For some time, I have wanted to get (a lot) better at sharing some of the ups and downs of production in a more spontaneous way. After exulting in a triumphal moment with my wife Glynis and detailing the various obstacles I had to overcome to get there, she suggested making a brief video so I could do the same with all of you. As one who has learned by sad experience the peril of not heeding a spouse’s wise words … well, here it is:

And for those of you who may want to take a closer look at the set I refer to during the video, here is a render:


Now imagine the same scene without all those books … not even remotely close to the real thing (trust me), nor would it be the right thing. All of the many ‘props’ required to dress the set are searched and selected with care; look at how the items on the desktop convey information about the character who spends so much time here:


From the tea cup and fountain pen to the contrast of using both a note book and a computer, all of these details help tell the story. That’s all for now; I hope you enjoyed my little rant and quick peek under the hood! :)

About Xtopher

Director of The Price, and Owner/Creative Director of Silver Fish Creative, LLC.
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27 Responses to Behind-The-Scenes…

  1. Fantastic! Good to hear from you again, friend, feels like it’s been a long time. And I’m glad you’re listening to your own advice and not giving up. Still looking forward to shaking your hand at the finish line. Your persistence and dedication are an inspiration.

    How are things otherwise? I hope you’re doing well.

    • Xtopher says:

      Hey, hey my friend! Things are quite good actually; I have finally found a way to balance things that wasn’t an option in the past, so I am hugely optimistic about making substantial progress on the film! :) How are you? (Congrats on the new position btw — that’s fantastic!)

      • Thank you! And that’s wonderful to hear that things are on an upswing! I’m very glad to hear it.

        Things are good here. I spent part of last summer living in a Buddhist monastery in China, and will be spending (hopefully) the next academic year in Japan:

        It’s a pretty exciting time in my life, though also terrifying, as I still have no real idea what I plan to do when I’m done with all this. But I’m trying to cross those bridges when I come to them and hope my trajectory is enough to see me through to a reasonable end.

        Can’t wait to hear more about the film! And will certainly keep you in thoughts and prayers. Hope things continue to look up!

  2. Lorena says:

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your process with us. I also really enjoyed seeing your workspace. :)

  3. Tad says:

    The modern method of handling these types of obstacles: call up Neil, and ask him to get rid of all his books and exchange them for a kindle. Prob solved, lol. Glad you went old-school… just like your whole process of man vs. machine.

    • Xtopher says:

      Hah-hah, pretty witty there, my friend! :) Yeah, it’s a battle, but I love it when things get harmonious — that’s when the magic happens!

  4. Jordi Kroon says:

    Thanks for the Behind the Scenes look! I never imagined even “just” putting pre-made models in place could be this problematic at times. It definitely explains why good animation can take so much time.

    All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait — so take all the time you need and I am sure the eventual film will be that much better for it.

  5. Kathy Meidell says:

    Thank you, Christopher. I haven’t written before. I sent you a mere $20 when you first began the Kickstarter project. It has been such a wonderful investment.

    I respect and appreciate you and your process. Have learned a ton. Always enjoy your entries. The video was fantastic.

    Keep on keeping on. We out here are rooting for you, appreciating you.

    • Xtopher says:

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know, Kathy! (And for investing in making this dream come true — it couldn’t happen without you!)

  6. Matthew says:

    Hey Chris: I really admire your perseverance. This post is a great little life-lesson for creatives in any industry. I can’t wait to show the finished product to my sister — a fan of both cats and Neil Gaiman.

  7. sandra getgood says:

    Thanks for the update! Hang in there….everything you are doing will pay off in the end result, which will be worth it!

  8. Liz M says:

    Two important lessons in this post: 1) learn a 2nd language (useful for translating internet videos) and 2) listen to your wife (this should be self-evident).

    Having seen photos from the inside of Neil’s house, I deeply covet his collection of books. I’m also hankering after the wallpaper you put in that shot of his office — great geometric pattern.

    Thanks for the update!

    • Xtopher says:

      Wow Liz — good eye! I felt the same upon seeing the actual wallpaper and recreated it for the film; first I used Adobe Illustrator to make the pattern, then created a repeating texture map in Photoshop which was then applied to the wall model geometry in After Effects … a little more labor intensive than just Googling some random image and slapping it on, but worth the effort. (I even added a special texture map that allows parts of the pattern to reflect light more than the rest, simulating the metallic foil aspects of its real-life counterpart — and yeah, that sounds a little obsessive, but it just looks cooler. So there.)

  9. Trevor says:

    Persistence is absolutely essential to a satisfying life, not to mention the ability to take a hit from the cosmic 2-by-4 once in a while. Great to see that you’re still at it, solving each problem as it comes.

  10. Hugh says:

    Thanks for the update… as a software developer, I know what you’re talking about there… both the frustration when the problem seems insurmountable and the triumph when you find the solution.

    • Xtopher says:

      Truly Hugh, you are my brother. That’s the way of it, right? Pain to understand pleasure, sorrow to comprehend joy. Red Vines to fully appreciate Twizzlers.

  11. Lynne Taylor says:

    This post made me chuckle. Kathleen Madigan has a standup routine where she makes fun of her parents’ interface with technology. At one point, she cannot print her boarding pass, because her parents did “something” and now the printer will only print in Portuguese! My children say that is me, so keep me away from software.

    • Xtopher says:

      Hah, I hear you loud and clear, Lynne! Technology is a raging river that gets more and more difficult to wade through (especially as we get older), and yet I never tire of being astonished by it all. Case in point: Mr. Spielberg’s latest, Ready Player One; I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so completely — quite literally breath-taking in every sense.

  12. Julia Whitenight says:

    So happy you’re still plugging away! When I first saw the Kickstarter for this movie, I knew it was something that *had* to happen. Go Christopher!

  13. Julia Whitenight says:

    And I gotta say … those of you who work digitally have my sympathy; when I pick up charcoal, a paintbrush, or pastel, any wrong colors or textures that appear at the other end of it are just about my own skills and can be improved through experience — I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your vision held hostage by the work of others: plugins, add-ons, updates, etc. [shudder]

  14. I know the feeling! Don’t get discouraged. The stories about making a story are just as interesting. I was just as excited to see a little video like this as I was to see the very first Kickstarter video way back when. Happy to be tagging along on this journey with you.

    • Xtopher says:

      Matt, I really needed to read your comment today — I apologize for not seeing it & responding earlier, but perhaps it was best to happen this way instead. Thank you!!!

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