• Ruben

The Jam Jar Part 1: Logline and Synopsis

With the second semester of production arts comes a big project. We are going to make an animated short film in groups. There rules are: It must be animated in Blender, it’s around 90 seconds long, no dialogue and maximum 3 characters. I was thinking about changing to a different course but eventually stayed with production arts. So, I am put into a group with some delay, and they already wrote a logline and synopsis. Their idea was inspiring, and I could really see us making something wholesome from it. It goes as follows:

A man struggles to open a jar of jam.

A man is seen making some toast. He places it onto a plate and reaches into a cupboard for a jar of jam. As one normally would, he tries to open the jar, but the lid is stuck in place. Looking confused, he tries again. Still, the jar remains sealed. For extra leverage and support he transfers his entire body weight onto the kitchen counter and tries with all his might to unscrew the jar, but that gets him nowhere.

Feeling quite frustrated, he begins to frantically search for items in the nearest kitchen draw that may help open it. Having tried various kitchen utensils, his frustration grows as these items continue to break and the jar remains firmly shut. As a last resort, he ties the lid of the jam jar to a cabinet door. He then props his foot up against the door and tightly pulls, his hands resting in the base of the jar. Due to his actions, the cabinet door comes flying off resulting in the entire contents of the cabinet falling and smashing onto the kitchen floor. As the door flies off, he too jolts back and falls into a heap amongst the chaos. As he grasps his bearings, he begins to look for the jar only coming to the realisation that all his efforts were for nothing, as the jar lid still hasn't moved even an inch. Having completely given up, his back falls against the counter and he lets out a sigh of exasperation. Suddenly, the door creaks open and his young daughter, seeing the destruction, swiftly maneuverers her way across the room. She then reaches for the jam jar and effortlessly opens it spreading the jam on the pre-prepared toast.

From there on we are on to gather references and ideas. Here are some of mine on how the character could try to open the jar:

  • Using a spoon as a lever to try to pop it open

  • Using a breadknife as a saw, which would get blunt

  • Using a towel for extra grip

  • Running hot water over the lid and burns himself

  • Hitting the lid

  • Crank it open with a wrench

  • Using a crème-brule burner to melt it open

We are given 12 weeks to complete the short, with 4 weeks for pre-production, 7 weeks for production (mainly modelling and animating), and 1 week of post-production. We also agreed on a schedule to meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. To get us started I made a Gantt chart to track our progress. It is a helpful tool to keep track of different tasks, and which follow up on which.

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