Solo (NATA)

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Hello, Newgrounds! First, I should give credit where credit is due:
Thanks to Christopher Bingham (you probably know him as Bing) for letting me use his wonderful music in this video. I highly recommend that you check out more of his music at highfivespaceship.bandcam p.com. There's some awesome stuff there.
Thanks to the voice actors who helped me out with this project! It was great working with you guys!

Well, this video is another step away from my comfort zone. The story wasn't some huge social metaphor or anything, and there isn't any deeper meaning in this one. To fit with this round's NATA theme, "a true companion", I made it about a boy and his imaginary friend. I hope that it wasn't too difficult to understand, though, because although it is more literal this time, it is probably just as surreal, if not more so, especially when the friend helps the boy retreat into his mind.

This was the first video I made since early 2010 that had voice actors other than my sister and I. The extra effort of bringing microphones into school and getting people in a room to be quiet while recording is worth the end result, I think. Of course, people weren't entirely quiet, so you can hear some bits and pieces of other people talking behind the actual voices. This is because I did the recording of the protagonists' voices in my crowded computer science class (the only location where I had access to both my voice actors and a computer at the same time.) Hopefully I can organize things better next time so that doesn't happen. I should mention that the voice of the teacher is Kpheeyat's, a Newgrounds user, and he's a great voice actor and if anyone needs voice work, I'd recommend him!

As far as style goes, I tried doing more frame-by-frame than in previous videos and, for the most part, I tried to not be lazy. It turned out pretty well in the end. I had intended to draw some of the frames on paper and scan them, but due to technical difficulties with my cameras and scanner, that didn't happen for this video. Maybe next time. I did try working in Toon Boom for this one, which was nice, and allows for some more complicated and interesting visuals than Flash typically allows.

Anyway, a lot of effort went into this. I hope you like it!


very good animation, I loved giving it 4 stars for performance.

Truly amazing.

It just shows how if you shut out the world to much, the world may shut you out. I always like your animations, and I believe you shout keep making them. They always leave me with a smile on my face and a thought in my head.

a C isn't that bad and its just like all ur other films great so keep up the good work.

Pahgawk responds:

Thanks! ...and yeah, I guess so. I come from a sort of sheltered school where people think they failed if they get below 90% :P

Very good!
I shall only point out two things that could be improved:
First, the voices: both acting are good, and I had not noticed the background noise, but at some times, especially during the "classroom" scene around 1:25, they were a bit difficult to hear and understand over the music.
Secondly, the bus's movements could have been better. around second 55, the fact that the wheels didn't move was pretty noticeable; and the motion was quite unnatural: mainly at second 55, but also the 1st time, the movement is too linear, and lacks the "forward-down" momentum-induced motion of the cabin as it weighs on the shock absorbers when the bus slows to a stop

watching it again, I also noticed a detail that I think should be mentioned: about 2:20, the lights coming through the bus window (which also appear to be the movie's icon) applies as if on a flat surface and not voluminous bodies.

apart from that, I found nothing worth notice that could have been made better, and can only say: congratulation for such an excellent work! the style you used for the backgrounds was in my opinion very well adapted for the animation you did, as was the music and were the voices of your characters. The "disappearing" motions in the end were pretty pleasant to watch, as was the whole of the animation, in fact. Once again, congratulations

Pahgawk responds:

Thanks! And yep, you picked up on my little bits of laziness. I accidentally drew the bus all on one layer, and being me, rather than going back to do the wheels separately I just left it as-is. Same with the shadow thing. Laziness on my part. Oops :P Glad you liked the video though!

But kind of abrupt. I guess that's what happens when you make a short film, but it was like, "here's all this stuff" and then "pop! you win!"

I'd like to see more of the imaginary friend character: What he's thinking through it, If he's bored in the padded room, If he feels neglected having to stand next to the bed all night, how he feels to be ignored.

I think this is okay but would have been better if the story were told over the course of a couple of days. This seems like one mediocre (not even bad) day, and suddenly the Dramatic! retreat into one's self. (I can't get over the sudden "Bad End")

But that would ha e been like, three times the work, and I'm not animator. For what it is, it's pretty good. I'd prefer to see this in live action. Vote to save with a full four stars, but I wouldn't watch it again "for fun".

Pahgawk responds:

True. I guess there's a pretty fine balance between over- and under-ambitious plots when you only have a month to make the video. I'm trying to get back into the habit of using actual characters who represent themselves and not characters that are metaphors. Turns out normal people need some depth. All part of the learning experience, I guess. I'll try to take it into account next time. Thanks!

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Credits & Info

4.16 / 5.00

Jun 29, 2012
8:38 AM EDT