The Making of Going Postal (page 4 of 5)
Illustration showing the front and back of an animation cel

The front and backside of a cel

Shooting and sound production

Finally, the cels were ready to be shot onto film and the end of this production was finally coming into view. I had completed three semesters of the animation course at SVA and had decided to finish up the film on my own. So at this point I was no longer taking an animation course. My next step was to find a camera I could rent to shoot the film. I decided to shoot my film onto 35mm film stock rather than a smaller gauge like 16mm because I had been told that film festivals prefer 35mm. Since I wanted to place my film on the festival circuit, that sealed my choice.

I found a camera and stand to rent in New York City. Since hiring an experienced camera operator can get very expensive, I decided to shoot it myself. This turned out to be even more grueling than cel painting. Motion picture film is very unforgiving. There is no "undo" button, so if you make a mistake you must completely reshoot the scene you goofed up. Since my film was over five minutes in length, and each second of film has 24 frames, there are more than 7200 frames in my film. Each of these frames had to be shot individually. The cels under the camera were changed every other frame. It took almost two weeks of full days to shoot the film (and re-shoot my mistakes).

Once the film was shot and edited it was time to design the sound. This was the final stage of production. Normally in animation, the sound mix is done before the animation so that the animation can be synched to the voices. Since there is no talking in my film, I was able to post sync the sound.

I found a recording studio in NYC and spent an afternoon there mixing sound. Most of the sounds came from the studio's library of sound effects. With computers, we were able to create some sounds by mixing and distorting existing sounds. For instance, the mailbox's roar is actually a distorted lion's roar. Other sounds were made in the recording booth by yours truly.