A theory on the making of The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens was great! However, I felt while I was watching it that there were some very weird choices in there. Clunky and strange dialogue, which is not unusual to the franchise, but still felt oddly out of place. 

So I thought I would relate a theory here not about the lore within Star Wars, but about the actual making of the latest film. 

Obviously spoilers ahead:

When they first revealed that Han and Leia were Ren’s parents, the did it by having Snoke just say it to Ren. He’s just like “The plans are on the Millennium Falcon with your father… HAN SOLO!” and I remember thinking the first time I watched it “Huh… that feels like a really dumb way to reveal this fact. Just having some guy say it? Isn’t there some cooler way to do that?”

Then, at the end, Han says “Take off that mask!” and Ren says “What do you expect to see?” and Han dramatically proclaims “the face of my SON!” and it was a pretty big feeling moment. It was this big emotional impact! I was like “THAT’S where they should have had it happen! What the hell, why didn’t they do that?”

Then, by the 3rd time I’d watched it, I figured it out!

For those of you that don’t know, ADR stands for “Automated Dialogue Replacement,” it basically means dubbing. It’s something you do in film and animation if an actor didn’t talk clearly enough, or maybe there was wind on the mic when it was being filmed, or maybe you need to clear up a quick tiny story point or something like that. You finish up your editing, then have the actor come in and record a couple of lines in the sound studio. It’s a mere fraction of the cost of going back onto location and shooting the scene over again with a new line, so it’s a common way in film to quickly fix small things that need changing either technically or in the story.

Anyway, every single time that a character says something like “han is your dad” or “Ren is our son” or any reference to that exact linkage, it’s ADR.

Every single time.

It’s always framed so that if Leia says it, we see the back of her head. If Snoke says it, he’s animated, so it can be changed relatively quickly and easily. If Ren says it, that’s not a big deal because everything he says is ADR anyway.

Someone somewhere along the line thought it was too confusing or something to only reveal it at the end, so they went back and changed everything in post. Perhaps they thought it was too similar to Empire Strikes Back, maybe they thought they should change the tone from being about a reveal to being about a family thing, we’ll never know. The point is, that’s why the dialogue is so clunky in some places. If you take out every moment where they mention their son, it’s actually pretty okay dialogue that builds up this mystery of what happened to their kid, then there’s a big amazing reveal at the end!

There is only one shot where Leia says “bring back our son” and you see her say it, but she didn’t say “Ren” so if we weren’t told before who their son was, it easily could have played as “wait so who’s her son then??”

The scene where Ren is talking to Vader’s mask could also have been some completely different dialogue. It could have been the dialogue we originally saw in the trailer for example, and we’d never hear the “I’ll finish what you started… grandfather” part.

Anyway, that’s just my guess on it. It all basically boils down to this:


Here is a making of presenting the work I did on our opening short “Mary” for the Annecy Festival 2015.

See the full short here : !

Cinemamind making of

I’ve gotten a couple of requests about how I make my horror pieces and what programs I use. Well tonight, I’ll be explaining my process as best I can.

First I take photos of creepy locations. Just to keep a good library for future works. I like taking a flashlight with me and just walk around dark rooms, giving them a first person feeling.

Let’s use this one. I take it into Photoshop CS5 (yeah, she’s old, but she works like a charm) and I frame it accordingly.

Before I start, It’s good to have references opened up. I’m going to redraw Springtrap and try to make him look more grotesque than my last drawing; With more gaping wounds and the screaming corpse mouth.

Next, I lower the opacity to the background drawing and sketch out Springtrap on a new layer.

Lovely. I then add a color layer behind the sketch and merge the two together. After that, I add splotches of highlights to match the lighting.

At this point, I just keep working on Springtrap with a nicer brush. Adding shadow and detail.

I want to emphasize the flashlight even more by drawing a light on a new layer. Like this:

I then change the layer style from “normal,” to “overlay.” This makes the light affect the background and Springtrap.

And then I adjust the light, as though it’s coming from a slight angle.

I then finesse Springtrap a little more, with wires, viscera and color.

Next is texture. You can usually find some public domain textures online, but another solution is making your own, using photographs, brushes and watercolors. I keep my own library of self-made textures.

I’m gonna be using these two textures for the necessary grit to fit this scene. I put them both on “overlay” and lower the opacity a bit.

Like so:

Next, I create a new adjustment layer of “color balance” and “selective color.” These two help refine the shadows and highlights of the piece.

For example, I usually like to give a little bit of blue to my shadows. You can play around with the colors to get the mood just right.

I then touch up Springtrap with more detail and a couple of dust effects around the light.

Here’s a neat trick. I usually like to give my drawings a V/H/S or home video glitch kind of look. To do this you merge all the layers together and duplicate the final image two times. Double click one of the layers to open up “Layer Style.” under “blending options” on “Channels,” make sure the “G” is the only one that’s checked. You’ll get a pink square on the preview. 

On the second duplicate layer, do the same thing, but make “R” and “B” the only ones checked. This will give you a green box under preview.

Now select either one of the two layers and move them slightly in any direction using the keypad.

It’s very subtle, but here’s how it looks when you move either layer more:

But to be easy on the eyes, I only move it SLIGHTLY. Lastly, I overlay a noise layer on top of everything to give it that extra grit; Silent Hill style.

And that’s it! The rest is just finessing. Adding a little bit more detail and tweaking the color a bit.

To be clear, NONE of this is set in stone. you can experiment as much as you wish and the more experienced you are with painting, the more uncanny your art will seem. Just mess around and make glorious, terrifying pieces of work. ^-^