The critics have spoken
The Exigency has been available online for a little over two weeks and reviews have started to show up for the film. The consistent piece of feedback is about the bad and outdated visuals. Especially in the beginning, there's no doubt that the visuals are bad. However, it was my hope that people would be more forgiving of the visuals and could just enjoy it for what it was.
A majority of the people commenting are not forgiving me for subjecting them to bad visuals. My thought was that an intriguing story and characters was all I needed to make it good. I could theoretically make a compelling story with sock puppets and have it be intriguing enough despite it being made with sock puppets. Apparently, visual appeal is more important than I had anticipated.
Maybe the combination of the bad graphics and the trailer selling the film as an ultra serious piece is turning people away. Anyone who has watched the movie can see that it does not take itself too seriously, but at the same time, maybe still more seriously than it should. Overall, it is self-aware of what it is and so am I. I also cannot say that it was a 'stylistic' choice because it was all I knew how to do and it isn't an excuse for bad animation. In the end, every form of art has a "style" and having one doesn't mean that it is immune to criticism.
Based on this feedback, there's no doubt that a bigger focus for the sequel will be visual quality. Although, it will still not be super realistic because my knowledge, skills, and time only go so far. Unless I have a huge render farm and a team of 500 people, it will not be super realistic. Plus, the goal is not achieving realism. The goal is to tell a story and I can do that however I choose to do it.
I believe we are so accustomed to Pixar and Dreamwork's animated films that anything less than that quality is shamed. Not to say that there aren't people who haven't enjoyed The Exigency for what it is because there has been some positive feedback from people I've never met. Both the good and negative feedback keeps me going. The good feedback motivates me to move forward and the negative feedback motivates me to improve. A special thanks to all the trolls out there who think they're shutting me down to their level of misery- you're actually helping.
Another piece of consistent feedback is that the movie is much longer than it needs to be. I also agree with this, and I could say the same thing for Lord of the Rings. The runtime is the biggest reason that The Exigency was divided up into a trilogy. The movie would have easily been another hour. I like making big films and sometimes I might go a little too far because I have a hard time letting go of ideas. It was difficult for me to delete the scenes that I did.
The plot thickens in the sequel so I don't expect the runtime to be under 2 hours. However, the film's pacing will be faster so that we're avoiding the lull. The goal is to make it bigger and better overall. Feedback from all around is gathered and absorbed in my mind like a sponge. I'm excited for what is next and I hope you'll be along for the ride.
One of the first renders for the sequel