Hello Everyone :)

I've been posting some random W.I.P. photos and little test videos over the past year or so, but I recently discovered there's a "your project" section here in the forum. So this is a thread for my ongoing project, "Will O' The Wisp". Hope you enjoy.

Here's a little background about how the project came to be:

Long story short - I was working on an indie film one winter, and I was hanging out in a trailer talking to the makeup Fx people and producer while we were waiting around for the next scene. I mentioned that I'd picked up stop-motion for the first time in a long while and wanted to attempt my first complete film, and that seemed to pique everyone's interest like I'd declared I bred Unicorns or something.

A couple months after principal photography wrapped, one thing lead to another, and the producer wanted to know if I'd do a stop-motion bumper for the production company. So for the last year (on and off because I still need to take other gigs when they pay well) I've been slowly and steadily learning and working on a pretty ambitious little solo project.

It was originally only supposed to be a short bumper that played at 6 seconds, 15, and 30. The 30 second version is intended to be a brief but coherent story that leads into the reveal of the company logo. The others are shorter segments that jump straight to the logo.

However... After I started storyboarding, I realized this simple idea was actually pretty complex to execute: large forest, running character, water, flying feathered character, a night scene with moody contrasting light... Quite a challenging todo list for a first attempt... and only a small kitchen to use as a studio space... So I turned to something familiar to help me visualize how I was going to do any of this in the space I had, and what my best options might be.


Neither of us (the producer or myself) knew this was going to progress the way it did or as well as it has so far (knock on wood!). The producer wasn't expecting much from me to begin with, and I wasn't 100% sure I could pull off what was needed. I knew I was pretty crafty, I'd built live-action sets and props, and had a background in 2d/3d animation, but I hadn't worked beyond pre-production in any capacity more than a general assistant or set decorator at the time. And I had zero camera and lighting experience as well. But I took my time to carefully see each step through from concept to storyboard to blueprints to animatics... The producer and I both learned as we went along, and quickly built a good rapport and a comfortable understanding that this was new territory for both of us.

Since then, however, this little animation has become such a large undertaking that we decided to push it a little further and make it it's own stand-alone film as well. Nothing too crazy, just a couple of minutes. But it will help give us something to show to festivals and boards to try to get funding for a longer stop-motion production we want to make. (Fairy tale story, elaborate and colorful settings, lots of "creature" characters. **geek out** it would be a lot of fun!)...

This site and the people here were a huge influence and help in learning what I needed to know to keep the ball rolling and put the missing pieces together in my head. Not just to execute one thing and forget about it, but developing core knowledge that I've used to learn more things and discover some of my own. This was definitely the best place I could have found to learn what I needed to learn about Stop-motion related skills, techniques, tools, and materials.

Now it's been almost a year. I'm close to finishing all the sets, puppets, and assets soon. I plan to shoot it in November, and wrap in early December. It's kind of bittersweet. It's been so long now, I don't know what I'll do with myself when it's over. hahaha

So... that's the general run-down. I have loads of progress pictures and video clips. I'm even working on a "making of" kind of thing (maybe... if the footage turns out alright). So, instead of just a huge spam bomb of media, I'll just start organizing some of this stuff and gradually post some things here in this thread, along with any new progress along the way to the finish line.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully you'll stay tuned for when it's finally finished. 

p.s. Click Here to check out some photo albums for the project.

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Really like the video, every thing looks so carefully thought. I'm interest in the idea of force perspective, But I thing I miss the hole idea of it, you work only witch different sizes to achieve that or there were others tricks?    

Thanks, Carolina. Yes, you've got it. That's basically all there is to it. Instead of building things as big as they need to be, you can "cheat" it by making them smaller the further away they are supposed to be.

Back online! (again)... I abruptly got pulled onto a feature film in the role of production designer, and that experience wore me pretty thin by the end of it, so I got the blessing of the wonderful young woman who is the producer/co-conspirator on this project to take a rest and recoup, so I did. Soon after, she had a baby! So we both sort of extended the hiatus indefinitely until we were both 100% ready to get back on the ball and see this through.

So I'm happy to say that we talked today, and we're moving forward again. :) We'll see how the year plays out, but she may actually be flying in from Dublin to see the set for the first time, and to help out so I'm not feeling like a lone madman in a tiny little forest. lol... We also hope to be at least finished with principal photography by the end of the year.

That's all for now, folks! I'll be getting back into the swing of things this week, and crunching numbers to estimate what else needs doing and how long it will take to do it. After that, we have another chat coming up, and I get my butt back in gear again. :D

Cheers! I hope everyone is still doing well. I apologize for completely disappearing for so long. I admit I was just a little heartbroken about the sudden halt on the project, and I couldn't justify using the supplies and materials for this project on anything else either, so I had to keep my mind occupied elsewhere. Hence, if you follow my social medias, I've been drawing my head off and making comics! Can't sit still for long. Have to make things!

But I'm back on this project until it's done now (as far as I can tell), and we have another really cool story-driven project that's been in the works that we are looking to develop after this as well. It's good to be back. :)

It's been a while, but all the speed bumps we've run into on this project are behind us now, and I also have permission to start posting again. So I'm starting up a video series about the making of "Will O' The Wisp". This intro video is sort of a bridge between my Making Comics video series and this project, but I do cover an overview of the topics I'll be covering. Should be interesting, and maybe helpful to some.

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