Sita Sings the Blues was one of the saddest, most heart-wrenching films I’ve seen in a while. I’m hesitant to even recommend it because it was so hard to watch. Nina’s pain was visceral in the story, the animation and the musical choices. It was also hard to think about all of that After Effects animation!!! Seeing the layers and how many hours she must have spent to build those scenes was almost as upsetting as watching the story itself. I didn’t think I’d miss stop motion animation, but I actually kind of do. In fact, I realize I will make another stop motion film at some point in the future. As hard as the process was, I love the effect and found that I did have a lot of control over it.
This brings me to our After Effects project. What I learned from the stop motion film was being so rushed to push the project through is what created the flaws in the material. I looked it over and it’s really not editing that is the weakness of the film. It is the plot and the shots in the second half. Nicole and I spent almost no time on the story or thinking it through because we simply did not have enough time to give to it. And what time we did have we spent on building the set. Even the shoot day felt rushed. I made sure the first half of the shots were strong, but as time was marching on and without the story fully developed ahead of time, the weaknesses actually came out of our exhaustion and losing track of the narrative. It led to much weaker angles and moments than in the first half of the story.
This is a mistake I do not want to make for our After Effects project. I had a simple idea of a visual and a payoff that Nicole loves. One of my favorite things in the world is irony and this story is definitely a slight play on Disney films. And the shot itself pays homage to one of my favorite films of all time, Lawrence of Arabia… Only this one is underwater, with a mermaid.
Here are the boards: