Case Study: The Time Machine Max F. D'Eramo explores animation with this fantastical story.
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Case Study: The Time Machine

Max F. D'Eramo explores animation with this fantastical story.

For his Final Year Project at the Limerick School of Art and Design, Max F.D'Eramo realised he could turn an old idea into a short film. The 22-year old Irish director explored the possibilities of animation for The Time Machine.

"I spent about three weeks working on backgrounds as it was my first time digitally painting backgrounds on Photoshop."

07 september 2021

Back to childhood

"I originally came up with the idea when I had wanted to create a sculpture and showcase it within the college lobby or corridor. I would collect as much detail from people as possible by having a box with a few questions asking about the most memorable experiences people had from their childhoods and after this I would present a cardboard box 'Time Machine'. 

Once inside the person would hear, smell, and see visuals that would more than likely trigger some old memory from their childhood, thus throwing them back in time. I eventually turned this idea into an extremely short story which I posted onto my art page on Instagram. It was about a stubborn teacher not believing in the so-called children's Time Machine. 

Once the time came for my Final Year Project for my course in Animation and Motion Design, I was drawn back to this idea and story the most. Tweaking it and drawing up some very rough storyboards initially, I was slowly able to develop the story more. I started with characters, the type of shot I was looking for and the colour palette. I wanted to use colours which would replicate a primary school's environment – colourful yet a little gloom."

Working on backgrounds, audio, colour

"There wasn't too much rewritten for the script as I was adapting it from my previous short story. However, some shots I wish I had used would have been the stubborn teacher pushing through a queue of other teachers waiting to try the machine and maybe a little longer of an ending where Mr. Capri is experiencing his travel back in time.

I adapted a '9 to 5' mindset and workflow for the duration of this project, which took me around five months start to finish. It was my Final Year Project for my Animation and Motion Design course. For preproduction I gave myself about a month. I spent about three weeks working on backgrounds as it was my first time digitally painting backgrounds on Photoshop. Another week was spent doing touch ups with after effects at the end, and one more on audio. The rest of the time (I don't remember how many weeks) I spent on keyframes, in-betweens, final line and colour.

As for funding: I'm afraid I didn't have any. I personally funded all my festival entries! I submitted to a good few in Ireland and then branched out into the rest of Europe and once or twice outside of Europe.

Watch this short at Shift Film Festival

September 17-19, online.

Tickets & more info.

Tips for young animators and directors

"If I was to give any tips for animators or directors my age, it would be to draft up rough storyboards as quickly as possible. Have them down on paper and stick them up on your wall. Revisit them and work them continuously and vigorously until you are happy. Having them up in front of you allows you to see the whole animation/short film at once and helps to spot any changes necessary. 

After that, get a rough animatic done for yourself. Having that rough movement and audio to work with is vital when animating your keyframe and in-betweens. It really helps to get a feel for the animation and the pacing. These tips are what I personally found very helpful."

(c) All visual material is used with the filmmaker's permission.

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