That sound coming from my office is me taking a deep, relaxing breath. For nearly two years, much of my evening and weekend time has been devoted to the Fat Head Kids film. Now it’s done. Well, okay, there might be a tweak or two when we get feedback from our distributor. We’ll also have to cut a trailer, produce some poster art, etc. But the big job is done.
Like the book, the film is presented in chapters. I’ve uploaded chapters two and four to YouTube as sneak peeks. As you know if you’ve read the book, Chapter One explains why getting fat isn’t about your character. Chapter Two goes on to explain that getting fat is about chemistry. That’s the chapter where we introduce The Nautilus, the biological spaceship that serves as our analogy for the human body:
In Chapter Four, we explain how the ship’s fuel system works. Later chapters explain how a bad diet causes that system to go haywire:
The brief opening credits aren’t actually part of those chapters, by the way. I added them to the YouTube videos just to make sure anyone who sees them embedded elsewhere knows they’re part of the Fat Head Kids film. Some of my Fat Head clips ended up embedded in blogs with no attribution or link to the film.
Man, this film was a ton of work. When I made Fat Head, I paid other people to create the animations, compose the music, mix and master the music, record and mix the soundtrack, and color-correct the video to broadcast standards. It was a huge financial investment … and then the first two distributors never paid us. You’ve likely heard that story, so I won’t repeat it except to say I had no intention of ever making another film.
We have an honest distributor now, but because of my experience with Fat Head, I nonetheless didn’t want to be in a position where I need to sell 20,000 units or whatever just to break even financially. So we decided to do all the work ourselves this time.
For each of the animated sequences (more than 400 of them), Chareva and I kicked around ideas and created a thumbnail storyboard. Then she drew the necessary cartoon characters, props and environments — most of them by hand before scanning them into Adobe Illustrator to vectorize and color them. Then I composed the animations in After Effects — after learning how to use the software, of course.
I recorded and edited my narration and all the character voices (most of which were performed by my talented relatives) in Adobe Audition. I composed and recorded the music, which required learning how to mix and master music in Logic Pro. And of course, I edited the whole film together in Premiere before adding sound effects and mixing the final soundtrack.
Like I said, it was a ton of work. We may have to sell 20,000 units or whatever to earn the equivalent of minimum wage, but knowing I won’t have post-production debt to pay off is quite comforting.
Those of you coming aboard this year’s low-carb cruise will see the entire film on Monday night. After that, I plan to spend much of the cruise catching up on sleep. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see me at the breakfast buffet.
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