Latest entry: Entry 32,
Friday August 12, 2005
1 - 3 (October 2002)
4 - 6 (October - December 2002)
7 - 9 (January - February 2003)
10 - 12 (March - April 2003)
13 - 15 (May - July 2003)
16 - 18 (October - December 2003)
19 - 21 (January - March 2004)
22 - 24 (April - May 2004)
25 - 27 (May - August 2004)
28 - 30 (September 2004 - February 2005)
31 - 32 (May - August 2005)
Entry 1. By David,
Tuesday October 1, 2002
I'm going to the National
Young Writers' Festival in Newcastle
tomorrow morning. The National Student Media Conference (a
gathering of university paper and radio types) and Electrofringe
(a bunch of musicians and "new media" artists) are
held concurrently with NYWF, so for one week each year, Newcastle
is overrun by a carnival of drunken playwrights, student journalists,
trance DJs, multimedia designers, comic geeks, zine grrls
and other miscellaneous nutbags. I suspect this is an improvement
to what the town usually is, which is a depressed-looking
place with a lot of pubs and empty storefronts. And only one
Since the NYWF will be the unofficial media launch for my
upcoming animated short, "Herman, The Legal Labrador"
(meaning: I'll be passing around a lot of photocopied "Herman"
media stuff), I thought this might be a prudent time to start
compiling a "production diary". My producer, Jeremy,
suggested I do something like this. He also suggested I put
up "behind-the-scenes" production videos on the
website, but I'm not sure how much anybody cares about shit
like that if the film is not a "Star Wars" or "Lord
Of The Rings" sequel.
Production, or rather, PRE-production, started in March 2002,
when I started writing the screenplay for "Herman".
months and four drafts later, I think it's in a basically
workable state. I've also been working on the storyboards
for the last few months, and I'm about halfway done at this
point. People seem to think what I've got is funny, and I
even saw Jeremy laugh at one or two storyboard cards, so I
must be doing something right. A lot of goodwill has been
generated simply by the title character, Herman. He's pretty
fucking cute, which was the idea when I designed him. What
I wasn't expecting was that over the past
few months, I've gotten very attached to the characters of
Herman and his owner Chuck, having slowly worked up a backstory
for them in my mind and on paper. As a result, I get excited
about working on the film every time I look at a picture of
Herman. His is a story that demands to be told.
The story begins in Chinatown, where a murder is committed
in a laneway and a kid called Danny Hoang is arrested for
it. He phones his lawyer, Herman, who is a small labrador
dog. In the universe of "Herman", nobody really
questions the fact that this dog is a respected criminal defense
The rest of the film concerns Herman's search for the truth
the killing, while at the same time dealing with his frustrated
owner, Chuck. Chuck is a not-very-gainfully employed slob
mid-twenties who spends most of his time watching TV, mourning
the loss of his last girlfriend and being torn up inside by
the fact that his best friend and roommate is so much more
successful than he is... and is also a dog. Throw in a shady
prosecutor, a hot dog vendor, a love interest for Chuck and
a bunch of stereotypically villainous villains and you have
fifteen minutes of comedy/action/legal drama/romance that
will blow the doors
off most animated stuff coming out of Australia today. I'm
say that now so that when the time comes to actually put the
work in I won't slack off: "Hmmm, I could probably leave
that hand motion as it is... or I could fix it and not look
like a fuck later on".
Other than writing the script and drawing the storyboards,
also been enticing friends to help me out with shit. Jeremy
Parker, my producer, was my lecturer last year when I was
studying at the Centre
for Animation & Interactive Media (AIM) at
RMIT. He acts as if he has no idea what a producer is supposed
to do, but of course his CV reveals that he's been producing
animated shorts (his own and for students) for at least ten
Jacob Zhivov is acting as Production Manager, which means
that he is supposed to deal with the financial matters that
may arise during production. What will actually happen is
that he will do some of the shit I don't feel like doing,
and I will usurp his role when something seriously important
needs doing and I don't want to leave it to others (this,
I predict, will be a running theme of the production). For
this he will receive a handsome salary. Or will he?
I have applied for a production grant from the Australian
Commission to pay for "Herman" to be
I could make "Herman" the same way I did my student
Party", which is to say I could do the vast majority
of the animating, editing, sound, publicity material and mail-outs
myself and not spend five hundred bucks the whole time, but
this time around I'd like the opportunity to hire (and pay)
a couple actors, and not have to blow all my money on tape
transfers, postage, printing, etc. That's why I'm asking the
AFC for twenty grand.
If I don't get the money, of course, "Herman" will
just like "Shit Party" -- all me, but with friends
helping out for
nothing bar the excitement of helping produce a cartoon (?),
and probably some kickbacks in alcoholic form. I'm careful,
in recruiting interesting and/or talented people, to let them
know that, as much as I wanna pay everybody, the likelihood
of receiving a grant is small, and for that reason they should
not expect any money. Saves disappointment and name-calling
later. And besides, everybody knows that I'm good for favours,
since I'm a mild-natured doormat.
With or without money, the quality of the film won't change
much. "Herman" will be a roller-coaster thrill ride
and tears, a rollicking good time, expertly crafted, with
gorgeous cinematography and deliciously dry wit.
Oh, sorry. Thought I was Louise
Keller for a second.
Entry 2. By David,
Monday October 14, 2002
Back from Newcastle last week. It was tiring. Didn't sleep
thanks to train station across the street, small curtains
letting light in and stuffy hotel room requiring open window,
thus eaten by mosquitoes. Of course it was good fun when the
panels and drinking were going on. Spread the gospel of Herman
to the good people of Young Alternative Australia. Sold some
comics, traded and gave away many others. I hoped to spend
the whole trip back to Melbourne reading the bagful of stuff
that talents like Ben
Hutchings and Glenn Smith gave me, but since our
last day there was pretty empty, I went through that stuff
like a knife
through flesh in the dead of winter.
Oh, and I sold some Herman
Over this last weekend I undertook the 24 Hour Comics Challenge
championed by Darren Close of OzComics.com
-- basically a nationwide attempt at the "24 Hour Comic"
originally proposed by
intelligent comics-man Scott
McCloud: complete a 24 page comic book in 24 hours.
Constant updates were posted on the OzComics messageboard
by the many people across Australia (and at least one overseas)
undertaking the Challenge. Some neat work appeared up there,
although I'm not sure anybody can actually claim to have succeeded.
I myself only managed to write and plot the thing -- a tale
of Herman, set several months before the events of the film.
I'm happy with what I got, though, and I was even happier
today when I figured out that it's a 22 page story, and
once drawn, will fill out a whole Herman comic book (along
with the obligatory "origins"
story -- you just HAVE to have one... it's a comic
book, after all). I may get another issue (or TWO!) of Nakedfella
Comics done before year's end!
But I should get the Herman storyboards done too...
And what about the website?
And the paid work I'm supposed to be doing?
Entry 3. By David,
Friday October 18, 2002
I thought I'd toss in a little basic information
as to how "Herman" will be produced. It began with
one script, revised many, many times. At
this point it's safe to assume the revisions will not end
until the film is made. Maybe.
Once the script was beaten into a tender, submissive
state, work began on the storyboard. The storyboard, although
I'm calling it that, is not a board, but rather a big pile
of little index cards. Each card is numbered. Each card features
a shot or action from the film, accompanied by any dialogue
that might occur at that point:
Once these are done, they will be digitally
scanned and arranged sequentially in an approximation of the
film's timing, and a rough dialogue and sound FX track will
be added. This will form the animatic. Once it's done, a QuickTime
version will go online right here.
After that, a team of magical animation pixies
will float in thru my window and animate the film with their
magic paint buckets while I sleep.
Herman, page 2 >>