Story Changes !!!

Finding Our Title

Though we were well into the production stage in June 2020, we’re still calling our project the Kitemaker Film. We hadn't found a title to call our short yet, but it was time to think about it. I jotted down a list of potential words but none really feels right.


Sometime later that month, I was casually researching the history and culture of kites, which were very fascinating. One shocking fact that I discovered was that according to a German researcher, Wolfgang Bieck, the first-ever kite to be flown by humans was from Indonesia! It was a kite called Kaghati Kolope, specifically from Muna Island, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia (read more about it here). I quickly learned that ‘kaghati’ itself means ‘kite’ in the Muna language, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the word and thought how fitting and beautiful it is for our film’s title, and voilà!


So we eventually gained more insights on Kaghati Kolope by watching documentaries. There was also this online illustrated-children-book about it that I translated to English for our international friends. This research stage was very crucial as the last thing we wanted to do is to misrepresent elements, or worse, offend anyone. Everyone was very excited to learn about this leaf-made kite that turns out to be the ancestor of all kites!


Kaghati Kolope


Revising Our Story

The first half of July was pretty hectic. It slowly became clearer to us that in order to have a realistic goal, we would need to cut the beginning part of the short entirely and stick to just the last part (the garage scene). This would save us a ton of time from modeling and texturing the whole interior of the house, as well as cut down on animation and render time! Essentially, we can pour all our energy and love into a smaller chunk of the story.

However, the last bits of our original story couldn’t be left as it is; the audience will lack context and the point of the story will become unclear to them. I had a couple of friends that I showed our early animatic to and they both felt it was crucial to nail the first interaction scene between the girl and the grandpa, to lay down the chemistry of their relationship. Since we essentially need to cut down the whole beginning part, Amanda and I started revising the storyline to make sure we still maintain the integrity of our theme and message, while keeping all the action happening only inside the garage. I can tell you now that revising stories isn't a walk in the park...

There was a lot of going back-and-forth when revising our storyline. During those uncertain times, I happened to watch a documentary series Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II in Disney+ with Amanda. We gained so many insights into story development and how even the professional artists at Disney face significant story changes in Frozen II - even towards the end of their production stage! This documentary series motivated us to further re-evaluate what we wanted to share in our film, and focus our story on telling that in the simplest way.

into the unknown frozen 2.jpg

Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II

I used to believe that 'story is king'. After reading Ed Catmull's

I believe everyone in our team is beyond capable of 

I see potential in every single one of them, and what a pity if we don't

In my opinion, since everyone on the team is giving their maximum effort, we might as well deliver a high-quality short film not only visually, but story-wise.

We can't afford unnecessary shots or character animation; each frame should convey something relevant and impactful.


After a couple of weeks of tweaking different variations of the story, we finally settled down on one that all of us are happy with.

New storyboards and animatic cut!

Jun 28    - Change story I    → Girl ngambek, look at kite plane (Amanda’s V2)

Jul 9        - Change story II    → Girl trying to find socket, throws kite plane
Jul 11        - Change story III    → Possibility of using DS/Gameboy
Jul 13        - Finalized story!!!!    → Girl holds the spool as controller


Chapter cover by Alyssa Lee