This week of Animated Narratives looked at the idea of movement and how it influences a story. Dealing with ideas of how there can be movement through time and space, how it obscures or reveals, whose point of view is being shown, how elements move across shots and sequences, how elements move within the frame, and how can the motion connect ideas.
For this week I built upon the wiki premise: It slithered along the ground. Fortunately, it could not climb.
For me, the word slithered was instantly giving off these connotations of a snake creature, and the mood of the premise felt very much like a thriller. In the end I worked on an idea that sounded like an adult version of ‘The floor is lava.’
This slithering creature would have a slow dragging pace that meanders through the scene, and this could influence how the camera moves around.
To build on the thriller element and the focus on this thing slithering along the ground there could be an emphasis on never showing the ground. All camera angles would be looking up or would keep the horizon line off the bottom of the screen. The characters would be looking towards the ground trying to keep track of this thing, but the audience never sees the ground.
In this same sense, a big reveal would be to show the ground whether that is a confirmation of the monster or a tense reveal of nothing being there. Elements within the frame could also reveal themselves in a motion similar to a snake uncoiling. Things on the permitter of the frame moving first and slowly the motion works inwards towards the middle of the frame.
At first when thinking of this idea I had the camera low to the ground, following the point of view of this creature. Having the camera slither along the ground like a snake, hugging the floor. This would have to be considered, whether showing the point of view of the creature detracts from the thriller emotion of never showing the floor.
Moving across shots and sequences there could be this motif of a line, like the long body of a snake. Long elements could connect scenes, and have a sort of match cut mixed with a panning shot to move from one shot to another and have a long element in the same place between both shots and across the pan movement.
Continuing the idea of a snake coiling elements within frame could move from the perimeter to the centre. There could also be distortions to the space within the shot that prioritise this style over how physical space really works. If a camera was panning or rotation around a living room, the furniture in the living room would move at different speeds or at different times to give this unnatural parallax feel and to imitate the motion of a snakes body.
The slithering creature occupies the bottom of the scene and there would be an emphasis on motion happening in the bottom of the frame. So the top of the frame would generally be still.
This exercise has given me some thoughts on how I could rework my studio project. During the storyboarding phase there was a lot of editing to make sure that everything within the story focused on the main character. An important detail as the runtime had to remain around 2 minutes, so I couldn’t waste a moment showing another character. Looking through the project there are moments where the camera angle could be reworked to emphasise this focus on the main character. Moments where the camera could be moved to show things from the main character’s point of view. Making these changes will have an impact on which screen direction character’s are moving towards, and so there will be a flow on effect into the neighbouring shots. It is something I want to investigate further as the short is rather quick and busy for 2 minutes, so any trick I can use to direct the audience’s attention will be useful.