I watched this as soon as it was released. I enjoyed it thouroughly. I'll get the few criticisms out of the way up front:
Some of the dialogue animation was static. People speaking tend to idle around, so a few extra movements help establish the speaker and keep the viewer interested. Also, the audio levels weren't consistent. Mary Charles' character was clear, but I had trouble with hearing others clearly.
Other than that, I enjoyed everything about this. The only other issue I had was the transition after George finishes building the 3D printer. The next scene, with the monks assembling the book pages as they come out of the printer, looks like the same scene although several weeks have passed. Maybe dissolving to a little panning animation of the monks beginning at the oend of the room opposite the printer would be all that's needed. However, the transition to the airport scene was golden: beyond perfect. That flawless execution was perfect comedic timing. I genuinely laughed although I knew what was going to happen.
From beginning to end, the framing and lighting and photography of the shots was beautiful. The lighting really set the tone for everything. I love the design of the 3D printer model too. I also liked a few times when Lama was speaking and you used "practical" animation where it looked like he was being held and moved by hand while filmed at extreme close-up. It's a type of "analog" fluid motion that is very difficult to film frame-by-frame and adds a realistic warmth to an animation.
The scene where George and Charles were discussing what to do when they're done (I said this in a way to avoid spoilers) is well-done, where there's a daydream sequence at the beginning. Making a direct visual parallel to Charles putting himself back in the New York skyscraper and his standing on the cliff was a great idea. Your idea! Really dramatic and something I never would have thought of. Thsi is the second sci-fi story I've collaborated as the screenwriter, and to those who haven't done it, the animator always wants to make changes to the script for one or another reason. This is natural; it happens in Hollywood all the time. So the writer and the director discuss changes, and either they agree or disagree to changes, and where there's disagreement, a compromise is made. If I object strongly, it's not often but usually because I feel the change alters the author's original vision of the story I adapted. But usually changes are of this type, where the director adds insight or clarity or some other angle the writer missed, to a story. LegoStudiosP had some good suggestions to enhance the story, and this was probably the best one.
There's a joke in Mary Charles' line that viewers may be unaware of. In the airport scene, the flight number is #1953. "The nine Billion Names Of God" was first published in 1953. This is an adaptation of a story more than half a century old. The first computer was invented only six years prior, and of course, the technology presented int he original story, written in contemporary times, is archaic and anyone could print lists of names on their laptop. So, to update the story without changing its original vision, I decided to make the monks require specific materials to be fabricated to meet the requirements of their writing rituals. That would require them to enlist the help of someone more special than anyone with a printer. LegoStudiosP agreed this would be the best way to modernize the story while keeping it the classic story remembered by sci-fi fans.
And then there's the very ending of the story. When people read the last line, it's never forgotten. The only other Clarke ending that's so memorable is the last line of his short story, "The Star". He is known for trick or gimmicky endings. "History Lesson", among others, comes to mind, though its ending kind of makes the entire story a nerd joke rather than be thought-provoking as in "The Nine Billion Names Of God". There are two comic book adaptations of the original story by fans. One is in black and white and tried to look edgy but instead looks like a trite 1990s comic. The final frame in this version doesn't really convey the ending at all and is very static. A much better color comic, unrelated to the black and white one, has a very dynamic, fluid final frame, but still, the impact is absent. Your ending is much more powerful than both, and it the only one of the three dramatic enough to capture the ending of the story. It's all helped by the sudden synth music that catches the viewer off guard and amplifies the impact of the ending. With little music elsewhere in the story, the stark contrast indicates something big is about to happen.
It's appropriate that this film is released on 21 August, 2017, the day of the great North American Eclipse. People who watch the film can understand the significance of this statement.
You make excellent use of dramatic pauses in the ending and elsewhere in your film and other films. I notice that it's part of your animation style to do so.
So, other than having trouble hearing much of it clearly, partly because my laptop has a maximum volume that's quite low, and the minor issues that I needn't rehash, it's a great film which I had the pleasure of joining you in creating.
"The Nine Billion Names of God" is the second in the "Golden Sci Fi" brickfilm series. The first is Connor Waterbanks' (togFox's) "Mariana". If you wish to watch/ comment, the Mariana thread is here: http://bricksinmotion.com/forums/topic/21135/Mariana
The next film int he project is "Warm" by Robert Sheckley. I'm looking for an experienced animator fo this one, as it's abstract and presents some unique animation challenges. It's been greenlit, but it looks like the animator may not have the time for it. email me if you're interested. The screenplay can be read here: