Thanksgiving…

…is probably my favorite holiday. I love the food, the crisp, cool hints of the year winding down – an American celebration of gratitude. And I have much to be grateful for this year, especially on this project. I’d like to thank our dedicated team for all their great work and dedication. They have been tirelessly sprinting to make our deadline, haven’t taken a weekend off in months, and have literally worked around the clock in shifts since early last week. With a schedule this tight, so many elements have had to converge at the very end. We are still composing our original score and tweaking and our sound design, even though we’re already mixing. And we’re still drawing frames and animating the credit sequence, even though our picture should be locked.

Just two days from the finish line, it’s still too early to exhale, but I believe we have accomplished something quite unique. Driving home last night, I was thinking about what we originally set out to do – and I was remembering all the questions I had had about technique, style, consistency, and impact. We’ve made a lot of untraditional choices along the way, and as it comes together, I realize we have broken some new ground.

Benjamin Price Eating English Marmalade while working on “The Alchemist Agenda” Motion Comic

The Motion Comics/motion storyboards/board-o-matics, and their various forms, have been used for years, but only recently as an emerging style of entertainment. Warner Bros. created a prequel for Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” and a motion comic version of the graphic novel “Watchman,” but I’m not aware of anybody who has used the format for an original feature length movie with original artwork (not based on any preexisting material). Motion Comics have been called the Cliff’s Notes of the comic industry; they don’t have the nuances of the graphic novel, and don’t have the articulated movement of an animated film. But as a precursor to a live action film, especially big ones, I think they may prove to be the ideal tool – more cinematic than animatics, and more dramatic than pre-viz programs – especially when they have stunning artwork, fluid editing, a well-performed dialogue track, rich sound design, and a stellar score.

The Greatest Motion Comic Production Crew in the World!

Several other people who have been making projects for Amazon Studios have reached out recently to discuss our approach, their approach, and thoughts about what will ultimately make the best test movies. Every year we hear complaints about movie award shows, that picking one movie over another is like picking an orange over an apple (flagrant paraphrase). Every film should be produced with its own distinctiveness in mind, so I don’t think there is any “best way,” but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that there’s nothing better than a great story, well executed, and that shared experience of being transported into another world. After all, that’s what we strive for, the reason we all work so hard to tell stories.

I am thankful to all of you for following our project, and to those who have sent words of encouragement. I am very excited to present The Alchemist Agenda movie this week. I truly hope you will be “transported,” and if that’s too grandiose, I hope you will at least have fun watching it.

We will continue to post here about the movie’s progress and hope you will occasionally check in.

Now back to The Hive!

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Marty Weiss

About Marty Weiss

Became known for creating comedic and highly visual TV commercials, directing hundreds of national and international campaigns for major Blue Chip brands, before segueing into longer form projects.
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