Thank you everyone! It means a lot to me! I'm happy to be "officially" back. This film took a long time to complete, but I think it was absolutely worth it.
Also liked the 'hearts/in love' animation.
We need more of that Looney Tunes animation style.
I've begun to really like the feel of more bouncy, cartoony animation in brickfilms. The animation and visual style of The LEGO Movie definitely was an influence. I do want to explore more cartoony animation in the future.
I can't imagine having to build such an intricate set to have appear for a few seconds.
I believe there are 34 different sets featured in this film, appearing over an average of 5 seconds each. I'm glad I did it for this film, but it's not something I want to do again. It was a little disheartening during the editing process to realize my film was not even going to hit the 3 minute mark when I had worked for months on dozens of sets. However, I think the effect I was looking for was achieved, and overall I am satisfied. I doubt I will ever approach such an extreme number-of-sets to seconds-in-film ratio again.
I certainly wasn't expecting it to be that fast paced, but your set direction really makes a lot of sense now.
Neither did I! Each montage shot actually contained about 5 seconds of raw animation, but during editing I realized the pace had to be lightning quick, so almost everything was cut down to about 2 seconds. Most shots didn't suffer from these cuts, but it did pain me to trim down three shots in particular: the break-up in the restaurant (Alex's ex actually throws the ring at him before exiting, leaving the ring spinning on the ground), the rats in the kitchen (what you see is just the core of the animation, originally there is more animation before and after Alex swings the broom), and the gym (there is a funny background event that is mostly obscured in the final cut).
So, like Sean said, does this mean we will see a comeback with Alex and Derrick?
Yep! I have two Alex and Derrick scripts already scripted! One is a direct follow-up to Five Years Later and is relatively short, and the other is a longer, more complex film that will probably be slightly longer that Five Years Later. However, I want to make a few films that aren't Alex and Derrick first.
what do you think of animating minifigs on a smooth surface? I see you didn't include any difficult movements and walk-cycles when working with sets with smooth floors, but still- do you think something like that would be too difficult? I've been contemplating whether it would be worth it for quite a while now.
Animating on a smooth surface does present more challenges, but I do like the freedom of movement provided. Plus, I generally prefer the look of tiled floors now for my brickfilms. I feel studs present a very textured look better suited for natural terrain (grass, sand, etc), while tiles better fit the look of wooden floors, carpet, concrete, etc. I haven't animated a true, extensive walk cycle on tiles yet, though, so I may be regretting this aesthetic choice later. But, it is a new challenge to conquer!
As for animation, it's a MAJOR improvement from your late-THAC film, however there still are one or two minor bumps in the road - all of which, are an improvement from your first film. But, these few little moments don't effect the film in any way.
Five Years Later was animated both before and after The Meek and the Bold, and I do think it shows. Some animation is a little weak, but I did get a lot of my mojo back while animating The Meek and the Bold, and I can see the animation improvements. Five Years Later was not shot chronologically, but the beginning shot with Alex and Derrick's old apartment was the first shot I animated, and the ending shot with the guitar was the last shot animated, so it is an interesting comparison. My goal for each film I make I make an improvement or challenge myself in some way.
I can honestly say that when I first saw the apartment change, I was scared. But then, I took a really good look at it and saw that, in the end, it was really a great decision. In some of your first films, especially your old Alex and Derrick sets, things looked a little cheesy, but, back then, it worked. However, now, the sets were awesome, and the animation only makes the movie that much better. I love it!
Changing the look of the apartment set was very important to me, and one of the biggest things I worried about. It was both practical and symbolic. After many years, the old apartment design just didn't fit my aesthetic, especially the gaudy, bright red walls. I knew it needed an update, and the time skip in Five Years Later is exactly what I needed. The change was also important to emphasize that over five years, things DO change. Designing the new apartment took a considerable amount of time, because not only did it have to live up to my (unreasonably high) standards of set design, but it had to be suitable for animating a variety of Alex and Derrick stories that might not even be written yet.
I chose tan as the main color because it is mellow, subdued and warm. A dark tan tiled floor complimented the walls and didn't stand out. To emphasize the newer, modern look, I replaced the old upward lamps with a new modern-looking lamp at the left of the door. I also removed Derrick's misprinted Charizard card and case. I'm sure it's still around, it just doesn't have a place in the living room.
I was loath to replace the classic green couch, but it had two significant problems. First, the seating area was only four studs wide, which really only sat one minifigure comfortably because of their bulky arms (though I could get around this awkwardly and shove two characters in there, as seen in Slapstick). Second, when seated, a minifigure towered over minifigures who stood near the couch, since the seating area of the couch was four plates high. This made the composition of shots awkward. So for the new couch, I cut the seating height in half, and widened the couch. It can now sit two figures comfortably, with no bumping elbows.
Instead of a small table to the side of the couch, I placed a coffee table in front of the couch. Under the table I placed a rug, both to secure the table and to sneak in some studs that minifigures could attach to when standing. I chose shades of blue for the rug to compliment the warm walls. The back wall was looking bare so I added some blocky modern art.
In the old apartment, the computer was located against the left wall, and the kitchen was open on the right wall. I replaced the computer with some shelves, telephone and boombox. The computer, if it needs to show up in future films, will probably be wherever Derrick’s Charizard card is. I hid the kitchen behind a new door so I wouldn’t have to worry about avoiding shooting the right wall. Previously the kitchen was only built for Material Possessions, and all other films set in Alex and Derrick’s apartment avoided looking at that wall.
My biggest problem was the doors. Surprisingly, LEGO makes very few solid doors, instead opting for door designs that have windows in them. This didn’t work for me, but timing turned out to be on my side. Just as I was starting to face my door dilemma, the Simpsons LEGO house was announced, and it had just the doors I needed. When the house was released a month later, I snatched up some doors on Bricklink.
Whew, I went into a lot more depth that I expected there.
So I assume this isn't continuous to Derrekking Ball, right?
Chronologically, Derricking Ball takes place after Five Years Later.
Willow Tree wrote:
the one aspect of the short that surprised me the most was the almost seem-less voice acting for Alex and Derrick compared to five years ago.
I was also surprised I was able to get the voices down almost immediately. Derrick is harder, of course, but if I have a line I can lapse into his voice pretty easily now. One interesting thing about Derrick’s voice is I have difficulty maintaining his voice if his dialog is longer than a few sentences. As a result, his dialog usually has to be more snippy than Alex’s.
II usually do films with only a few sets that can be filmed for a great many angles, but this makes me want to use more one-shot sets.
Conversely, seeing your set-design and animation methods makes me want to try my hand at building a single set or two and animating on it from many different angles. I think I need a better studio set up for that to work, though.
Also, that is the best Lego Minecraft sequence I have ever seen. Perhaps you could remake all the Pixelated Pickaxe episodes in Lego?
Oh nooo. That won’t be happening! But I am very happy with how the Minecraft sequence came out. Of all four of the video game sequences, I think the Minecraft sequence best captures the feel of the game.
Great movie, I recognized some of the sets as far back as the Contrast contest, was this the movie originally meant for it?
Five Years Later was written months before the Contrast contest, but when Contrast was announced I did consider attempting to enter with Five Years Later. Of course, that didn’t happen because of how long it took to complete.
So... is this autobiographical?
Almost completely, including a few things that might surprise you guys. Both Alex and Derrick reflect different parts of my personality, life experience, and interests. I did embellish Alex’s story a bit for humor’s sake, but even some of the more unusual events in his life are taken from my life.
Hope I covered all of the questions! Let me know if you want to know anything else!