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Very nicely done! Smooth animation, clean lighting, great score. I can't think of anything I don't like about it!
DISCLAIMER: My reviews are detailed and hypercritical. 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 make a film.
Your animation is smooth and natural. Your shots illustrative, and eye-catching. Clever transitions forming an appealing montage. The lighting is a bit static, and could have been more dramatic or dynamic based on the tone you were trying to set, but I also understand that your lighting was mimicking the environment that you animate in. But wait, don't we animate in the dark with only light being cast on the set? That could've created opportunity for more dramatic shots. So, where does the theme come in? It's a bit sketchy and open to interpretation in that respect. Your set was filled with things, adding detail to the environment and making it more convincing.
Here are the two problems.
The writing. Starting with the good first! The most cleverly written line in your narration was: "The last time I moved a minifigure's arm was the last time the time restraint was twenty-four hours." The two lines following it are also quite good. After that it becomes a bit cliché, ESPECIALLY the last line in the film. Clichés are the death of poetic observation. When writing Creative Non-Fiction like this, it's best to rely on personal feelings to guide the writing, rather than recognizable tropes. A statement that is true for you personally will speak more to how others feel, than a known collective understanding. Why? Because it comes from the heart rather than the mind.
The audio choices. You chose a "inspirational" guitar solo song, and you added reverb to your narration to create a feeling of magnitude. The tone in your words was forceful implying a call to action. These are the same techniques that sales specialists will use in presentations to get people to buy into their idea or product. It felt less like a novel perspective on THAC and more like a poorly written TED talk that only wants to sell books. It came across (to me at least) as disingenuous and trite.
I want to note that I called them audio CHOICES. There are no good or bad choices in creativity, only strong and weak choices (That's what my acting professor always said).
The combination of cliché lines and cheesy soundtrack, with a lack of dramatic lighting held your film back from achieving a higher level of quality. The ambiguous use of the theme "An Unlikely Alliance" would have also kept you from breaching the top 3.
IT IS A GOOD BRICKFILM. Make no mistake. I may have sounded severe and harsh up above, but truly this was well animated and built and visualized. There were just a handful of weak choices that worked together to create a hole in what would otherwise be a magnificent brickfilm.
Amazing. Real, thoughtful, honest criticism from someone who knows what they're doing.
I can't just respond with excuses because excuses don't improve creativity, but I will anyway.
In all honesty, I misinterpreted the theme, which personally I find amusing. I looked at it once, thinking "alliance" and the word "pair" or "match" could be used synonymously. So then the rest of the competition I forgot it was "an unlikely alliance" rather than "an unlikely pair." Even so, the theme interpretation would have been pretty far-fetched.
Lighting was an element I didn't take the time to really think about, and yes it probably could have been more accurate.
The problems in both the writing and "choices" in audio can be linked to a conflict in my initial vision for the theme. Originally I wrote it to be a simple inspirational speech, but after some time I thought I could spice it up with some sort of rhythmic poetry. And at the end of this rewrite, I still had troubles coming up with a strong concluding thought. Maybe if I moved on to VA I might come up with a better like.
But oh wait, my ameteur voice acting, if you can even call it voice acting, didn't help. From the start, even during recording, I couldn't find the tone of voice I was looking for. So let's just change the style again and add some audio processing to disguise the terrible VA. That didn't help either. Ah well, screw it, it is what it is.
So the bottom line is my initial vision for this project was much, much better than the end product, and I was never able to get it right, not that saying such really helps.
With your explanation of production difficulties I can see how things ended up the way they are in the final film. THAC is an intense tight process, and delivering high quality work in such a short time doesn't leave a lot of room to second guess yourself. But it IS good that you were aware you were having problems mid-production. It means had there been more than 24 hours, you could have stopped, reanalyzed your work, and fixed what wasn't working the way you envisioned it. It's when we DON'T realize we are having problems and we go ahead with producing work out of our own ignorance, work which could be better, that we have real issues. So, props to you for knowing you're having struggles midway through.
I want to re-emphasize that last paragraph I wrote. Don't be too hard on yourself. You showed some really nice work in this. Your thoughtfulness showed in camera angles, and the slice-of-life montage was refreshing. I look forward to seeing your next film.
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