I have finally completed my thesis project and I am ready to present it to the school committee. Below are screenshots from the film followed by my reflections of the project.
I look back to the very conception of this idea. Prior to enrolling at USC, I wanted to break away from creating action or comedy based work and I wanted to try creating dramatic work for once. Research is a big component of the ideation process and I wanted to be more mindful about the types of film I would make by being more informed and more accurate with my creative decisions. I also wanted to refine my sense of cinematic understanding because I felt my previous undergrad and freelance experiences lacked a sense of professional quality.
The basis for the main character of my proposed idea was meant to follow these guidelines:
1. I want my character to face an obstacle that cannot be defeated and must struggle with their mortality.
2. The character goes through a period of strife and has to learn how to accept or understand his/her outcome.
3. I wanted to add a fantastical element to the film which involves either dream-like surreal imagery or heavy religious/supernatural contemplation.
4. I wanted to try animating a female lead.
During the past one and a half to two years, I struggled with the story I wanted to tell. On one hand I wanted to make a statement about religion, humanity, fear, and mortality. On the other hand, I wanted to make a film that was easily accessible to general audiences. I ended up leaning towards a more general appeal. Over the course of the semester after many changes to the story, I do feel bad about not making the edgier controversial type of film, but I guess I learned to accept it. Most of the mood and tone of the whole piece was due to my own general mood and attitude towards the 2nd half of the graduate program. The work itself was stressful but my social environment with the peers in my class has taken the most toll on my morale during the last two semesters. At one point I felt the project has been changed so many times based of the advice of others that I felt it really wasn’t what I originally intended. But in the end, I am definitely better at formulating stories for the screen and my skills in animation have definitely improved since I started the program. And I guess that’s really all I need to feel happy about even if I find it hard to be enthusiastic about a film that is not only heavy in subject matter, but was also heavy in the amount of stress it caused to finish it. All in all, it was a harrowing but rewarding experience and I hope the faculty enjoys it.