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The Making Of Monky Business

As my first film to be done with a very short deadline (3 weeks), I was obliged to work quickly and to plan every action of the movie.
This also didn't gave me the necessary calm to judge my own creation as I usually do, but I think the result is still quite enjoyable.
All the work has been done in 4 full days.


I really don't remember when I had this idea, but as soon as I got it, I had in mind quite a definitive version of the movie.
Only some jokes have been added while filming and editing like the caterpillar and the fantasy credits, as well as some references to Monty Python's Holy Grail.


Well, the only one character is quite basic. The head of the monk has been made with a circle of brown Play-Doh clay. I've chosen a quite shy face so as to enhance the difference between the calm of the beginning and the madness of the ending of the movie.
I've recorded the dumb "voice" myself late at night. This explains why I didn't scream and grunt as much as I originally wanted, and also why I still have good relation with my neighbors.


There is not much stop-motion animation in this movie, except in the beginning.
Animating the monk frame by frame has been a hell, because he walks under a roof, so I had to put my fingers between the columns to animate it... and take care I wasn't touching flowers, plants of else.
The sword movements have been recorded live in front of a blue screen.
The caterpillar sequence comes from my vacation movie about my journey in the French Alps this summer.


Every sound of this movie has been recorded by me, including footsteps, quick swooshes of the sword, voice, planks, crash, fart...
This has been done at my parent's house with a good mic and a portable MD.
The audio editing has been really easy to do, but hey, that's one of my speciality !
A very intense listening can reveal you the quality of the reverb and the extreme compression of the monk's voice.


While post-producing, I've realized that the blue screen was of poor quality, resulting in dark outline on the sets and characters.
Not only the character has been composited, but also the monastery.
The sky has been done with Vue d'Esprit, a realistic landscape generator.
I'll try another compositing technique for my next productions.
Many hours of After Effects with intensive keyframing have been required to make the crazy monk turn, jump and swirl in any direction.
I've also tweaked the colors of the monk so has to "harmonize" it with the background.
It was also my first released in widescreen which took me many problems when editing.


Titles were done directly in Photoshop then imported to Vegas to make them peel or scroll.
As I'm a kind of typographic maniac, I own several hundreds of fonts and always take a great care at choosing them.
I think the titles is one of the best thing in that movie !


The choice of musics was quite straightforward and was one of the first thing I had in mind, even before writing a definitive script & storyboard.
I could say that this movie has been somewhat driven by music.

Set building

I had a very precise idea of the monastery, so when it came to build it, it has been entirely done in one afternoon.
I've lived for several years near cloisters and I knew exactly how it should look.
I think the cloister is very nice looking, but sadly, I hadn't all the necessary pieces required to build two full-length walls.
Again, some digital editing has been done in Photoshop to lengthen the roof in the bird views of the cloister. Yeah, I know I'm a cheater !
Only two walls (and roofs) have been built.
The lighting has been done with two desk lamp, one fluorescent (back & blue screen) and one halogen (front).
I've also used my "legendary" LED lighting system : the LED have been positionned in front of the small windows in the walls. They enlights the monk's face while he walks in the corridor, providing a discrete but very beautiful effect.
As always, all that has been built in the living room my parents' house, where I'm NOT living.
This means I had to shoot everything in one day and had no possibility to do some additionnal shots.


Le réalisateur ne fait pas le moine.
Seriously, as my very first animated creation, I'm not happy with every aspect of the movie, mainly the compositing, and the idea is quite light, but I still believe that this is a funny movie that you can watch several times without getting bored.

Pictures of the Making Of

1. The bird view of the cloister. Notice the camera on the left.
2. A larger view showing the whole set. You can see the blue background. A close match allows you to see the led lighting system, just behind the main wall.

3. A close view of the monastery to show the details of the set. You can see the monk.
4. The largest view showing the living-room. The set is placed on the old table, and the laptop that captures the frames is placed on the armchair. Not very practical and very painful for the knees...


French subtitled version of NIS added :, this version is very light for a mid quality ! Needs RealOne to be played. Admirez le travail...
Behind The Scenes of NIS : The making of NIS in now online in the Behind The Scenes page of the movies section ! Look out why it took me so much time...
Nowhere In Space Ep1 released ! : At last ! Enjoy it in the movie section. Two big versions, another will be released for the dial-up modem users...
© Loïc Desjardins 2003. All brands and companies are submitted to their respective copyright.