Tag Archives: Video

I Got the Poops

This is the story about a Tape. This is the story about A COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

It begins five years ago in 2008.  I was having a terrible year, what with the collapse of CSF and all, and I never expected to get anything aside from a care package from home in the mail.  I certainly wasn’t prepared for this:

The Enclosure

It was an aluminum harddrive encasement, sealed shut with duct tape.  Inside were thousands of small papers that read “NO”, and another wad of wrapped duct tape hiding a Time Cube diagram. Inside of this wad was a VHS tape. A VHS tape that would become the source of pain, vengeance, and act as a microcosm for the entirety of the internet.

There were also a bunch of sticky notes on top of the encasement. Here are a few.
There were also a bunch of sticky notes on top of the encasement. Here are a few.

This tape was the beginning of a video correspondence between myself and fellow filmmaker Andrew Gingerich, and though I could go into written depth about what was on this video I feel it better to watch it:

I Got the Poops from Andrew Gingerich on Vimeo.

This laid the foundation for the installments to come: A smorgasbord of YouTube cats, our own footage (that would both be shot specifically FOR the Tape and that we had lying around), and Public Domain music, filters, titles, digital artifact, etc.  As I said above: The Tape acts as a microcosm for the internet and its culture.  There’s a lot in this foundational video that’s kind of fun but not really engaging and some recycled meme-ing, but there are also some fantastic parts that are still triumphs (There is some fantastic sound design here that I didn’t really appreciate when I first received the package, and the 8mm footage of people walking on the beach grows into a terrifying tizzy when everyone starts walking IN SYNCH WITH EACH OTHER).

It was a noble effort and an interesting idea, and I didn’t know what to make of it or how to respond.  But I tried. I tried, and tried, and I came up with something.

For more information on the creation of the “I Got the Poops” package, you can read Andrew’s write-up on it here. Stay tuned on the Henceblog for the next chapter of… THE COMPLICATED WEB OF PAPERS AND LIES.

Life on Mars

Here it is.  About a year and a half in the making: Life on Mars.

Life on Mars from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I decided to try my hand at animation again, as now that I’m out of school I no longer have access to a room full of equipment and another room full of crew members.  So, around October of 2010 I wrote this script (also thinking to myself that I won’t be able to make many Sci-Fi films for a while) and I figured I could get it up by Thanksgiving.  I was wrong. Very, very wrong.  Granted, I’ve been taking long periods off of working on this project, but between character design, audio recording, and actually animating this project took much, much longer than I would have wanted it to.

This being said, though, I think the final product is about the same amount of quality that I expected from the project. I had a bit of trouble figuring out the exact dimensionality of the space the rovers are in, so I’m not sure how well the turn-around shot of the sun figures into everything (but it’s far too beautiful to leave out), and during audio recording there was a bit of a mix-up in the day we were recording (also, half of the voice actors weren’t in the same state as I was).  There’s also a very noticeable editing blip, which I tried to get around but mostly this was the best choice.  So is it perfect? Oh my no. But it’s finished. And, although I’m not an animator, I feel I’ve crafted together a good enough animation that certainly helped me hone my After Effects skills.

June 23

Back to recapping.

My sister was married last August and again last June (it was to the same person, so it’s okay) and for the larger, more ceremonious wedding in June my sister wanted me to make a documentary of the planning process.  But she didn’t want it to be like any old boring documentary, she wanted it to be interesting and a piece of their history that they can show to generations after.  So, after getting less footage than I would have wanted, I made this:

June 23 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The film turned out just fine, and I feel it gives an interesting portrait of these two people embarking on this strangely theatrical journey together as well as shows that beneath the stress and chaos of the planning are two people who care deeply for each other.  As I stated above, I wasn’t able to go to Colorado as often as I would have wanted to and so I wasn’t able to get as much footage from the planning process, nor was I able to get all of the interviews I originally wanted.  As such I had to rework what my image for the final documentary would be about three times (At one point it the audio was going to be almost exclusively the bride and grooms parents talking about how they [the parents] met and fell in love).  I am, however, very excited that I was able to include the phrase “Laser Cutting Machine” in a wedding video. So I’ll cross that one off of the list.

Accessories to Cake

As mentioned in the previous post about my thesis film Delicious Pound Cake, there were plenty of pieces leading up to the final release.  The first of which are these short videos featured on my Indiegogo fundraising campaign called Cakelogs:

Cakelog 12/27/10 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Cakelog 1/10/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Cakelog: MLK Jr. Day 2011 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakelog: 1/24/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakelog: 2/7/11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Cakel♥g: Vawuntines Day 2♥11 from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

The Cakelogs were an interesting idea. Mainly, I was trying to fix what I saw as a growing problem with my other video series, Vvinni’s Adventure’s Through Art School, wherein many time they became so long and meandering that I feel it became a daunting task to watch them. So, for every Cakelog I tried to keep them around one minute and have it be quick and to the point. This eventually became a major flaw in them, as I feel with only facts and information the Cakelogs became rather boring and procedural, and this eventually hurt my funding campaign rather than help it.  But, oh well.

Next up is, of course, the “Delicious Pound Cake” Teaser trailer, which I’m fond of. I think it give an accurate idea of the movie (it doesn’t answer the valid question of why a 12 1/2 minute film needs a trailer, but this does: I was hoping to have this out on the festival circuit for some time, and I wanted to give the cast and crew a chance to see the footage and get as excited about the film as I was).

Delicious Pound Cake Teaser Trailer from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Finally, once funding and festival publicity was over, it was time to begin looking at the Delicious Pound Cake DVD.  This is still in the works (needless to say, I have some major issues with DVD Studio Pro, but that’s the only advanced DVD authoring software out there), but in the meantime here are a few extras to hold you off: A commercial from the Sugar Council of America, and gameplay footage from Salvador’s Chronicles of the Fourth Kind, described as being made by “one of the most visionary humans ever”.  Enjoy, have your cake, eat it, and explode into a miniature sun too.

A Message from the Sugar Council of America from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

 

Taco Tapir: The Design

What is Taco Tapir?

It’s the best psuedo-Central American/Mexican fusion food that three dollars can buy, that’s what. Or so we can only theorize, as Taco Tapir was created as a fictional taco to win a presidential seat, and the creation of the Taco Tapir was something in and of itself.  The Art direction, and therefore the creation of Taco Tapir, fell to me.

My first step was to create the character of Taco Tapir itself, an enigmatic character created by a company that may or may not actually know what a tapir is.  As such, I spent some time wondering about what kind of cute-ing up a fictional chain would do to a tapir, but then I drew this and realized that they’d do nothing to change the tapir, as it is perfect the way it is:

It's fantastic.
It’s fantastic.

From here, I got working on different styles for this tapir: How do the ears work? How about its adorable and telling paunch? Should it wear a hat? Should it have Maracas? What about a mustache? You can see plenty of the process in this page from my sketchbook:

Images from the creation of Taco Tapir, including many of the failed mustaches of Taco Tapir.
Images from the creation of Taco Tapir, including the face of Taco Manatee.

And so once I had the Taco Tapir shape figured out, as well as its hat, etc. I compiled together the final character design and finished phase one.  The next step was to create taco wrappers and a fictional brand identity for the Taco Tapir restaurant chain. Again: Do they know that Tapirs are primarily South American? Does this factor in to their presentation of Mexican food? Do they even serve Mexican food?  I decided to go for an Incan feel, and keep many of the questions of what kind of food Taco Tapir serves largely as a mystery (I think they’re South American fusion myself). I went through a variety of wrapper evolutions, each time focusing on how to make the overall product believably and well designed and ways to incorporate more and more of the South American feel of Taco Tapir.

The first wrapper a made: Boring, unbelievable, but there were a few nuggets to keep and move ahead with.
The first wrapper a made: Boring, unbelievable, but there were a few nuggets to keep and move ahead with.
The next wrapper design: A bit more of a differentiation in its quadrants, but still not the best. Also, after consulting other designers, Papyrus was deemed too hideous to even use as being hideous.
The next wrapper design: A bit more of a differentiation in its quadrants, but still not the best. Also, after consulting other designers, Papyrus was deemed too hideous to even use as being hideous.

 

The final wrapper design: An Incan-inspired cross, the double tapir, Bauhaus font (which works, in a strangely Tex-Mex-esque way), the Maracas, and of course a star.
The final wrapper design: An Inca-inspired cross, the double tapir, Bauhaus font (which works, in a strangely Tex-Mex-esque way), the Maracas, and of course a star.

The final design turned out well, I think. The only thing I may have changed is the blank space in each of the quadrants, and I’m still not sure about all of the colors used in the wrapper (after all, wouldn’t this be too pricey to mass produce for a restaurant that sells cheap, cheap, CHEAP tacos?).  But, I feel the design certainly reached a good point, and it ended up just fine. It’s a shame it never made it into the final film.

Once the Taco Tapir wrapper was completed, and once I had a firmer grasp on Taco Tapirs aesthetic and advertising feel, I created this short Taco Tapir commercial for publicity and to be used in the larger film work “Write-In 2012” (which will be discussed at a later point).  Enjoy, and vote for flavor.

Taco Tapir Ad from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Delicious Pound Cake

As the seven previous readers of the Henceblog know, much of my senior year of my undergraduates degree was spent putting together my senior thesis project: Delicious Pound Cake, a story about cake and the apocalypse.  The story of how production began and the story of pre-production can be seen with the Cakelog video series, but overall the creation of Delicious Pound Cake went by smoothly without much of a fuss.  Except that about a week before production began I had around half a ton of plywood fall on me and crush my leg, and that we got into a bit of a location snag for our general store (getting the proper papers signed in time, it wasn’t too terrible a problem, but it was something).

So, for the entirety of production I was on crutches, and for a sizable portion of production I was on painkillers. The funding campaign never took off as much as I would have liked it to (mainly because of lack of visibility and lack of funds for those who could see the campaign), and that coupled with general lack of organization on my part and business form all involved (this was, after all, still a school project) caused us to be a bit scattered during filming at times, and caused me to overlook a few pivot things.  But, in the end, the project was completed, and it went into the festival circuit.

That’s around where the previous Henceblog left off. Well, the festival circuit wasn’t kind to Delicious Pound Cake. Or maybe it was so kind it decided to leave it alone, but at any rate the film never made it into anything. So, I decided to put it up online so it can be free for anyone to watch anywhere. That’s where it is now, and that’s what is embedded below for your viewing pleasure:

Delicious Pound Cake from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I now understand why Delicious Pound Cake didn’t make it into any festivals, I think the script was a bit lacking, and the overall apocalyptic idea was just barely underdeveloped (enough, though, to make it very difficult to understand, and enough to create a few glaring issues [like this one: how is it that all of the spices and the like in the general store are all unharmed EXCEPT for the vanilla? Shouldn’t all of the spices have been vaporized in a nuclear blast?]).  However, I do think it’s a fantastic senior thesis, and I also think it’s one of the best movies I’ve made (not THE best, mind you, that honor belongs to Lamplight Breakfast on a Burning Kitten).  We all did the best we could, and I still think that it should have gotten into at least one festival. But oh well, Next time.

Existence is Invalid

We take a quick break from re-uploading old information to the Henceblog for this: An animation test for my upcoming animated short “Life on Mars”.

I wanted to see a few things: 1) If the “twinkling” of the stars, the “atmosphere” of Mars, the Solar flares, and the rover animation would be too much when put together; 2) If the pixellation of the Rover eye would factor well into everything; and 3) To figure out a decent workflow with After Effect/Final Cut.  I believe everything worked out well, and you can all look forward to “Life on Mars” this Valentine’s Day.

Tracy McKnightly and the Case of the Dead Cat

Because most of the old posts were removed when the site went down, I’ll have to try and get some of the old posts back up.

This mostly means re-posting the links to all of my films on vimeo.  So, we begin with the earliest possible film that I currently have uploaded online: Tracy McKnightly and the Case of the Dead Cat, filmed in the winter of 2005 starring the recurring detective Tracy McKnightly.

Tracy McKnightly and the Case of the Dead Cat from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

There are plenty of issues with The Case of the Dead Cat, from the clear technical issues to the scattered script, but in the end it’s okay.  Not the best of the earliest Henceforth work, but it’s still good to see where I began as a filmmaker.

A Sad Day

Well, quite a bit has happened since the Henceblog went down, and I’ve released a few films since then as well.  The first film would be “A Sad Day”, based off of a series of short scripts I wrote about a man named Stumpy who can’t do anything right.

 

A Sad Day from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

“A Sad Day” was created by me and a fellow filmmaker and board game-maker Will Culbert as part of a three minute film festival for the Santa Fe Reporter.  Over 300 films were submitted to the festival, and we were lucky enough to be one of the fifty final films chosen to be shown in the finals.  We didn’t walk away with any awards, but to simply be a part of the festival was a great thing.