Project 8: Preproduction

Class Meetings and Due Dates:

Project Assignment: Thursday, November 29th

Review of Schedule/First Draft: Tuesday, December 4th

Interim Class Review: Thursdayy, December 6th

Final Project Due: Monday, December 10th


For your final assignment in CSE458 you will be working on the pre-production for your film! You will have only a week and a half to work on the final project so use your time wisely and coordinate efficiently with the other members of the class. The class has been divided into four groups. Each person in the class has been assigned to a project to support our story. Staff members have been assigned to each project and they have the expertise to help you through so contact them in a pinch. They are happy to help you. Please ASK THEM and remember to be proactive. They will provide you with the overall production steps that you’ll need to follow in order to be prepared for check in meetings and your final turn in.

The whole class will be provided with a few preliminary production tools at the outset. Below you will find our starting and current Working Title, 7 steps, armature, and stand in “block” models -- all of these will serve as a “jumping off point” from which you will be asked to visualize what you are given and in many cases improve on what you are given. All of the character models are preliminary models and are stand-ins for the final versions of the models you will be using in your completed film.

Four Groups

We have divided the production groups into four sections. Each group should communicate with the others but the pipeline and work completed should be independent from the others. Don't wait for anyone to complete their work for you to continue the work on your own. Keep moving ahead. Your deadline won't allow for any delay. We would like to see a calendar of what you plan to accomplish (see example below) and a contract stating your intent to finish this work, a statement about how you plan to approach your final assignment, and a preliminary first draft of what will be completed next week on Tuesday, December 4th.

Working Title



If there were more heroes, there would be fewer victims.

Story Seven Steps

Please keep in mind that regarding any story suggestions: You must do what you've been assigned to first. We will entertain story suggestions when we see the completed version of your preproduction work.

  1. Once upon a time, there was a 105-year-old Matriarch Orca named "Grandma" who wanted to teach her Orca pod that they could take care of one another and keep their home a safe place.
  2. And every day, she would show her pod how to stay alive and enjoy life as they found and ate the local salmon, and raised their young.
  3. Until one day, a Transient Orca appears, preying on and attacking the wildlife, and creating chaos in the Orca resident home.
  4. Because of this, Grandma protects them all by fighting back against the transient Orca but during the fight she is mortally wounded. Please Note: It must be clear here that the Resident Orcas are not being brave. They should cower as Grandma fights.
  5. Because of Grandma's bravery, the rest of the orca pod is inspired to come forward and defend each other and their home, until the transient whale is overwhelmed and driven away.
  6. Until finally, the orca pod returns to Grandma, and holds a wake for her to honor her sacrifice and all of things she has taught them.
  7. And ever since that day, the orcas have worked together to protect each other and their home, learning from Grandma's example.

Group 1: Story Reel Group

Staff Support: Xavier, Blake, Danette

Students:: Wenjie, Sherry, Emily, Claire, Peter



Assign sequences, first set of thumbnails and boards to review

Beatsheet: A first pass at a beatsheet for review.


Reference: Reference for each character based on their adjectives and personality.


Story Bible: First pass at a completed story bible.


Completed Storyreel

Group 2: Reference Groups

Note: All reference reels will be submitted in an edited reel with voiceover and audio where appropriate. The reference group will be focusing on creating reference reels,each with a different focus.

Mood Reel

The mood reel is meant to evoke in the audience the moods desired to support the story. Use images, video, and music to create the desired emotional response. It's important to remember that you don't need to visualize exactly what's in the story reel so feel free to use anything that evokes the right mood.

Assisting Staff: Kevin, Blake

Group: Andy, Will

Style Reel

A style reel is a visual collection of ideas that support a look and feel for a story. Examples for set, character, and any other assets in the film should be presented in video form with voiceover to give context and support common threads. Audio can also be presented in the Reel as part of Style. Overall the Style Reel should present a cohesive look for three approaches (or more) to look and feel that could define the entire film. Choose from any resource you can find but be sure to present your Reel so that the visual approach is unmissable clear and each of the three approaches is connected and supports/ highlights/ augments the story. Our story is for an adult audience so all material should be selected with this in mind. In addition, there will be a hundred year span from the beginning to the end of the story and this may affect the style choices. Use clips/audio drawings photos from any source that you feel clearly supports our story. Make sure to include a voiceover to provide extra clarity.

Assisting Staff: Amanda, Ali

Group: Sabrina, Rebecca

Character Acting Group

The Character Acting Group will research and find and compile a reel that presents Orca whale behavior with an emphasis on these specific whales we are using for our story: J2, J35, J50 and L98.

Assisting Staff: Jenna, Alex, Brian

Group: Alice, Robin

Resient and Transient Whale Reel

This group will closely research the behavioral differences between Transient Orcas and Resident Orcas and create a reel that illustrates their findings, with specific emphasis on the role of the transients in our story.

Assisting Staff: Brian, Danette, Kevin

Group: Sharanya, Jose

Group 3

Set Group

After doing considerable research, you will be selecting several options for the set for our film. Remember to consider above the water and below the water and how the set might change over time. You will draw a plan view and above and below water views. Please review previous examples of set designs including the work that Amanda is doing now.

Assisting Staff: Brian, Amanda, Danette

Group: Phillip, Dana

Group 4

Character Design Group

This group will be creating several character sheets, orthographic front, side and back views, and "character design sheets" for each of the following whales: Granny (J2), Scarlet (J50), Tahlequah (J35), Luna (L98). You will be expected to be prepared with several diverse approaches to the designs and to support the three adjectives that you create for the whales. You are going to be approaching the pod with a 'family' mindset. Each whale should be anatomically proportionate, but still be able to be differentiated from each other.

Assisting Staff: Cody, Xavier, Ali

Group: Cassandra, Ellie, Ada

Turn In

Turn in your files to the assignments on Canvas, the Dropbox folder, and the network (\\csenetid\cs\unix\projects\instr\capstone2\preproduction\reference).


This project will be worth 12% of your final grade, where you will be evaluated on your group participation as well as creative, technical, and aesthetic or compositional aspects