Having reached apotheosis through a conquering of the dark the Melancholic Wife is ready to return to the ‘unromantic walls of her real life’. But first she’ll need a doorway and one dutifully manifests from the dissipating energies of her embracing and dancing with the light. The main task of these two scenes was an exercise in special effects animation. The light effects that create the door and the few small sparkles that enter through it in the following scene were all animated directly in Photoshop, no pencilling involved this time. The animation of the door itself appearing will be done using masks in After Effects as will the animation of the door opening, using the corner pin tool.
The Melancholic Wife has drawn the white light to herself with the aid of her ghost and now comes the first moment of exploration and play. She perceives the boundaries of her form in a new way, we see her twisting her hand, feeling the glow that surrounds her and its flow through the space she inhabits. We follow the arc of her rising hand until it meets its twin. There the gathering energy pushes them apart and she has to find the determination to control the power within her.
Scene Eighteen represents something of a breath. There are a sequence of cuts before it between short scenes communicating lots of information and the scenes after it rise up again towards the crescendo of the final dance. So it’s a chance to breath, take a metaphorical pause and have a slow moment to contrast with the quick. The Melancholic Wife’s arms raise steadily, opening up to her power, opening up to the audience.
There are a few scenes dotted through the animatic that could be described as very short and scenes five and six would fall under that category, comprising a total of three seconds all together. Scene five is a simple step into the ‘ghost room’ and scene six follows it up with a short glance up from our protagonist as she spots the ghosts.
While short they are important, scene six bridges the story from the frantic run that preceded it to the more serene atmosphere of the ‘ghost room’. I felt it important to have her step even once, rather than just have a more easily completed hold, to represent the dissipation of energy from the mad dash.
The glance upwards then has to communicate an emotional shift, I wanted to portray a graceful arc to her movement and emphasise the flow of her hair to preface the floating light tone of the dancing ghosts who are about to appear on screen. I learned the importance here of not underestimating any scene no matter the length and its potential to keep a story continuum on track.
In scene twelve our protagonist has just been swallowed wholly by the blackness and wakes to find herself under the harsh glare of a spotlight. The scene begins with us looking straight down on her as the spotlight comes on, it then tilts to bring her closer to us almost like serving her up on a plate.
Sound Holds the Distance Travelled is the title of the short animated film I’m creating in collaboration with writer and artist Sadhbh Lawlor as part of my BA (Hons) Animation studies at Colaiste Dhulaigh. It is a three minute film based on Episode Five of the Melancholic Wife and her Perpetrating Husband comic series that we co-created.
Here is a link to the animatic for the film and the storyboards are displayed below.
The production process blog can be found here.
The action in scene ten involves a close up of the Melancholic Wife reaching up to try and bring a ghost with her as she is being pulled down. The ghost represents a positive memory of her teenage self, an instance not weighted down by the same troubles as her adult self, and the effort to carry it with her into the darkness is an attempt to accept this positive aspect fully into herself. As such I feel the movement needs to be gentle, soft and kind. She is not grabbing the ghost, she moves to embrace it and ask for her help.