Hello Portland Oregon! Hey everyone, it's been a bizarre and turbulent 6 months or so and it's about time we caught everyone up.
Shortly after our last update Werley and Bob were both fortunate enough to be hired at Shademaker Productions, a Disney owned stop motion animation studio helmed by Henry Selick, the director of Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. We were setting up shop in San Francisco at the same time as Shademaker, and our decision to remain in this delightful but outlandishly expensive city was based on our hopes of becoming employed at the studio. Thanks to all of you, we were able to fund our little production and use the subsequent work to get hired. While employed there we interacted and worked alongside an immensely talented group of industry professionals, many of whom we had been aware of and admired for years. We made some great friends and absorbed a ton of insight and information, the effects of which are already becoming clearly visible on the screen of our own film.
The experience was life altering and we wish it could have gone on, but unfortunately after several years of being in production Disney elected to drop the film, cut all funding to the studio, and of course laid off all the employees. It was extremely disappointing to say the least, but there have been some silver linings. In the wake of the shut down we've happily had the opportunity to work alongside animation and VFX legend Phil Tippett on his independent stop motion short Mad God. Phil achieved great notoriety for his animation, creature design, and effects work in the original Star Wars films before starting his own visual effects studio in the mid 80's that has prospered ever since. While the big studio experience was invaluable, the lessons learned while working directly with Phil on set, and watching him handle every aspect of production personally seem to translate to our own project more, and as a learning experience our time there has been equally appreciated. By the way Mad God was also funded on Kickstarter and you can check it out here if you like. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/madgod/phil-tippetts-mad-god?ref=live
Now some of you may be wondering that if we've been spending so much time on these other projects, who the hell's been making the movie you all paid for? The answer is us, but we've been doing it much more slowly. Particularly Bob who kept his restaurant job and was working seven days a week until October, when ironically enough said restaurant closed its doors the same weekend as Shademaker Productions. We've caught up a bit since then by completing the longest and possibly most difficult shot we've attempted so far, but we've got a lot more catching up to do. The last six months have been an amazing crash course for us, the type you can't get in any art school. We've made connections and procured resources that otherwise would have been unavailable, and will greatly enhance the quality of our film and it's potential for success once it's completed. We've improved significantly as animation artists and filmmakers, and now it's time to get nuts. We've decided to move to the Portland area where our cost of living will be significantly reduced and the quality of our circumstance will be significantly improved. We've had to work hard throughout this production at regular jobs so we could afford our tiny San Francisco apartment. Now for the first time we're going to have a separate home and studio space, and most importantly the opportunity to work exclusively on T.P. without distraction.(At least for as long as we can before the money runs out.) While the decision to leave the career opportunities of the bay area behind was difficult, particularly the chance to continue working alongside Phil, we think it's time to go all in on our own thing and get it done as soon as possible. So right now we're shut down as we pack everything up and prepare for our move, but in about a month we'll be set back up and running full steam ahead in our new work space.
Until then we're posting a "public safe" demo reel of experimental, cut, or test animation that will not be appearing in the film, but you may enjoy a gander at, as well as a couple new screen shots. We're also updating our blog with new process and behind the scenes photos which you can access at www.werleybobpictures.wordpress.com
As always we would like to conclude by thanking you all. We have high hopes for this film as well as for our professional careers, and any success we experience now and forever will always be because of your generosity and support.
Bob Blevins and Bradly Werley a.k.a WerleyBob Pictures
P.S. We've been contacted by some people who found us on Kickstarter after our deadline, but still wanted to donate to the project. In response we've set up a PayPal account and linked it to our blog homepage. So if you're discovering us for the first time and want to give us internet money like all the other cool kids, go to www.werleybobpictures.wordpress.com If you do, send us a message so we can appreciatively add you to the list of other awesome folks who are awaiting their Kickstarter rewards. You can see the reward options on our homepage.P.S.S. If you're already a backer please disregard the above post script. You've already earned our affection. ;)
Hola amigos y amigas! Once again we are overdue for an update and we apologize, but to quote True Grit, "Time just gets away from us." Surprise, surprise, we're still plugging away over here! We've completed some promising looking animation in the last few months, and as it should happen we have a little snippet to share with you.
So we recently pulled one of the larger
Werleybob boners to date. There was a shot that was included in the
original animatic, which we cut when we went through and trimmed the
film down. It was a gag we liked, but didn't feel progressed the story
or gave any new insight into our characters. However, we never actually
removed or annotated the storyboards currently adorning our walls to
remind us of those changes. When Bob sets up the camera for a shot, he
goes through the storyboards, and shoots any panel intended for that
angle that is ready to go. So he planned out the shot, gave poor Werley
the information he needed to sculpt nearly 20 individual mouth shapes,
and animated almost the entire thing before he remembered that the whole
gag had been cut. So after a very brief self-pity/shame spiral we
decided that the blunder gave us an opportunity to share some of our
animation, as it is not going to end up in the film anyway, and
therefore was not a complete waste of time. So here it is! Enjoy!
Also, please be advised that this shot is not entirely complete. It would still need sound effects,digital lighting correction, and paint effects before it could be edited into the film. Creases in the clay from the mouths being inserted and removed, and damaged paint in and around the eyes would all be painted out one frame at a time. Possibly by our newest conspirator Sophie Van Ronsele, who is being so kind as to donate her time and computer sorcery to the film.
We have a few additional videos as well. Werley took some footage that provides a bit of insight into his process in creating all the replacement mouths required for a single shot.
Bob took a video diary documenting the entire multiple day process of animating a shot, and is posting a segment which deals with planning a performance.
We threw some stills from the film up here as well, and again these may have metal pins or exposed bits of wire that either have been, or will be digitally painted out.
So that's about it! While we are constantly encountering pitfalls and obstacles we continue a slow but steady march forwards. Bob's leaving tomorrow to take a train with his brother and sister to New Orleans for Jazz fest. He's taking some animation books for the train, but other then that it's all about family, music, beer, and crawfish. In that order too probably. When he comes back he'll start the long awaited phase of production in which he animates talking rolls of toilet paper. Hallelujah.
Take it easy beloved friends, family, acquaintances, and well wishers,
We just wanted to check in and share what's been going on recently. We had an excellent recording session down in L.A. with veteran voice actor Bob Bergen, who is not only a superbly talented man, but literally one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Seriously, if he were any nicer I don't think I could trust him. He was kind enough to lend his bizarre, but amazing gift to our film, and we were blown out of the water by his abilities. The voices he created for our characters were fantastic, and he behaved every bit the professional he is the whole time. We've uploaded a clip from the video Bradly took during the session to give you guys some insight into how a Mack Daddy voice actor throws down, and also as a sneak peak into some of the dialogue from the film.
Since the session we've each enjoyed nice trips back home to spend quality time with friends and family over the holidays, but have returned to our work with a full head of steam. Bradly's been working hard on puppets and props, and I've been busy animating lip sync to our cool new voices. It's great to finally see these characters come alive and speak!
So that's it for now, but as always many thanks to you all for your continued support, and we'll post another update in a couple of months!
-Bob and Bradly
a.k.a. WerleyBob Pictures
P.S. We're putting out a call for people experienced with After Effects, or people experienced with Photoshop who are willing to learn some basic After Effects. There's a lot of digital painting and rig removal that needs to be done after the animation is shot, and it's taking a lot of time away from getting more stop motion done. So if ya'll know any bored nerds with an Adobe package...
Oh yeah. We need a sound designer too. So if you know one who doesn't care about trivial things like getting paid then you should send him/her our way. Adios!
Sorry it's been so long since we last posted an update, but an opportunity arose several months ago that we've been pursuing ever since, and we decided to hold off on further updates until we knew whether or not things would work out in our favor. However, today we're able to announce that after months of pestering and pleading with various representatives from the Screen Actors Guild, we have been cleared to contract the experienced and extremely talented voice actor Bob Bergen to provide the vocal performances for T.P.!
Bob has been a professional voice actor since he was eighteen, and his list of feature film and television credits for animation alone is staggering. He has been providing the voice for Porky Pig since 1990, but if you listen to his animation demo reel(The link to his site is below) you'll recognize several iconic characters including, but not limited to...
Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Marvin the Martian, Droopy Dog, Luke Skywalker, and more! Also, be sure to check out his resume and count how many of your favorite films he's worked on.
Aside from being very accomplished, Bob's also a super nice guy, and to say he's being generous with his time, talent, and expertise is an understatement. We're very grateful, and we're sure that his involvement is going to provide the last key ingredient that up until now our little production was lacking. We've reserved time in a state of the art recording studio that tailors specifically to voice actors, and we're traveling down to LA next week to take this thing to the next level!
So that's the big news, and again we apologize to everyone, especially those of you who have been writing us for updates. We just thought it would be more exciting to include this information in our next update, but had no notion of exactly how long the process was going to take. Things just seem to take a lot longer when you've hardly got any money and no one knows who you are. We think it was worth the wait though.
As far as the other areas of production are concerned we're making lovely progress. We've knocked out several puppets and completed a nice hunk of animation, and we're very happy with how everything's looking. We've had some invaluable assistance from a few fellow artists of course. Mike Barnett has been providing excellent illustrations and background art, Preston Stringer IV has been a tremendous help in applying the wonderful little details to our puppets, and Dorthy Thielsen is doing an excellent job as our miniature costume designer/fabricator. Bob's beautiful and obnoxiously talented sister Grace Blevins has been with us since day one, providing the awesome logo and type for WerleyBob Pictures, as well as helping us out with flyers and other promotional materials.
We've been working with a talented musician Justin Anderson also, and he's putting together some very promising tracks for us. You can check him out through the link below...
There is also a very powerful and famous piece of music that is essential to our storytelling, and we're very happy to say that we've been able to secure the rights to a beautiful recording for use in the film, which is another large weight off our shoulders.
So we're still plugging away over here. We must confess that things are taking longer then we suspected they would, but at the same time it's looking more and more like this film is going to be of a higher quality then we thought reasonable to expect when we posted our proposal on this fantastic website. It's a labor of love, but we're confident that as time goes on more help will come, and the pace of our production will snowball. Of course if it doesn't, ya'll are just gonna have to wait.
I'm posting some screen shots from the film, and we're updating the blog as well for anyone who wants more detailed information on what exactly is going on over here.
So questions and comments are always appreciated, and in the words of a certain pig we recently had the pleasure to leave a voicemail for... "That's All Folks!"
P.S. Seriously, we dialed a phone number and Porky Pig was on the other end encouraging us to Duh-du-bleh-duh-bleh-du-bleh-duh leave a message! How cool is that? Cheers!
pledged of $5,000 goal
seconds to go
Apr 14, 2011 - May 24, 2011 (40 days)
Pledge $1 or more
For this donation we will close our eyes and radiate our positive energy in your general direction for no less than five seconds. We're actually going to do it too.
Pledge $5 or more
We will mail you an original personalized and signed T.P. thank you card. It may seem like a crappy gift now, but when you're raking it in on E-bay off our world famous signatures you'll be happy you spent the five bucks.
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22 backers Limited (178 of 200 left)
We'll mail you the card. as well as a signed storyboard panel, and if we run out we'll draw you something nice don't worry about it.
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We throw in an I.O.U. for one DVD version of the completed film as soon as it's available. You know you want one.
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We throw in a pre-production package that includes the original script, photo copies of original designs, The shot list, and one original thumb nail drawing. Go on. Buy yourself some insight into our process.
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We add five sequential story boards instead of one, and we throw the character profiles into the pre-production package. The character profiles contain the basic life story of each character, and combined are almost equal in length to the script of the film. They're fun.
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We add ten sequential boards instead of five, one piece of original concept art, and we put your name in the "Special Thanks To" section of the film, because you're so special.
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We add an original prop or piece from one of the puppets or set and fifteen sequential boards. This is turning into a pretty nice package I would say.
Pledge $500 or more
We throw in an original puppet from the film, twenty-five sequential boards, and additional concept art. We must indeed be grateful to part with one of our precious puppets.
Pledge $1,000 or more
For this level of donation you will be credited as a producer at the end of the film. We will include the completed script of our next project, as well as scripts for other short films and works in progress. You will also receive a personalized special edition DVD package that includes a video homage to you personally. We would be happy to grovel before you, oh loaded one.
Pledge $2,000 or more
If you descend from the heavens and give us this amount of money you will become the Executive Producer of this project. We will include in your package the piece of artwork from the film we deem to be the most valuable, and we will construct a small shrine around a picture of you in our apartment. We will maintain it daily, and keep it surrounded by fresh flowers and scented candles.