Topic: Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

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Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

Found at the bottom of the barrel...

Despite being busy during the THAC weekend (hence why this is not as good as it could have been), I was able to devote 14-15 hours of my time to THAC XV, and here's what I managed to come up with mini/bigsmile

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Re: Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

Good job.  I enjoyed it.

Re: Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

Thanks mini/smile

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Re: Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

DISCLAIMER: My reviews are detailed and in-depth. This was THAC. You only have 24 hours. It's not easy, and no THAC brickfilm is ever perfect. I know this when I write the detailed review. IF IT COULD BE PERFECT, what could have been added/changed/improved? When we think about all these details in retrospect, we are training ourselves to think about them the next time we sit down to make a film.

I feel this film deserved more attention than it got, but there's still some parts that didn't flow smoothly, and I think it mostly has to do with visual communication.

Here's what I THINK the plot was. Guy in a back alley hears a noise and spots what appears to be a "homeless robot". Cuts to a flashback of when the guy was younger, and he was protected from danger by a robot (possibly the same robot?). The point is, this guy isn't afraid of a robot. Instead he has a soft spot in his heart for them. Back to present. He looks to his left. Poster about dangerous robot army. He looks to his left again. Poster about dangerous robot revolution. He looks to his other left. Poster that says "Don't Trust Him, Robot wars". He looks left one more time (shot reusage much?). Poster about robots taking jobs from people, peels off the wall. The point? There's a lot of propaganda about robots as a menace to society. Instead, he offers help to this poor homeless robot. They begin walking away together, and suddenly out of nowhere (from the very direction he is facing towards) he gets clubbed by some good-for-nothing fellow. The robot is afraid and backs away. Good-for-nothing guy proceeds to beat the kind fellow to death in the alleyway, and the robot runs away. The robot has fled to some small place that could be his home... so he's not homeless? He looks afraid and timid. He hears someone coming and looks towards the door, cut to black. We hear a doorbell ring.

There's three ways I can make sense of these events.
Either the robot is genuinely afraid, the whole propaganda thing is a set-up, and in reality people are being clubbed to death by their own government, and at the end the government is at the robot's door.
OR. The robot is actually part of a criminal set-up, to lure unsuspecting people into being mugged, but the robot doesn't actually want to be a part of it. The doorbell at the end is the criminal coming back to get the robot.
OR. The guy and robot are seen together and immediately attacked because robots are considered a menace to society. After killing the kind fellow, they have tracked down the robot to kill it too.

The first two were my original interpretations. The third only came to me as I was writing this.

Why so many interpretations? Because the visual communication needed to be clearer. Most things are fairly clear right up to the two of them walking out of the alley together (except whether the kind fellow recognized the robot from his childhood, or if he's just kind to robots in general). From that point on plot points become murky, instead favoring shock value and visuals over story clarity. If my first interpretation of the story is correct, a better shot of the bad guy showing he is a police officer or some other government operative would have cleared that up. If my second theory was right and the robot was part of a gang that lured people in and mugged them, then there needed to be a shot or two of the relationship between the criminal and the robot. Like a "go sit in that alley an wait" line, or something that connected the robot to the bad guys. If it was my third interpretation, a moment of the robot and kind guy being spotted together (holding hands or something maybe as a voyeur shot?) would help sell that idea that people are watching and "helping robots is taboo".

I understand entirely if there were other plans and they fell through. It is THAC after all. Someone not sending recorded lines when you need them etc. It's a crazy and challenging event. Plus I saw that you weren't able to spend more than 15 hours on it, so what you have is definitely impressive for that amount of time!

I realize you wanted that shock value of the guy suddenly being clobbered. And it definitely came as a surprise, nice work on that! But the bad guy came from the front, so he should have seen him coming...

Setting all that interpretation stuff aside, your animation was nicely done, you had a neat interpretation of the theme, your lighting was appropriately moody and interesting, and your set really felt claustrophobic and oppressive... which is a good thing! Because your setting is definitely a dystopian future with dark dirty cities crammed together. I liked the lighting in the room where the robot went and hid. I also liked the doorbell ending, because it left you hanging. I don't usually like "open endings" but this one worked for me because the story isn't about what's going to happen to the robot, the story is about what IS and HAS happened. The ending is open in the same way that Inception had an open ending leaving the viewer wondering whether it was all a dream or if it did happen. The sound design was also very fitting to your material.

All-in-all I liked this film, and I hope more people see it, because it deserves the attention.

http://orig13.deviantart.net/3968/f/2017/197/d/c/faaf_logo_4_1_by_orignl_ninja_knight-dbglsld.png

Re: Lego Payback - THAC XV - Made in Under 24 Hours - (Original Edit)

Wow, thank you SO much for all of the feedback! It's not often that I get constructive criticism (usually it's people saying how much they enjoyed it, which I'm not going to complain about mini/lol ), so I really appreciate the amount of time that you have taken to tell me where to improve! Now, onto my response...

nswihart wrote:

Either the robot is genuinely afraid, the whole propaganda thing is a set-up, and in reality people are being clubbed to death by their own government, and at the end the government is at the robot's door.
OR. The robot is actually part of a criminal set-up, to lure unsuspecting people into being mugged, but the robot doesn't actually want to be a part of it. The doorbell at the end is the criminal coming back to get the robot.
OR. The guy and robot are seen together and immediately attacked because robots are considered a menace to society. After killing the kind fellow, they have tracked down the robot to kill it too.

Your third interpretation was actually the closest to what I had been thinking of at the time.

nswihart wrote:

Cuts to a flashback of when the guy was younger, and he was protected from danger by a robot (possibly the same robot?).

The robot in the flashback is indeed supposed to be the same robot as the homeless one.

nswihart wrote:

He looks left one more time (shot reusage much?).

In the bits which looked the same where he is constantly turning his head from the propaganda posters to the robot, I did take the time to animate them all individually, as opposed to copying and pasting the same shot over and over. However, I am aware that unfortunately without their being any difference in the action he is supposed to be making, it is hard to tell whether or not it is the same shot, as I will obviously be animating it in the same style. Perhaps in hindsight, I should have increased the speed of the head turn or something along those lines.

nswihart wrote:

the visual communication needed to be clearer.

The main issue I had with this THAC was having a story that would have really required more shots in order to make the story clearer, but I think that had I not been busy during THAC I probably could have done those shots. The problem with deciding to intentionally make this a silent film as far as having SFX and music but no dialogue was that it made it tricky to convey certain ideas. For example, the quick shot (which you may have missed because I accidentally made it too quick mini/shifty ) of the beaten man on the ground stretching out his arm to the robot was him essentially saying something like "Run, save yourself!". The home that the robot enters is supposed to be the home of the man he was with. What would have happened is that while the two were walking, the man would have told the robot where roughly his house was, what it looked like and what to do should they get caught together etc. This is one example of where realistically I needed more shots to make things clearer.

nswihart wrote:

If my first interpretation of the story is correct, a better shot of the bad guy showing he is a police officer or some other government operative would have cleared that up.

I did try to use what I thought looked like a government/official uniform, but I know that with it being fairly dark because of the time it was set at and the fact that the front of his body wasn't shown a lot meant that it may have been hard to tell, perhaps having another person wearing the exact same thing would have made things clearer.

nswihart wrote:

a moment of the robot and kind guy being spotted together (holding hands or something maybe as a voyeur shot?) would help sell that idea that people are watching and "helping robots is taboo".

That's a good idea that I probably should have included had I had more time mini/lol

nswihart wrote:

But the bad guy came from the front, so he should have seen him coming...

Yeahhhhh, that appears to be a major flaw on my part mini/tongue

nswihart wrote:

our lighting was appropriately moody and interesting, and your set really felt claustrophobic and oppressive... which is a good thing! Because your setting is definitely a dystopian future with dark dirty cities crammed together. I liked the lighting in the room where the robot went and hid.

I'm really happy that you liked the lighting and set design, it was something that I really tried to get right, and I myself thought that I had done a decent job at it. mini/smile

nswihart wrote:

I also liked the doorbell ending, because it left you hanging. I don't usually like "open endings" but this one worked for me because the story isn't about what's going to happen to the robot, the story is about what IS and HAS happened. The ending is open in the same way that Inception had an open ending leaving the viewer wondering whether it was all a dream or if it did happen. The sound design was also very fitting to your material.

It's great to know that this ending appealed to you, as this wasn't the original ending that I had had in mind. Originally, I was going to have the doorbell be the man, who wasn't killed by the police type person, and then either have him die in the arms of the robot or have the robot put him in bed and let him recover, where they would both live happily ever after. However, due to it being difficult to animate and time constraints, I had to go for a different approach that would be quicker to do, which essentially meant cutting out the last part and leaving it open-ended, like you said (hopefully knowing that doesn't negatively effect the way you see the film mini/tongue ). I tried to give the man some life still when he was being beaten to not make it seem like he was definitely killed, so there's a chance that he barely survived the attack. When I was making this I was thinking that the doorbell would either be the man (if he survived) or the police guy, but as you've said, it's open-ended, and I want to keep it that way mini/wink

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