Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where I belong

creating 3-D animation
Newest addition to the 2009 Booklist

Most of this book was eagerly read under a huge pine tree, while my butt was going numb from the hard ground and the spiky pine needles. I didn’t want to move, because that meant taking a break. The book explains the departments at Aardman Animations (creators of Wallace and Gromit) and how the amateur film maker can use Aardman’s techniques to make their own animations. I found what I was looking for: a creative career that includes film and sculpting that is slow and yet deadline based, focused on details, repetition and getting it right the first time!

This epiphany happened when I saw the photo of a female model maker pressing purple polymer clay into a rubber pressmold in an organized and clean workspace. That could be me having an absolute blast! I’d fit in there: neat, wear an apron to work and a love and pride of creating precise molds.

It all makes sense now that I took a year of film classes while in Art School before switching over to sculpture. Originally I was studying visual effects, but I soon learned that working with materials and tools that I can touch and get dirty are what I find rewarding. I enjoy hands on creating where the creative problem solving is key to figuring out what kind of material and process would be best given the individual character, prop or set.

There are only a few stop motion companies in the world. This makes those artists elite, which is what I am constantly aiming for. On top of that, the companies have a strong reputation for executing everything with excellence and high creativity. That’s exactly what I want to be associated with. By working for a company there could be a variety of projects coming through the studio, like TV series, features, commercials, and experimental films, which would keep me motivated by the constant challenges. Plus, after these past five months of working for myself, I enjoy the idea of having a regular pay check and someone else taking care of the marketing. Since clay and puppets are so versatile, the genre is not limited but can encompass my favorites of dark and twisted humor with a juxtaposition of cute characters.

Now I have a director’s vision for my first stop motion short film. I’m going to storyboard and then sculpt the set, characters and props from a poem by my favorite poet, Shel Silverstein. I picked one of his shortest poems to start off with, since this will take longer then I expect. Besides shooting tests, I need better editing software that won’t bog down my computer, which has the capability of more than two tracks of audio.

Thanks to this book, I got the skinny on the history of animation. Most animators, directors and movie titles were new to me, but Terry Pratchett’s name stuck out. Earlier this year I read his book Sourcery, which I laughed all the way through. The stop motion TV series, Truckers, is based on Pratchett’s book of the same title. Thanks to youtube I’m going to watch it this weekend.

Besides learning best practices for animating, I read this book to interview Aardman to see if they’d be a good fit. I decided we would complement each other nicely: I absolutely love working hard, especially when storytelling and sculpting are involved. I am ready to move, anywhere in the world, to work with a stop motion company.

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1 comment:

  1. How exciting Elizabeth! This sounds perfect! I will pray that all of the right doors open for you, and can't wait to see your animation!