Grade School Graveyard

I wanted to add a quick update concerning the image I posted last time of the basement stairwell. Most of the comments I received were very complimentary (for which I gratefully thank you), but a few also included an interesting observation: that the narrower dimensions of the stairs in the original animatic image added more to the sense of tension and unease I was trying to evoke than the revised set. As an artist, I genuinely value constructive critiques of my work; after looking at the same thing for an extended period, it is always a challenge to see with fresh eyes. Although I don’t feel obligated to agree with every proffered observation/opinion, I did in this case, and offer a revised version that I feel works much better. Thanks everyone! :)


Since one good turn deserves another, I wanted to share something fun that you might get a kick out of. My 11 year-old son had an assignment in his 6th grade class to create a video book “trailer” earlier this year, and guess what book his group chose? None other than Mr. Gaiman’s masterwork, The Graveyard Book! And while the kids themselves wrote the script, chose which scenes to include, played all the roles and decided how it was to be put together, they asked me to help with the “special effects” and other post production duties as it was shot almost entirely using greenscreen. The finished video was shown at a local theater as part of a 6th grade “Film Festival” (with the kids all being chauffeured by limo to walk the red carpet, et al), and The Graveyard Book won 8 awards! (Some parents grumbled about my participation, but it really wasn’t a true competition, and the teacher in charge welcomed the opportunity for me to show the students some advanced techniques.) The kids had a blast (and so did I), so we hope you’ll enjoy it as well:

About Xtopher

Director of The Price, and Owner/Creative Director of Silver Fish Creative, LLC.
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16 Responses to Grade School Graveyard

  1. Nice work by the kids and mad props for helping them out.

  2. Jon Schjelderup says:

    Gotta agree, the picture does work better that way.

    Love the book trailer, too, and very nice choice of book. No need to tell me to read it, I’ve read it three times at least. 😉
    Is your son in the video, by the way?

  3. dwayne franklin says:

    that is so awesome !!! i know the kids learned a lot and came out with a new set of skills to boot. i loved the book and this was justice to it great job if the kids read this post thanks so much for putting this artwork out in to the world this really made my day @_@

    • Xtopher says:

      You are welcome Dwayne! Everyone had fun putting this together, and learning while actually making something is always a powerful teaching opportunity.

  4. Jill says:

    This is great! The kids did a fabulous job and I am sure they appreciated your expertise! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Xtopher says:

      Thanks Jill — it was really fun to see them get into it (especially my son). I just thought it was a cool program for the school to run in the first place!

  5. aeddubh says:

    Great trailer- the kids did a great job and they must have had fun working with you.

    • Xtopher says:

      Thanks Hugh! It was pretty funny watching them in front of the greenscreen, but they were pretty good at drawing on those make-believe skills. :)

  6. Pat Kiewicz says:

    Oh, I didn’t want to pile on about narrowing the stairs, but I’m happy to see my feedback wasn’t needed.

    I haven’t read The Graveyard Book in a while. After watching the “promo” I think I’ll have to read it again!

    • Xtopher says:

      I think it’s such a unique opportunity to receive feedback from all of you (again, the constructive crits are always welcome here). And you can never read Graveyard too often, in my opinion. :)

  7. Susan Ator says:

    Wow, I did think the revised image didn’t look as menacing but couldn’t put my finger on why. The person (or people) who pointed this out got it. Much better. It now conveys a more menacing tone.

  8. Trina de Joya says:

    Wow, the last thing I expected was for you to make changes based on the feedback some of us offered – and it’s super cool to see! Ultimately, it’s your vision, your baby, and everyone here totally respects and appreciates that. Still, that’s what makes this process so exciting: the personal investment and unconditional support that your community here has for your film. Also, your son and friends must have had such an amazing experience. I’m sure it was very much an experiential learning process for them, and what a great school & community to pull off such a fancy event!

    • Xtopher says:

      Hey, a better idea is a better idea, right? I don’t care where they come from… 😉 And like you mentioned, the support really has been unconditional, which is vital in helping me keep this project alive and moving towards completion — so thanks again, Trina!

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