Why the time is now right to finance and produce both "SIR STAN" and "Spirit of the Game" - especially 'Spirit of the Game'. (As the movie will be launched just before the next World Cup when all thoughts will be on 'Team USA' and the greater expectations they will carry!)
This is proving a very exhausting week of teaching large summer classes for me right now. However, between it all - early in the mornings and late at night - Stan and ToonBoom Studio collaborated well to deliver this short but dynamic reaction shot for the film...
Ever wondered what will be said at your own funeral service? Sir Stan's ghost hears it all - but you'll have to wait for the film to be finished (or be a sponsors, with advanced private previews) to know what he hears at his! In the meantime, here's a (very unfinished) scene from the film where Stan is intrigued at what he hears…
Another incredible background layout from Peng Zhou by the way! :)
Two more beautiful layouts for 'SIR STAN' by emerging young talent Peng Zhou. (Someone needs to snap this guy up fast - but let him finish all my layouts first of course!) Thanks Peng! As ever, wonderful work! :)
Here is the first test-render of the opening three frames of 'SIR STAN'! The audio and picture frame image are placeholders only - and there are a few other fixes that I still need to make. But I hope you will agree with me that this is a promising start….
Note (especially for potential sponsors): This opening of the film is necessarily sad and slow - this is essential to the unfolding storyline. However feel rest assured that the rest of the film will be joyous, celebratory and, I really hope, incredibly inspiring! So please don't be too put off by the somewhat sombre tone of this sequence. Just take it as an indication (and assurance) of the top quality and original level of animation that is yet to come! (Now… its back to the drawing board for me!) :)
My background art - based on Peng Zhou's beautiful layout - for the opening shot of "SIR STAN"! Stan's commemoration service was held at the Stoke Minster church in the north of England in the year 2000. At the opening of the film we will see Stan's ghost appear in this scene, as echoes of his service are going on in the background. He still appears sad over the unexpected death of his beloved wife, Mila, just 6 months earlier. (Passing away so soon after his wife's demise, many said that Stan actually died of a 'broken heart'.) The large statued crucifix on the upper left part of the image was rescued from the Nazi's by Mila during the Second World War and smuggled out with her to England. It was donated to the Stoke Minster by Stan's daughter, Mrs. Jean Gough, with a dedication plaque somewhat similar to the one seen here. (Although this one is modified for the the purpose of this film.) Stoke Minster is certainly worthy of a visit should anyone be in the Stoke-on-Trent region of the U.K.
Just got two more great rough layout designs of the "Stoke Minster" church by Peng for the film! He's currently working on the final versions as we speak! :)
Great online article on Sir Stanley Matthews has just been published by International Times. If you didn't know who 'Sir Stan' was, you will now! Bravo author, Geoff Francis! :)
Just surfacing after a long, 3-day weekend - which gave me a chance to catch-up on some necessary housekeeping on the film! For the uninitiated, 'hand-drawn' animation means exactly that. It effectively means that everything moving on the screen has to be hand drawn for it to appear there! For example, in this film 'Sir Stan' wears a red-striped soccer shirt throughout. So every one of those stripes has to be drawn on every shirt of every character drawing - and at 24 frames per second, moving smoothly with the rest of the action!
Note: 'Scene 01' contains 107 drawings - all with stripes to be drawn and all moving very slowly!
So my process this weekend was to clean-up my initial rough animation drawings, then key and inbetween the stripes, then show a lot of gratitude to my wife for inking all my pencil drawings, then scanning both the inked line drawings and the pencil drawings (yes, with stripes and all) into my computer, then hand ink and color everything onto a final animation layer in my vector animation program. There's still a lot to do before this scene is completed of course but if I explain that the pencil drawing of the stripes alone took me over 6 hours of solid work - getting up at 5.00 am on the Sunday morning with the sunrise to get it done before the day unfolded - you'll perhaps understand what it means for us crazy traditional 2D animators to create anything for you to hopefully enjoy!
As it stands now: Sir Stan's ghost now digitally colored but so much more still to do, including Peng's background to be painted!
So, multiply all the above for one 6-second scene, out to the full 6-minute film and you'll see why I desperately need sponsors to help me get help to get it finished by next February's deadline! I would love to apprentice some talented young students (who are equally passionate about traditional 2D animation too by the way) along the way also - so sponsors do take pity on this poor driven soul who is addicted to this kind of insanity! The plus side is that I love all this naturally - and its great to know at the end of it all you have poured your soul out doing something that is magical and unique - is not just something anyone else can do on the latest software. So let's hear it for us mad 'indies' with a dream! :)