Older Work

Shapeless

This is where it all started for me. It was spring 2005 and I was a junior in high school with a little experience in video production. A good friend of mine, Craig, had an idea for a stop-motion about a clay blob that doesn’t fit in and he had a Boom Bip song in mind. Our goal was to finish in a month in order to enter it into our school’s film festival.

We knew virtually nothing about stop-motion animation except it is created frame by frame. The clay we used was potter’s clay (with no armature) and continually needed water to keep from drying; our timing and spacing was completely haphazard; we used room lighting, a shaky tripod and table with no set. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun and we managed to win Best in Show at the festival. Granted, there was not much competition.

Thirty-Five Thousand Feet of Despair

(Unfortunately Warner Music Group has blocked the YouTube video on copyright grounds.)

After Shapeless, I became entirely over-ambitious. I was really into the Flaming Lips at the time and wanted to make a stop-motion video to a song from their Zaireeka album about a pilot who goes crazy mid-flight. I was determined to create it during the summer between my junior and senior year (the same summer I was determined to do a million other things including überman sleep which would facilitate this laundry list of goals), but I quickly found out how daunting this goal was.

I started out with a shot-by-shot list that matched certain points in the song. That was the easy part. In order for me to create what I saw in my head, I realized I had to move beyond what little craft skills I’d acquired from public schooling. By Christmas break the same year, I had completed pre-production work and was finally ready to start filming. Unfortunately, as soon as I started I was completely unsatisfied with it that I quit entirely. It wasn’t until the following summer (2006) that I decided to try a different approach with the pilot instead of using the failed puppet I had created. Instead, I filmed my friend, Craig, and put him into the scene. Although I am still unsatisfied with it, I am happy that I returned to it and finished just days before I moved for college.

Malaria Codes

After finishing ‘Thirty-Five Thousand’ I was eager to start a new stop-mo project. Unfortunately, I found a semester in a college dorm room to be not very conducive for this. I became determined to use the 4 weeks during winter break to create a simple stop-motion animation. I decided to do it as a music video like the previous two and the song I chose was Malaria Codes by The Octopus Project. Amazingly, I actually finished in time.

A Shart

After Malaria Codes, there was a long lull before I completed another short. In summer 2007, I made a couple tests including a 15 second chalk animation with my friend Craig (and which I am now trying to turn into a longer, cell animation). I also tried looking into better armature techniques, but had yet to create a working puppet. It was not until the fall of 2008 that I completed another short. I was in a class called media aesthetics and our final project was a team presentation. I was able to convince my team members to talk about stop-motion animation and as a part of our presentation, I would produce a short. I had also started working at a coffee shop where I met a musician, Joel, who was interested in creating some stop-motion. ‘A Shart’ is the product of drinking while animating.

Untitled Undergraduate Summer Scholars Project

In the summer 2009, the summer between my junior and senior year of college, I received (miraculously) a research grant to create a stop-motion animation short. I would have the entire summer and a small budget and living stipend so that I could devote my entire energy to this project. I began the summer not entirely sure of what I produce a short about. I decided the most important thing to learn from this experience was armature making. I found an amazing blog (the inspiration for this one) at Scarlet Star Studios which taught me how to make a amateur brass ball & socket armature. I created one that was not quite animatable, but it gave me the idea to make a stop-motion about a robot that malfunctions and goes crazy. I worked with Joel again on this one and while it is not yet a professional-quality short, I certainly learned a lot from this project.

A Pizza Story

Although I was a production major and continually pursued video production as a hobby, I did not take the introductory production course until the last semester of my senior year (concurrently with an advanced course and after a production capstone). Our first project was either a mini-documentary or an experimental film. Out of a class of roughly 50-60, our group was the only one to choose experimental (not to mention stop-motion).

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