Created: January of 2019
Role: Writing, Storyboarding, Shooting, Editing
“The Assassination of Bugbear by the Coward Random Elf” is a short film made up of still images arranged to create a fight scene between Dungeons and Dragons figurines on top of a wooden train set.
This assignment was to create a 1-2 minute video out of a collection of 100-115 images. I knew right off the bat that I wanted to make something that would be fun to watch. At first I wanted to do a stop-motion film about zombies attacking a city, where I’d use my old toy train set as a city-scape. However, I couldn’t find my collection of plastic zombie army men and had to improvise. What I could find were my Dungeons and Dragons figurines. The rest of the idea pretty much wrote itself from there.
The first few seconds were designed to give the audience an idea of the track’s layout and to set up some of the elements that would come into play later. I used some of the elements like the water tower and the tower near the hill as a way for the viewer to figure out where a new photograph was in relation to the ones they’d already seen.
The biggest influence on how the fight scene was shot was the famous hallway fight scene from the 2003 Korean film Oldboy1. I thought the way the camera tracked the main character made the action easy to follow and the one continuous shot gave everything a sense of presence that gave all of the action a greater impact.
I wanted to emulate that in how I shot the fight scene on the train, so I had to position all of the track elements so that the camera could see them clearly and plan out how the track would be laid out so that each piece could be utilized by the characters at the right time. Planning out the track was probably the hardest part of the project, as I had to plan the fight scene around what pieces I had and build the set at the same time.
I tried to edit the shots in a way that made the action easy to follow. I lingered more on the pictures that had more information to convey in them, like the elf looking at the water tower just before she jumps onto it. I also lingered more on the shots where there was some kind of impact being made in an attempt to emulate hit stop. For those who don’t know, hit stop is where the action stops when a character is hit to convey the impact to the player.
I think this went fairly well. Each hit has a sense of impact to it without interrupting the pacing too much.
Overall, I’m fairly happy with how the film turned out. I had fun making it, and everyone I’ve shown it to seemed to have a good time watching it, which was ultimately my goal. However, if I were to improve a couple things, I’d re-take some of the shots in better lighting. The scene on top of the mountain especially is lit in a way that makes some of the shots less clear than they should be. I also would’ve added in one or two shots to make it clearer where the loop in the track where the animals were located was.
1The scene (caution: violence): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF8AoSmnR7k