A while back, I came across a program called Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com) that allows you to create animated videos by just typing in dialog. I’ve seen a lot of short videos on YouTube that used the program. This week I decided to try it out.
I converted my short story Book Review: Sharkbiter – The Secret to Success into a script. The story is a satire of some of the get-rich-quick books that people write. I wrote it in the form of a fake book review. For the movie version, I converted it into a mock TV interview. It was relatively easy to rewrite.
I came up with the idea for the character Orville Sharkbiter when I did Line of Taxis (www.dynamiclethargyfilms.ca/filmlist/line-of-taxis). I used him as a minor character in the movie, but changed his name to Orville Stark-Leiter. He is the proverbial greedy “boss from hell”. I’ve played around with story ideas for him ever since. It only took me 14 years to get the story done.
I did a first version of the script with the on-line version of Xtranormal and I was happy with how it turned out. The desktop version is more powerful, so I want to use that. I ran into trouble with the desktop program however. The support people have been very helpful and I hope to get it to work next week.
The program is free, but you need to pay for assets, such as sets, actors, and voices. You don’t need to pay to create the video, but you can’t save the video to show or post it anywhere until you do. I bought some assets with the money in my PayPal account that I got from my on-line sales.
My long-term goal is to use the program to animated storyboards of my film scripts. I feel that my scripts are a bit too talky and I thought that animated storyboards would help me visualize how the final film will turn out. At the start of the year, one of the goals I set was to try this with my short story The Crying Woman (www.dynamiclethargyfilms.ca/stories/the-crying-woman/). It would run something like 40 minutes. The Sharkbiter video will run about 10 minutes.
If the Sharkbiter video turns out OK, I’ll do The Crying Woman next.