I have been thinking about this class since I signed up for it. My background before this program was in theater, especially original, ensemble based theater. While ITP has been a blast so far, it’s been difficult for me to focus solely on content and story in ICM, PComp or Fabrication so I was really looking forward to animation. I’ve had two characters stuck in my head for some time now and all I know about them is that…one is an old man, and one is an old dog. I know the old man is lonely, that his wife has passed and that he talks to her. I know the dog’s days are numbered. I also know Samuel Beckett is a very influential part of my life and so is the comedy of the tragic.
For this first project, I just wanted to bring these two characters to life. I plan to work with them a lot this semester and I wanted to start to get a sense of what they were like. I had the idea that this old man visits his wife’s grave everyday only to find the flower he’d placed there the day before eaten to the stem. I figured it’d be a nice exercise in futility if he came back every day, pondered who ate the flower, placed a new flower there only to walk off before realizing it was his own dog who’d eaten the flower. The man isn’t necessarily upset by all of this for the same reason that Camus posited Sisyphus was happy: at least he has a task. It’s definitely a study in Waiting for Godot meets Sisyphus.
Anyhow, I presented the idea to my group and they were – luckily for me – super gung ho about it. I have to say, from the top, this was the most pleasant group experience I’ve had at ITP and perhaps in my time as an artists. We communicated well, bounced ideas off one another, helped each other grow, and – most importantly – each filled a very specific role: I led most of the concept and storyboarding, Jixuan really took charge of the artistic direction and aesthetic and Roi took the lead on the filming and editing. With that said, all three of us contributed on everything, but still there was a point person. Even the building of the clay figures was a holy collaborative experience. All parts of the process – storyboarding, buying the materials at Blick, setting up the shots, filming, editing, sound editing – involved valuable input from all of us.
At the end of the day, I’m really proud of the work we created. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind but it took on a life of it’s own for sure and I’m really excited to continue exploring these two characters lives.