Slaps and Sandbags development blog week 2

animation

24th May 2017

Slaps and Sandbags development blog week 2

In this series of blogs I’m going to bring you through the thought process and practicalities of developing and creating our short ‘The Totally Normal, Everyday Adventures of Slaps and Sandbags’ that we created for the RTE Animated Shorts Scheme 2016.  
● Week 01 Idea ● Week 02 Development/Script ● Week 03 Pre- Production ● Week 04 Production/Post
Week 02 Development/Script 
Ok, so once we started development there was going to be two halves we had to work on; one side was the aesthetic and the other was the story and characters. This week I’ll go through how the script and characters took shape. 
We had the basic premise to start with, (see last week's entry) , so now we had to fill it out and create a 2minute short that we felt would work. We started as usual by looking at our main protagonists and finding out their motivations. Through this exploration, we decided that Slaps, due to his 'know-it-all' attitude, would take the lead in 9 out of 10 situations. He would be the main driving force in what the trio got up to.  Sandbag would be happy-go-lucky and would follow on willfully in anything Slaps might suggest and Tash… well Tash just didn't seem to fit anymore at this stage. We really tried to keep him, but he always just felt a bit tacked on no matter what way we brought him in. Tash was killed off. :( 
Now, we had a duo. A clear leader in Slaps, who thought he knew everything about the normal world but very much bound to a circus way of thinking;  and a follower in Sandbags (an ‘s’ was added to the end of his name by this stage because it rolled off the tongue a lot easier) who was happy-go-lucky, had ideas that were much more in line with conventional thinking, but was happy to do whatever Slaps said. 
They also underwent a lot of cosmetic surgery in deveopment.  Trying to find the perfect aesthetic for our main characters meant a lot of changes , some I liked , some not so much

Slaps and Sandbags character design

Looking back at the original premise at this stage , I felt it didn't quite fit the characters motivation anymore, so what we needed was to come up with a new scenario. 
We thought about how if they left the circus, they would need to get a job to survive. Originally we thought that the more mundane the job, the more whacky these characters would be and stand out from the norm. After exploring a few ordinary professions, like office workers, it just wasn't feeling right. These guys needed to be over the top in any situation; even in the most over the top situations.  
With that in mind we added new characters to move the plot along and threw the guys head first into their very first job - Ninjas! The following script is what we submitted

Script

 

script3

 

Along with the script we submitted the developed artwork to RTE

Development

Low and behold RTE liked it and we had a meeting to attend! We met with Pauline Macnamara and Sheila DeCourcy in RTE and they had provided us with some excellent notes on how to improve the short. They felt that Slaps and Sandbags had to be the main focus, and the other characters seemed to be distracting from them. We agreed and set to work on pulling it all back to the core of what the show was.  
I wrote about 5 different variations of the ninja script, pulling back on characters and focusing more on the main guys, but it still wasn't feeling right. We made the bold decision to scrap the script completely and go back to RTE with a brand new story… I cooked up a scenario that worked and with a few tweaks from RTE we settled on the final script and the final look of the characters.

Character Designs

script3

script 4

script 5

Next week I’ll talk about how the Pre- Production went.