directing Making film-changing decisions

There are times in some if not all movie productions where a massive decision arrives. A critical moment which could change the course of the entire production. Many here have known personally of what I speak of.
Wether if it is changing a massive part of the plot, deciding to abandon certain locations for new ones, changing the whole theme of the movie.
Perhaps deciding the re-do the entire production again-these decisions define filmmakers.
For at heart we are problem solvers.
My current production is at one such cross roads where everything could change, so far this film has been in the filming and shooting stage for nearly a year and a half. Before that was years of pre-production. It is my first (real, official) film that I’m making. My goal is for it to be a hit and I’m determined for it to be no matter how long it takes.
I’d be grateful for all your opinions and feedback and expertise as I am no seasoned expert in this. Lol you can turn back now it will be a long read (if it hasn’t been already) lol.

Quick movie summary of themes and all.
-Is a fantasy film Lord of the rings type
-Villain is a corrupted man who wanted to change the world, kept on failing so eventually his methods of making a difference turned into being a conqueror and forcing his ideals onto people
-Main characters village is destroyed by the villain and he has to survive while trying to find other survivors of the attacks
-There are other massive fantasy plotlines such as mazes, armies clashing, castles,

I have to tell you right now that my ambition and my inspiration has been very VEEERY over misplaced as you will soon learn my budget for this whole thing: $1000.

Ive been planning this since before I was a teen, practicing making other films along the way and when I came to this one I really wanted to pull off a Walt Disney. Make an insane film that’ll blow everyone away even tho they didn’t expect it.
So now that you know the background, here is what’s happened and the very big decision I’ve gotta make.

So, before today the film had been going on a steady course and was actually building momentum. This was planned to be a feature film up until a decent ways into this year (after many attempts I realized what I could and could not do) then I started cutting things down, doing reshoots and making it into a short film. (Lots of the story changed and it became shorter and less grand) Since i was making it as a short film 10-20mins things went smoothly, the film has been wrapping up with last scenes planned to be filmed in New Zealand mountain ranges.
However today something reminded me, there could be so much more. The short film is pretty good I’ve had it reviewed through its production and it would do great in festivals (apparently) I try surround myself with critical people. But I’ve cut out things like grand mazes and giant battles.
then I started adding some animation, attempting to put some shots of fortresses and marching armies etc. it’s worked great so far then I wondered...then the big decision came today.

Should I animate the entire film. Animation has no limits except for the imagination I could do everything I wanted....
But I’ve already basically done the short film, it’s “decent.” If I decide to do animation then years of live action shooting will have to be wasted.
With animation I could make the feature I always wanted to make, the reason I held off before was because i thought I wasn’t a good enough animator until I did some tests (adding forts and armies marching) into the live actionl

-Should I make it an animated and epic feature
-Should I finish my short film and go through with that

i’d appreciate all replies and opinions
-Should I make it an animated and epic feature


-Should I finish my short film and go through with that


You’ve spent years on your very first film?! You seem determined that your very first film is going to skyrocket you through the festival circuit and into the heart of the industry. Props for the determination and all, but when will you finally decide it’s actually done? And completely shifting gears on it now means it will be how-many-more-years until it’s finally done.

9 times out of 10, a first film is going to suck. Maybe not in its entirety, but it won’t be perfect or even close to it. It might even be pretty good, all things considered, but not great. Almost never will it be what the filmmaker envisioned. It is, after all, your brainchild and your passion project.

But these films are learning experiences, and you can’t really learn from them until they are done and are succeeding or failing in front of real audiences and at real festivals. Finish it, be done with it, learn from it, and move on. If it does well, great! If not, you know what to do better on the next one.
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It's like you bought all the ingredients to bake a cake, and now you want to open a bakery, not only a bakery but the best in the world. And you still haven't baked that cake!
-Should I make it an animated and epic feature
-Should I finish my short film and go through with that

i’d appreciate all replies and opinions
Finish the short film.

Reading this it seems to me you want everything all at once. But you also
know that getting there takes a lot of work. Do the work.
Animation has no limits except for the imagination I could do everything I wanted....
And work on the animation too. There is no reason you can't do both.

Have you learned to composite the animation with live action? If you
have, do it. If you haven't, now is the time to learn.


Finish that short!
If I decide to do animation then years of live action shooting will have to be wasted.
It's rare for any time or experience to be truly wasted - unless you choose not to learn from it!

There's an old joke in Ireland about a lad asking for directions and the advice he's given is "if I was you and I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here" That sounds like very much the situation in which you've found yourself ... but you do still have the option of changing your ultimate destination.

There's a bit of crossover in your question with the one I posed a couple of weeks ago. Maybe animation is the way for you to create the world you imagine, and tell the story in a longer work than live-action would ever allow you ... but that doesn't necessarily mean that your storytelling is a effective as is could/should be - longer isn't necessarily better. There's also no reason why you can't do both - and you ought to be able to use the skills learnt in one discipline to help design your shots in the other.

As everyone else has said, though, you need to finish what you start - either by completing the live-action short, signing off on it and putting it out for others to watch, or by making a positive decision not to do any more work on it (ever!) and treating it as a learning exercise. There's no shame in that - if you were working in business, you'd be expected to have several failures before hitting the big time with that One Great Idea. Either way, treat the animated version as a completely new project, and don't invest a huge amount of time or energy into it until you're ready to see it through to the end.
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As everyone else here has said, finish the short.

You need to keep in mind, almost every single director or filmmaker has been slightly if not completely upset with their final piece. That is just how it works. If you are completely happy with it, then you aren't being honest. There are always things that could be change, I have changed a ton of things about my short film I am working on. Completely gutted certain scenes due to budget. But the core of your passion should stay in the process. The "reason" for the original attempt. If you change too much, you risk falling out of love... Which is not where you want to be with ANY project.

Like @directorik said, do both. Maybe not all at the same time, mind you. Finish up your live action. It's almost done! Don't give up now!

Then make another (completely different) story within the same world animated. Make this as a preview or prologue to the story? Maybe a flashback to the whole thing? Maybe a story about one of the more interesting side characters.

Dead Space (the videogame) is a great marketing story. It was at first a Resident Evil 4 clone, but they made it so much more by creating an animated film and even a comic series to expand the lore. This helped market the entire franchise, and they were able to make even more games afterward with the total money earned.
Thank you all for your kind replies.
From this I gather that all of you think I should go through with the live action-or atleast complete it-or try to do both.
I think what I’ll do is I’ll wrap up the live action short and release it separately but then I’ll also be doing an animated film as well. Then I can release both around the same time and they can be compared/contrasted.
Also debunk this isn’t my first film, I’ve made around 3 previously but they didn’t work out as expected.
This is my first (real) film that I’m trying to make. But now I guess it’s 2, both live action and animated.
I love also the realistic replies and that no one here is being a cushion and telling me to do what I want lol. Thats the worst curse in the industry is people not being realistic. (As I find myself being the opposite of realistic).
As reply to AcousticAI this will probably take the rest of the year to animate (I’ve done many test animations before). Animation is actually my strong suit and here are 2 posters I made for the film so you can see “some” of what style I’m
Going for. I’m really going for this to be a huge, big film Lord of the rings sized in its epicness. Those illustrations aren’t complete but yea.