The Making of Going Postal (page 2 of 5)
The postcard illustration that inspired the film

The first appearance of the carnivorous mailbox (from a self-promotional postcard).

As I worked on the Quicktime animation, I began to think about how the mailbox might move and locomote. I decided that it would probably hop, and made some rough sketches of what that would look like. I also pondered the origins of the man-eating mailbox and began to formulate a rough back-story in my mind.

As class approached, I decided that I would expand on this mailbox idea for my class film.

Storyboarding

Animated films rarely use scripts. Instead, they rely on storyboards for planning the story and action. A storyboard is similar to a comic strip, but minus the dialogue balloons. Also, storyboards have instructions and explanations for camera moves and sound effects written below and between the panels. The first thing we were required to do for my class was to create a storyboard.

As I worked on the storyboards, I began polishing up the designs of the mailbox and making model sheets for it. Since the other characters in the film only appear briefly, I didn't need model sheets for them. A model sheet is a series of drawings that show each character from many different angles and sometimes also include common facial expressions and physical gestures. Model sheets are used during the animation process to help keep the appearance of the characters consistent throughout the film.

Animation

With the storyboards finished, and the mailbox model sheets completed, I was ready to dive into the animation process. Looking at the length and complexity of my storyboards, I began to realize that my story was going to take more than one minute to tell. I was now estimating about four or five minutes. That's a lot of animation, so I decided to ease into things by doing some tests. I tried out some different ways of making the mailbox move, and once I was satisfied with my approach, I was ready to tackle the whole project.