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Gwilym Morris p4

Gwilym Morris, co-director of Retrofit, lists some books on screenwriting and directing...

READERSVOICE.COM: Did you have an actor play the father and then film him, and then get the animators to match the robot’s moves with the live actor, or did you and Lloyd Morris direct the animators in some other way?

Before filming each scene we did a rehearsal with Frank in the scene, then Frank moved off camera and was replaced with a C-stand to give Tom an eye line that he could perform to. The stand was later painted out frame by frame using a clean background plate and the robot added digitally.
Then at a later date Frank did a motion capture session with Tom to capture the robot’s movements. It required Frank to dress up in a Lycra costume covered in sensors that the computer reads. Then the talented team of animators cleaned up the data from this and enhanced that performance to bring their own flair to the movement.

RV: When Dylan grabs the battery pack on the robot’s chest, that looks like he’s grabbing a real robot, but is the robot totally cgi?

GM: It’s all CG. No models. It would cost a lot of money to have a practical prop in the scene. Tom grabbed a C-stand. A matte of Tom’s arm was made and we slipped the robot behind.

RV: How did the industry veterans that make up Imagescope Productions decide to get together and where are you based?

GM: We were a group of artists based all over the world, Sweden, Slovakia, Canada, America and the U.K. We got together to create the short film. We like working together and formed a good friendship.

RV: I like the way the script has the character make a choice at the end. What are some tips you have learned about structuring a good story, and can you recommend any places or books where you’ve learned about this?

GM: Reading lots of books gives everyone a good understanding of structure, but some really great books to read if you want to write and shoot your own projects are:
Master Shots Vol1&2 by Christopher Kenworthy
Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Sijll
Setting up your Shots by Jeremy Vineyard
The Hollywood Standard by Christopher Riley
Elements of style for screenwriters by Paul Argentini
Writing Movies by Alexander Steele.

RV: What are some of your plans for other films or other projects from Imagescope?

GM: We want to push ourselves and plus what we accomplished on this short film. We learned a lot so we are just starting to outline our next one. Watch this space.

– See Youtube for Retrofit, or Imagescope Productions’ website.
– Copyright Simon Sandall.