I am happy to present the finished version of the "Myst Kitchen Scene" !

You can watch it on deviantart: http://hlarkin.deviantart.com/journal/

or Vimeo : http://vimeo.com/26440091

or YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0yA8Ck S4So

The cast:

Karen Kahler as Anna
Nate Groth as Atrus
Jason Darke as Gehn

I really want to thank everyone who submitted voice recordings. I'm still learning how to write and this was my first shot at proper dialogue, but I was so impressed with the readings. I appreciated every single recording I got.

I listened to them all carefully before making my decision. I edited the video with three different voices per character to find out what worked and what didn't. In the end, Karen, Nate and Jason's performances seemed to gel in a great way.

I received exactly 30 recordings! Everyone gave it their own personal spin. There were a lot of different directions I could have taken.

For all that submitted, I now have all your information (mwa ha ha) and I can contact you for future projects! This was a lot of fun, I'd love to do it again!

I hope you enjoy the animatic! Be sure to let me know what you think!

Thank you everyone!


Call for Voice Actors!

2011-06-24 13:17:41 by larkinheather

Hey Everybody!

Call for Voice Actors for a short project!

I wrote a short scene based on my favorite book (Myst the Book of Atrus) and made it into an animatic. It's about a minute long. You can read the storyboards here. You can also watch the animatic (without sound) here: here.

I want to give the animatic more life. Music would be nice, but most importantly I'm looking for voices to put onto the track. There are three characters: Anna, Atrus and Gehn.

I'm trying an experiment. I know there's a lot of people who love voice acting on newgrounds. Are you interested in lending your voice?

You can download the script here. Choose one or more of the characters, record your voice digitally, and send it to me (larkinheather@gmail.com). A long track with multiple takes is fine. I can do the editing.

Send the voices to me by Tuesday July 5th. I will choose the three best voices, and put them into the animatic. Then I'll post the animatic on deviantart, youtube, vimeo, etc with your names in the credits.

Does that sound fun? Let me know if you have any questions.


Information about the characters and scene that might be helpful:

The setup: In this scene, Atrus (age 14) and Anna (his grandmother) have just been dropped in on by Gehn (Atrus' father), who Atrus has never met before. They just finished having dinner.

Anna and Gehn's relationship has always been strained. She knows Gehn is angry with her. He blames her for ruining his life. She doesn't want to do/say anything to bring that anger out. But at the same time, she also wants Gehn to connect with Atrus. She is normally a formidable woman and says things with confidence, but in this moment, she's tense, afraid to push Gehn too much or too little.

Atrus has lived alone with his grandmother for 14 years. He's lonely. When Gehn first appeared, he seemed like a regal, god-like figure. He was Intimidated at first, but now Atrus is very curious about him. He's also mindful of his grandmother's tension.

In this scene, the audience is just getting to know Gehn. He appears well-dressed and extremely self-confident. He chooses his words carefully, and only answers questions how and if he wants to answer them. He's in complete control.

Underneath, he has a lot of anger toward his mother, anger that goes way back in their history. He hates her. In this scene, Gehn pretends he's above that, though a bit of his disdain shows through.

Toward Atrus, he feels no awkwardness. Gehn assumes, in his delusional mind, that Atrus, in essence, is the same as him. Because Atrus is his son, he must feel the same things as him. (Problems arise later in the story when Gehn realizes this is not the case.) Gehn doesn't say much because he sees no need to explain himself.

Some general direction for the voice acting:

- Do lots of takes. I find it usually takes me at least 10-15 takes before I get over my giggles, and get into the character. Then again, sometimes the first take is the best!
- Don't feel like you have to read the dialogue exactly as it's written. Feel free to stretch and improvise some of the lines if it makes it sound more natural in your voice.

Hi everyone!

Thanks again for all the comments on my Kanook animation (and the others!), and the comments on my last journal entry, where I talked about my game plan for more projects ... They are really important to me!

I've decided to work on two projects:

1) a 10-min animated short to submit for film festivals. The story is about two boys who herd sheep and goats, and have one of their lambs stolen by a zebra.

2) Kanook animated web series. Episode one and beyond. Epic adventure story about a boy from a new species of humans (Homo neotropicus) whose whole world turns upside down when he meets Homo sapiens.

I'd like to share my step-by-step progress on both of these projects, as well as invite you to collaborate on bringing them to life. If you like, you could help me with some animation, in-betweening, coloring, voices, music, etc. Or you could be a Moral Support collaborator and just support me through your thoughts and comments. This is an experiment for me, so I don't have a lot of expectations.

So, this is the plan. I've made a google group and a website. On the website I plan to post the latest scripts, artwork and animation associated with each project. The site is also where I'll put flash files to share in the future. I made the site restricted access. If you become a collaborator with me, then you can see the site, make comments and edit content.

In order to become a collaborator, you need to join my Project Hub google group. I will use that as a mailing list to send you updates about the projects. The group is located here:http://groups.google.com/group/la rkinheather. Either go to the page and request to join, or send me your email address and I'll add you. (You can note me or send me an email at larkinheather@gmail.com).

Once you're in the group, then you can see the website here: http://sites.google.com/site/larkinhea ther/.

I will also be posting select project updates here on Deviantart and other public places. But if you really want to be part of my animation process, please join me!! Once you join, then you can also add information about yourself, and about your own projects as well. Hopefully, this is the start of something big! :D

That's it. Thanks guys! Have a great day!


Support and Collaborate on my Animation Projects!

Thanks again for everyone who watched "Kanook" and gave comments. If you haven't seen it, here's Part 1/2 and Part 2/2.

I wanted to get out some of my thoughts, ideas, plottings ... so you can tell me if I'm crazy or not ... (warning: long!)

So, I have this story, Kanook, that I've been writing for a long time. I really want to make it into a series. My first thought was to make it into a web series. When I made the Kanook animatic over a year ago, I fully intended to replace the animatic shots with fully rendered animation, like you see in the beginning. The animatic took about a week to make, but fully rendering shots took SO long. I had to do research, paint the backgrounds, rough out the animation, put in the key animation, breakdowns, in-betweens, and then color ... It was taking me about three days per shot. And there are 100+ shots in the 9 minute episode. A year an episode? That won't do ...

So, next I thought about pitching the series for TV. When I went to the Ottawa International Animation Festival in October, I prepared a pitch of the Kanook story. At OAIF they have a pitching session thing called 'FastTrack.' I got to pitch my idea to like 10 different companies, including Disney channel and Fox and Cartoon Network. I learned a LOT about TV animation by going to the OAIF and the TAC (Television Animation Conference, part of OAIF).

My general impression was that networks were looking for shows that were mostly comedies, and cheap to produce ($250-$300,000 per episode)... which mostly means using the 'cutout' or 'puppet' animation style. (There are a lot of great shows that use that style, but personally, I love doing traditional animation and that's what I want 'Kanook' to be in.) I asked someone about the show 'Avatar,' which has really nice animation ... and she told me that Avatar was an 'anomaly.' It's very expensive to produce (most of it being animated in Korea) and was originally pitched by two guys already trusted in the industry, having directed Simpsons and Family Guy episodes. Also, sequential, dramatic storytelling seems to be on the decline overall; there's been talk that shows like 'Lost' and 'FlashForward' will not be greenlit again soon. For animation, series that have long over-arching stories almost never get produced in America.

Moving on! So, I put Kanook on the back burner for a while ... I focused instead on applying for jobs in Animation. I went over to Disney in April and got a lot of great feedback on my portfolio. I'm also planning to apply to Pixar, Dreamworks and BlueSky (as soon as I finish my freakin' cover letter!! Why are they so hard?).

Recently, I started to think that maybe I could go back to the web series idea. I remembered that the Kanook animatic, even though it only took a week to do, was understandable and had emotional impact. I really want to practice cinematic storytelling. And I want get the Kanook story out there. So, I was thinking that I could make a web series in the animatic style.

One concern with that idea is that episodes won't be visually exciting enough to watch for 10 minutes. I want to add more actual animating. I want to make episodes in the animatic style, but with about 10% more animation, 10% more visual energy. (I am very concerned, however, that I won't be able to work quickly and make an animatic-styled animation if I think it's going to be the final product. I'm obsessively judgemental of my work ... I need to work on that.)

I'd also like to add music, sound effects and voices eventually ... which I'll need help on. A few people have already offered their help in various arenas, so I feel hopeful about that. Also, if I can find a way to make the actual animation part more collaborative, that would be great to.

So, that's my idea. I guess the next step is to start production on the next episode. (Which will actually be the first episode, because I've completely rewritten episode 1.) What do you think my plan? Comments? Questions? Concerns?

A side note: I was also wondering if, in addition, I should be working on a short film, something short and polished, that I can show at film festivals. Win awards. Get recognition. I started writing and boarding a story I could do ... but I'm not sure if it's what I want to be doing. In general, I feel torn between my desire to work on writing, storytelling, crafting better and better stories and creating polished artwork, with the painted backgrounds, the animation, the coloring...etc. TORN, I say.

Yet another side note: My computer is getting old. I need new software and hardware. Basically, I need a Macbook Pro, a Wacom Cintiq (21ux) tablet display, Adobe CS5 Master Collection, and Painter, for a grand total of $7100. eep! I'm saving my pennies. Commissions anyone?

Front Page! Woot!

2008-04-23 07:14:44 by larkinheather

So exciting!! Front Page!! Thank you so much!! This is amazingly encouraging. My nose is to the grindstone and I'm working hard to make new animations! :D

The tutorial is finished! Yay! Here it is:

Part 1: Idea and Storyboards
Part 2: Making an Animatic
Part 3: Drawing the Backgrounds
Part 4: Animation Preplanning and Animating
Part 5: Painting the Backgrounds
Part 6: Coloring the Animations

Once again, if you have any comments, any at all, please shoot them my way. I appreciate any and all criticism.

Thank you!


Animation Tutorial

2008-04-19 01:42:33 by larkinheather

Hello! Yay for my first news post on Newgrounds! woot.

First, thank you for the AMAZING response to Link's Prize. It was a real shock. Thank you to everybody who watched it, voted and commented. I really really appreciate it.

Over on my blog, I started a tutorial series about how I made the animation. Here are the topics and links so far:

Part 1: Idea and Storyboards
Part 2: Making an Animatic
Part 3: Drawing the Backgrounds
Part 4: Animation Preplanning and Animating
Part 5: Painting the Backgrounds
Part 6: Coloring the Animations

I'll update this post as I finish each part of the tutorial. If you like it, love it, or hate it and think it's useless, I'll appreciate any comments I can get. I really have no idea what I'm doing ...

Thanks again!