• Ruben

The Jam Jar Part 2: Pre-Production

Character Design

For the dad character we are imagining a typical middleclass dad. Skinny, a bit clumsy, with a moustache, ultimately good at heart. It being a slapstick comedy film, I am thinking about taking inspiration from Wallace and Gromit. The film is short and without dialogue, so the character traits need to be sold fast. Disappointingly, the stock model we are supposed to use looks like a Martian and we are only allowed to customize his size. So, if you already must use it, I might as well look to find a compromise between what we got and what we envision. It will probably look like Walter & Mr Johnson from the Muppets (Jim Henson, 1955) or Wallace from Wallace and Gromit (Nick Park, 1989). I really dislike this model and hope we can find a way around it.

The daughter is 6 to 10 years of age. Small in stature, short, bouncy hair and a cute round face. She is tired with an attitude or indifference and goal oriented, no nonsense. Inspirations are Boo (Monsters Inc, 2001, dir. Pete Docter, David Silverman), a younger Edna Mode (The Incredibles, 2004, dir. Brad Bird), Penny (The Rescuers, 1977, dir. Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Art Stevens), and a girl Muppet as a compromise.

Environment Design

The environment is mainly the kitchen, and we want to place the design somewhere in the latter half of the 20th century with a warm colour palette. It is an homage to classic slapstick shorts such as Wallace and Gromit and Disney shorts. I sketched out a quick layout of the kitchen. I made sure to have an empty wall on which the camera could be placed and a large window for lighting.

After my groupmate Sarah Grahic put together some mood boards based on in-depth historical research, I made some photoshop variations. Finding the right photos and adjusting their perspective is not very pleasant to do.

Moodboards by Sarah Grahic

In the meantime, we had a feedback session with our course leader, and I submitted more ideas for the story. The dad could use a screwdriver and a hammer to chisel open the jar, use a visor and a blowtorch, and use dynamite. All of which our course leader was very enthusiastic about. We ultimately decided on the following order of events:

  1. First he would use his hands to try open the jar

  2. Then a spoon

  3. A breadknife

  4. A blowtorch

  5. And finally dynamite

The dynamite would destroy the room. So, I sketched up a concept. Tired with photoshop, I busted out some A3 paper and markers.

Before starting on the storyboard, we decided on a final layout of the room.


Most of the storyboard and all of the final animatic is done by my groupmate Nicole Orsin. This way we maintain a consistent style. Nevertheless, I sketched out some suggestions and ideas. The fire extinguisher was replaced with the dynamite.

The final animatic by Nicole Orsin:

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