Ah, where would we be without a timeline – a line that shows us our past achievements and the challenges of the future? Without putting time (which, we are told by many, is a mess of simultaneous events, as everything happens at the same time – we coexist with dinosaurs, we just chose not to see them) in line we would never know what we did yesterday and what we are going to do tomorrow. Humans need sequentialness, a story developing in linear time, we need the order this linearity offers us.

Since we are in the storytelling business we deal with linear time more than anybody else. If we were in fortunetelling business we’d need to shake up the linearity of time to access the future which apparently is having breakfast with dinosaurs as we speak (for some inexplicable reason, fortunetelling businesses are keen to keep time linear when the time comes to bills and payments).

We need a timeline to deliver us from Past into Future in a straight way. So we made a timeline for “Rocks In My Pockets”, here it is:


– What does it mean? – you’d ask. – I see letter size paper taped on the wall, that’s all. Where is the timeline?

Take a closer look. It’s there.

For a short filmmaker (although I am not that short at 176 cm I am still a short filmmaker) making her first feature film is a daunting task. The script has 38 pages, the narration is 90 minutes, where do you start? how do you organize the production so that you don’t get lost with dinosaurs? There are so many steps to animated film production and they all seem equally important, and some of them even happen at the same time.

I took the advise that keeps floating around for the last 200 years (since it’s conception it had lost the name of it’s Creator) :

– Start with what you know.

I know how to make shorts.

I broke down the script on 20 comprehensible parts, parts that I would call “Episodes”.

While those episodes could stand alone as short films, they are part of a larger narrative, sort of like “story within a story”. Each episode is anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes long (the shortest one, “Poacher” – the opening sequence, is only 49 seconds), and contains from 20 to 140 shots. Maybe I use the wrong filmmaking lingo here (it might be that I call “scenes” “episodes” and “shots” should be “scenes”?) but does it really matter if everybody on the “Rocks” Team understands what we talk about when we talk about shots and episodes?

Each episode has a different set of three dimensional paper mache sets or flat BGs and thus each of them visually differs from the other, to keep the audience on their toes.

With a green marker I mark in the timeline that am making sets for this particular episode and when the sets are done, I mark with red in the timeline that it is done. Then I move to animation, then to linetest, then Mike writes down exposure sheets, then Rashidah takes over scanning and coloring, then Wendy works on compositing and editing. Episode to episode goes from green to red. Red is good!

As of today, September 27th, 2012, here’s the state of “Rocks In My Pockets” Timeline:




The mysterious numbers in blue on the right corner of each page marks the time of the film.

Now, I have to go back to work to mark the Episode 019 RED!



About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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