Creating Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs are very popular these days, especially on Twitter.  Well, I thought it was time to learn how to create these 1 second wonders.  Of course, one can go the "online" route where you upload the video, add the text and voila! The site returns your animated GIF.

Not a chance.  Never know what happens to the uploaded data after you finish.  After some research, found out Photoshop has a feature just for this!  Of course, like all Adobe products, it requires about a dozen steps and there's always a glaring omission  which creates the following situation:

I did not intend for the text to jump around.  Looks cool, and actually adds to the meme.  I found out later the text has to be added strictly above the last image layer (if you know PS).  If you run the timeline in PS and stop to reposition the text, that's the result. Makes sense from an animation standpoint with keyframes. Of course, the procedure doesn't mention that.

A happy mistake, nonetheless.

“Nothing short of a miracle…”

To quote Janet, my producing partner, after we completed filming last year.  For you see, she called me a week before production was to commence and inquired about our "film crew" I was responsible for coordinating. To which I responded, "We're it: you, me, and Judy."

Wrong thing to say to someone with 20 years production experience in Hollywood. Me?  20 years experience writing scripts.  I live in a fantasy world, and she let me know it...

Janet managed to recruit a sound recorder at the last moment - so here we were on the set with 3, yes just a 3 "man" crew - me, Janet, and Tony... And sometimes that was just me and Tony.

Fortunately, I practiced guerrilla filmmaking for 6 months prior with camera, sound, lighting and grips, so I was ready for that.

So, we filmed a feature film for 12 days, with 6 actors. We managed to pull it off, but I wouldn't recommend it.  We were overwhelmed daily and crossed the finish line beyond exhausted.

There was no time for rehearsals, dailies, and if we had just one more day of rain, we wouldn't have gotten all the shots.

But complete the film, we did.

Weeks later, still suffering from PTSD, Janet and I were discussing post production needs with Judy.  We reminisced about those insane 12 days.  After we looked at all the footage, Janet then made her comment, to which we're thinking would be a great book title if we ever write about our experiences regarding the making of Blood Pledge.


Aliens Abound!

When Matthew Ewald showed up the day before filming in North Carolina, he showed up quite prepared ~ His script had more notes than Judy and mine’s combined!

I was, to say the least, impressed. Matthew was quite focused on his character’s backstory, presumably to have the subtext to play a humanoid character.

Now, as the creator of his character, later modified by Judy to give “Thoreau” a character arc, we were more interested in his motivations and personality traits, we really didn’t give too much thought to backstory. (Although act 3 touches on his planet’s violent history)

So, here we were, a day before the shoot, and Matthew had all these questions, for which I had no answers. Despite that, the conversation was exhilarating – to hear an actor bring your character to life and discuss Thoreau as he understood him.

Which made me think about aliens in more depth that day. We discussed: would an alien, humanoid in design, have a planet similar to Earth? Would it have oceans, similar weather, a similar evolutionary pattern of life required that would lead to humanoid development? Would the family structure be the same or would it be more like our primate relatives, or be tribal? These were just a few of the questions and ideas we kicked around that day.

I didn’t know, but definitely looking forward to answering these questions in the sequel!