Monday, April 29, 2013

Ranking the 6 Variations

1.  Crowdsourcing Part 2- Watching the video with the frames together was a great experience and I was really impressed with how well it turned out. Also, crowdsourcing is just a really cool concept.
2. Cameraless- This one was a lot of fun. I enjoyed working directly on the film and I was happy that my animation turned out the way I wanted.
3. Multiplane Animation- Working with Erik and Scott on this was great. When I'm rich and eccentric I'll probably make multiplaning a hobby.
4. Bolex Long Take- I was very relieved when we were able to get everything the way we planned it in one take.
5. Rhythmic Edit- The only reason this one is so low is probably because my editing PTSD is still fresh.
6. Crowdsourcing Part 1- Because media fasting caused me to gain weight from eating out of boredom.

My Rough Theater

My rough theater is improv. I'm part of a new local long-form improv troupe called 4-Prov. The members are Chelsea Deaner, Aerial Fowle, Ryan Trimble and myself. We initially were meant to do just two shows together but then we were like "This is fun, we should do this always." We never perform in a theater we usually perform at the Juggling Gypsy and at Nutt Street's long-form night. We've also found a somewhat home at Orton's Underground. So, bars, we perform in bars.

We get in front of our audience, get a one word suggestion and then create a 10 or 15 minute story off of that one word. There's nothing perfect or polished in our execution. These aren't stories we've rehearsed several times; they are brand new. We're discovering them at the same time the audience is. Sometimes it goes over well and we get a huge laugh from the audience while sometimes we get heckled by crickets. Once we had a show at Orton's at 7 and at 7:10 we did not have an audience. To remedy this we went outside and performed on the sidewalk to generate interest. We entertained a group of ghost walkers while more people arrived to see our show continue inside.

It's improv. We make stuff in front of everyone. It's my rough theater and I love it.

Reflections on Crowdsourcing

What I got from the crowdsourcing project is that the final product tends to have a greater impact because it represents the voice of several people. If a project is written/directed/produced by the same person then that product takes on the voice of its filmmaker; it becomes part of them. When I watched our crowdsourcing video I was overwhelmed with the personalities and voices of my classmates. It was really incredible. Everyone and their friends put a great deal of time into creating those frames and once they were put together I got to witness everyone's individual creativity fused together.

Participating in a crowdsourcing project is a positive experience because it requires trust. By participating in a crowdsource you are trusting that everyone else that is involved will come through on their. You're trusting that they are as involved as you. When the filmmakers behind Star Wars Uncut launched their project they were trusting that there would be enough fans who are as passionate about Star Wars as them who could complete the entire film. Their trust was correctly placed and rewarded. Crowdsourcing is an optimistic venture because it causes you to rely on others and hopefully have that trust rewarded.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bolex Long Take Reflection

Our Bolex assignment has an accidental theme. As I was leaving my apartment I decided to grab my Captain America frisbee because I thought it would be a fun prop. I had completely forgotten that I was already wearing a Captain America t-shirt. When I arrived at Kenan I saw Erik was also wearing a Captain America t-shirt. We found our theme. We took the frisbee outside and toyed with the idea of discovering a mystical frisbee only to be interrupted by a thief. We rehearsed throwing the frisbee and having Matt run past us while one of throws the frisbee at him to stop his thievery. Neither Erik nor myself could hit a moving target so we compensated by having Matt run wherever the frisbee landed. The final punchline was that the thief (Matt) does not get stopped by Captain America's shield. Instead he just takes it and now he's a thief that has stolen the shield. We made the mistake of having Scott, who was operating the Bolex, run behind Matt. This shot caused  the footage to be blurry and you can't see that we threw a frisbee at him at all. We rehearsed several times and were able to shoot in one take.

Developing was fun. It was our group, Denny and John developing at the same time. We locked ourselves in the black box, taped down the door, turned on the red light and then realized we didn't have the rubric on how to develop. So we put the film back in the cameras, took the tape off the doors and went and got the rubric. We came back, turned off the lights, reapplied the tape on the door and then realized we didn't have any scissors to cut the film. Again, we put the film back in the camera and went back to the classroom. Now armed with scissors and a rubric we reapplied the tape to the door and took the film out of the cameras. Once we unspooled all of the film, Connor knocked on the door and reminded us that the other groups also needed the cameras that were locked in with us. Oops. Erik and John took the unspooled film and hid in a dark corner while we took the tape off and were about to open the door when we remembered that the other groups would need to come inside to load the cameras themselves. So we put the tape up and told Connor that we would load their cameras ourselves.

This proved problematic. One of the cameras wouldn't load properly and the film kept getting jammed. Denny pointed out that there must be something wrong with the film. I found a portion that was damaged and cut it out. That worked. We loaded the cameras, took the tape down, opened the door and gave the other groups the cameras so they could shoot. After that we took Erik and John out of the dark corner and actually developed the film.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2nd Response Exercise

        The Barbel Newbauer did not correlate with its music for as far as phrasing was concerned. They did share a similar style though. The piano was joyful, spirited and light while the animations featured several circles of various sizes spinning or freewheeling. Aside from the style, the music and the animation operate independently of each other. The animation was bright and vibrant and the circular theme went so far as to repeat certain animations and movements. While the music is independent of the animation in the Barbel piece, the St. Louise video corresponded and reacted to the music. The pace and urgency that the patterns appeared on screen depended fully on the rhythms from the bass. The style of the visuals would also shift with the song to distinguish from verse and chorus.

Orthodox vs. Experimental Animation

           In Wells' "Notes Towards a Theory of Animation" he establishes his criteria for orthodox animation and experimental animation. He considers the mass-produced cel-animation to be "orthodox" because it is the one that is most used and most recognized by audiences. From there, Wells notes the main differences between orthodox and experimental by breaking down the use of styles, story-telling, even the presence of the artists. I think another key difference between these two forms is their intended audience.
          Experimental animators do not reach out to the same audience that orthodox animators target. Orthodox animation is distributed to the general public. It is consumed in movie theaters and on television. That is why orthodox utilizes specific continuity and linear story-telling, that is what is most accessible and pleasing to a general audience. When I say "general audience" I mean the majority of the populace that consumes entertainment a.k.a. "most people". When most people are introduced to experimental animation they try to find a linear narrative because that is what they are accustomed to. When they cannot find that narrative they are often disappointed. The amount of skill and labor that went into the process of creating the piece is lost on them. That is why the key audience for experimental animators tends to be other experimental animators or at least other people who can appreciate their artistic talent.
          With the exception of his specification of cel-animation, Wells' definition of orthodox animation can be applied to other forms of animation. For example Aardman's claymation productions and Pixar's computer animated features meet Wells' criteria of orthodox animation. I think this shows that while there is a divide between orthodox and experimental animation, orthodox animation still has the ability to evolve into new areas previously discovered by experimental animation.

Sunday, February 17, 2013