 year olds are capable of doing flash, let alone 3d modeling, sound mixing, and voice recording, I’ve been told by my teachers that I’m ahead, I’m doing things that some people might not do until their 40’s, so I’m doing an amazing job for a low brow show.
The show is a big jumbeled mess, I forget what I’ve drawn, and I might redraw something, and sometimes I mess up with timing, and one philosophy is that I try something new in every episode until I’ve mastered the software, and since episode 1, I’ve learned a whole lot of neato effects. The show is done at 640×360 resolution or sometimes 1280×720 if I want it to be sharp HD quality, and both those screen sizes are 16: 9 which is widescreen, I animate at 24 frames per second and an average show is about 10 minutes, therefore the show has about 14,400 Frames in an average episode. If I ever decide to finish the movie, It would be 100 minutes making it 144,000 frames, which kind of gives me a headache thinking about all that work.
Just to gloat off what I do, I have to say that doing this show has become a big nightmare, it’s stressful, its unproductive, it’s tiresome, it’s too much work for me to do at times, and I don’t get a lot of payoff, but if I want a career, I’m going to have to toughen up because I have 5 more episodes planned out and I only have one hand for drawing.
Thank you very much for reading about how I do my work, I worked hard writing this and I hope it was worth my time, I will be around the next time I have a new cartoon to show, so farewell!
– Bryan, writer, animator, actor, sound editor
And now, here are Bryan’s final three animations; enjoy:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfY3CNQx_vQ