The Finishing Touches
I spent my free weekend time making little tweaks to some of the shots in this sequence that bothered me. They were minor things - but after I made the changes, they made a HUGE difference. As I work, I always do the best I can to "keep it moving" so I don't get stuck with pointless little details. Sometimes as I move forward, I forget things that I've learned in the past.
In the case of these two shots, I forgot about what little information you need to read an action. The tweak here was that the alien raises a note that Santa looks at. One shot had the note close to settling and the next shot continued the settle (always cut on action kids). I liked the previous shot's last pose so much, that I left too many frames in and the hook-up was flat. I realized - you don't look at the note in the fist shot - only the second. You need to read the "action" - not the "message" here. Removing the frames at the end gave me frames to add with the alien reaching behind his back (which was too rushed originally). Just goes to show how effective an editing process can really be.
The other tweak had to do with the Santa jumping shot. I had a two poses at the end that read better as one pose. Another hard call because the removed pose looked good - just didn't work after tremendous effort to make it work. Another lesson of simpler is better.
So you probably noticed by now that the Alien is holding up a note to Santa that he wants a little boy. This is the big "surprise" of the film. The story is set up where you are made to think the obvious, but learn that the boy is just as much an alien to the Alien. The boy and the Alien are really meant for each other. This is a wholesome little tale where two who are meant for each other find their way to be together. I love this sappy crap.
At some point, I'll talk about all the visual parallels I created that subtly tie the boy to the Alien throughout the film.