Monday, March 26, 2018

Bad Filmmaking 101: The Big Catch

Here's another short animation you can learn from. Please watch it first and see the review below...

Here's a film in CG animation, with a simple story, with good character design and fairly well animated. However, there are several staging and editing problems. 

The fisherman character is a large, overweight American looking guy who sets up to fish at the end of a dock. Behind the fisherman, sits a seagull who spots an approaching shark. 
 
The shark immediately hops up onto the dock and we see the Shark's POV through its vision, the large fat man at the end of the dock. 
Without any thought, the Shark starts dragging itself along the dock towards the man. I don't know how many of you have ever been on a dock or have studied sharks, but sharks are pretty smart and wooden docks are full of splinters, just saying.

The shark is sneaking up on his prey, until he spots a seagull shaking its head. The bird points with its beak to screen right. We dissolve to a few fish that are playing in the water and then dissolve back to the same shot of the bird looking back at the shark, shakes its head and then flies away. This whole sequence was a little hard to understand, but I think the bird was showing the shark this fish? The dissolves were also distracting.


Cut to bird flying over to land on a harpoon looking thing where it joins another bird and they begin to argue with one another. The shark is watching all of this from behind.

Is this important? Not really. Just to reveal that this harpoon thing exists and will be used later. The shark sees the birds and then focuses on the man again in the distance. The shark is now thinking of what to do; get the birds who are closer or the fat guy that is far away. He shakes his head and decides to go for the fat man.


Seems like days have gone by since we last saw the fat guy wearing headphones waiting for a fish. But now, he is being bothered by a fly. And now, we start cutting to the shark's approach and the man been bugged by the fly. Back and forth, switching camera sides as the shark approaches the shark to see the fat guy sitting on a can. The filmmakers could have added a "Butt Crack" joke here, but instead focused on a more complicated set up to a harpoon joke.
The shark is right behind its victim, he smiles and we dissolve back to the arguing seagulls on the harpoon thing. All this business could be told as the shark was getting to the man. Maybe it would even be too much cutting from the birds, to shark to man to birds, but now, we have a long wait to see if the shark eats the fat guy on the dock.

Back to those arguing seagulls, who manage to turn on the harpoon device. On my first viewing I didn't realize it was a harpoon, I thought the seagulls were sitting on top of a pole on the dock.
But, first they argue, then a slap, then a karate kid moment which goes on way too long... Hey Mr. Shark, eat that fat guy and get out of this film! 

But no, more karate slaps send the other bird to land on a plunger that starts up the machine. The harpoon flips both birds off it. As flashing lights and noise loud enough to alert the shark, the harpoon sets up and we dissolve to see the shark's tale sitting in a clamp. Cut to another angle of the clamp turning on and clamping onto the shark's tale. 

We cut the Shark with its mouth open wide getting closer to the man's head. The man has no idea what is going on, hence the headphones. The shark stops, cut to Shark turning around to react to, not the clamp on his tale, but the harpoon shooting into the sky. Cut back to shark looking the opposite way. A bunch of screen direction problems here.

Shark tries the free himself from the clamp on his tale, but he spots, the rope running out, not his POV. Then a great wild animation take of the Shark's reaction. 
Shark turns to man on the dock, trying to grab him, but is yanked out of the scene. 

Cartoon logic; a harpoon speeding away from Earth suddenly has enough force to pull a 1,500 - 2,400 lbs great white shark into the air?

We pan away from the screaming shark in the sky to see a large ship in the distance. The man sees it too and comes to life again by doing his own animated take. Cut to the ship and a tiny blob headed for the front of the ship. We know exactly where its going to land by seeing the bow of boat from above, then we cut to the shark coming towards us, landing with a cartoon bang effect which goes to black.
One more joke for the big ending, the payoff. Fade up to close up of man looking around and then at the distant ship.
Cut to a full shot of the whole ship as a familiar music score begins. We dissolve to a truck in shot to see the ship and a parody of the famous Titanic shot. But instead of two lovers at the bow, we see a distorted looking shark blinking at us as it goes by.

The pacing was off in this film, unlike to snappy end title sequence. If you have any comments or learning anything new from this post, please let us know.

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Check out the first Bad Filmmaking 101

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