A Dilemma Between Storys.

Some where on the blog ( 1 of 5 places) I mentioned how when i first walked into my 4500 class I had a plan. It was a simple story that had resinated with me. I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with an idea for my 4500 film over the last 4 years, ever since being excepted into the BFA spring of ’09. Yet for some reason I haven’t been able to come up with one. Its not that I haven’t had ideas, cause I have… a lot of them. However each one of them was connected to a certain style or effect that I wanted to use or do. So the full “story” wasn’t there, and when I would try and develop a story I get distracted from the story thinking/worrying about how i’m going to make it…silly I know but its something I’m struggling with.

The story that I walked into class thinking i would do was about making decisions that at first wouldn’t have been the one made. The theme came to me when I was recently looking for a place to move to. I transferred  this theme to the idea of a young child needing to pick a toy to bring to show-and tell. I internalized the idea and spent a good amount thinking about it before i wrote it down in a letter to my girlfriend. I was excited for it. It was a story that had a beginning to end. it had a theme that i connected to and felt like i would be interested in until the end of the projects. However when i expressed this story to some close friends it wasn’t met with the same ethucseasum. I was asked the large question of “why do it in animations” which is a valed question but not hugely supportive seeing as I’ve been struggling with coming up with a solid idea for so long now. However it got me thinking about other options…

The second idea that i’ve been currently bouncing around with arose from a class i’m in right now called ‘The Art of Travel’. I spent last year studying abroad in Lancaster, England, and did a lot of travel while I was over on that side of the pond. This got me thinking about doing a film that would utilise my experiences traveling.  I thought about doing a personal film illustrating where i went and what i did. This idea came from the fact that i lost all of my edited photos upon my return, and subsequently haven’t been able to share my travels beyond the photos that I had already uploaded to Facebook. But I’m not wanting to make a personal film about my life or what i’ve done. I want this project to be a personal film on a deeper level than that. Thinking about the film ‘Slacker’ I thought about how I could connect that to what I did while i was traveling, and thats people watch.

At first I thought that a good way for me to incorporate this would to do a film about someone people watching, and imagining about where the people are going or doing. This then evolved into using the camera as the person doing the watching and flouting between different people traveling but shifting to someone eles just as we see the first person beginning the next part of there travels. I would be capturing moments of different peoples trips. This idea would also allow for the film be come a circle in its structure, returning us to the first person that we viewed. However then thinking about the power that animation holds and how he looping effect/aesthetic could be developed through the transition of pencil animation, and the cross fades between images.

However before either of these ideas I was really wanting to make a noir/crime influenced animation. I thought about it for almost all of last fall. I wanted to give it a kinda graphic novel feel to it. I came up with a short script and was a kind of Odyssey feel to it. In which a tired detective was stuck at  working on a case that is left ambiguous for the audience. He is distracted from this case to work on an urgent kidnaping case… which ends up being a wast of time…

I like the idea of the detective not finishing the case, and is in some ways stuck in a loop of trying to figure it out, day in and day out….

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Finding a Narrative Form

Although my final project might be more “experimental” than a normal narrative film I still think it will be more then flashing lights, or scratches on films. Not because I don’t like those films but because its not the style that I’m after. Although I choose to put experimental in quotations marks because I’m a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. And when we think of experimental we think of Stan Brakhage, and for me personal “Moth Light”. If you’re unfamiliar with who Brakhage is, I recommend looking him up.

Anyways, even experimental films hold some type of narrative in them. It is simply the form, or structure of that narrative that is experimental. Something i find fascinating in both film and literature is the playing with the discoures of the storys. I like to think of this as the difference in the ‘How’ and the ‘What’. The ‘what’ being the story, the cause and effect of the narrative events. And the ‘How’ being the discourse of the story. Theres a lot of essays on the difference of these two and how they work together. I’ve written some on it, and believe (as of 2011) if i was going to go to get a masters it would be in the comparing of literature and film, with a focus on narrative theory. But one again off topic.

I have been very interested in playing with the form of my narrative for a long time. It began with an interested in the embedding of storys-within-storys like Christopher Nolan did in “Inception”. But taking it a step farther would be Richard Linklater’s 1991 “Slacker”.

Slacker (1991)

The wikipedia for the film says that it is a plotless film, which I would agree is true. However the film allows for the viewer to become involved with in a characters story (background or topic that their talking about ect) and then shifs to another character, and then another character and then another and another…

A similar structure is used in the Liberty Mutual Commercials. Where one person is seen helping someone, and then that persone helps someone else. Some one sees that act and then returens it to someone eles… its a similar chain of events. The commercials end with the person that first saw to good act being then the person that is helped, or something along those lines.

By returning to the  first person the commercials create a loop between ever thing that is has happend. Its this return to the beginning that i find interesting. In Richard Linklater’s film the film seems to die off. (it becomes very self reflective and ends with the ending of a super8mm film being filmed. While in the commercials the collection of unrelated characters are woven together into a loop.

I would love to incorporate this type of style into my project. Allowing for the audance to see a group of unrelated characters. Get to know a little bit about them. And then move to another character… and then another… until we come back to the first character, who is in a slightly different place, yet we gain a little bit more about them. The closing of the loop would be the closing of the story…


Giving it a Visual Style

I might not be to sure about what my final story will be but I do have a good idea of my aesthetic.

I would like to use a number of forms and styles of animations. I believe I will primarily us hand drawn, however I am interested in collage stop-motion as well.

Sample hand drawn

(looks better in motion)

As for color I would like to give my hand drawn works a watercolor look to them.

This is a link to a hand drawn animation i did a couple of years ago. I share it because of its simplicity. which is something that i’m interested in as I create my film world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t-dWpfKX5w

As for color I would like to give my hand drawn works a watercolor look to them. The music video Truth by Chiddy Bang (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAfKc9x01_k)  is an example of kinda what i’m looking for. I would use it for giving the characters clothes and maybe for giving the back ground an aesthetic as well. I would like the colors to alternate from frame to frame. This will cause there to be a lot of photoshop time but i’m ready for the challenge.

taken form Truth - Chiddy Bang

As for the mix-media part of the project I have in mind the an animation that was used by Orson Wells in “F for Fake”. In this film the animation is done through montage more then it is done through stop-motion effects. I’m not sure if its really the way i would use it as of now. But enjoy it as a means of telling story.

Taken form "F for Fake"

Taken form "Satellite" by Guster

Another form of stopmotion/mix media i would be interested in using is that of cut outs. Such as form the music video “Satellite” by Guster. If you haven’t seen this animation then I fully recommend it.

As for true stop-motion animation, I’m a fan of all of PESFilms. Specify  “Western Spaghetti” and “KaBoom!”. Both of which can be seen at EatPES.com

The Visual style will grow and expand… but hopefully become more defended as the project progresses. But this is the starting block from which I’m jumping from.


The beginning of a creation

Everything has a beginning. Philosophical I know.

This blog marks a type of beginning for this project as well as the class.

I would like to make an animation. I’ve known that my final film while in the BFA at CU would be an animation. However I also know that “story ” is one of the most important aspects of a film. Because of this I have worked hard a searching for a story, one that that would not only be captivating to an audience but also to me as work on it. That might go with out saying but its important to be interested in the project your working on.

A week ago I walked into class this a solid story. One i thought would work perfect for where I was and for what I wanted to do. This was a huge step for me. Because for the last three years i had been searching for this story, and was feeling way behind. I felt behind because i didn’t know what I wanted to do. And i didn’t what to be one of those kids that just throws together a project, a project thats suposed to be a significant sign in our Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, at the last moment.

Yet, after telling the idea to some family and friends my enthusiasm for it dropped… sadly. However after coming to class and seeing that I might not be the only one with out a clear idea of what I want to do, made me feel better, and gave me confidence that i’ll be able to finish this project and make something worth while.