Every Time We Say Goodbye

When we received this assignment I had a narrative in mind that I was very anxious to explore and, not wanting to force my ideas on anyone in the class,  I decided to go it alone. This wasn't necessarily the best choice: I don't know a thing about After Effects or Photoshop. With that said, I knew I had a little extra time to pursue the project so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Having already had a fully fledged narrative in mind, the first part of the process was quite easy. It was everything thereafter that was a complete nightmare. I knew I wanted to use and old man character but I didn't want to rely on my non-existent Illustrator skills to create one. Instead I decided to use photos of someone that I knew would be in abundance online: Samuel Beckett. With that solution a new problem arose. How was I going to be able to use photoshop to turn Beckett into the character I needed him to be?

Enter Rebecca's Photoshop tutorial. Thanks to her screen record of that class I was able to do all the things I needed to do with Beckett and all of my other characters. When it came to learning After Effects however, I stuck to the simple basics: the pin tool, keyframes, etc.

There were definitely sometimes I had to adapt my narrative to limited After Effects ability I had but I think the changes ended up working. While the animation in and of itself is no great shakes to look at, I'm proud that the story is - I think - clear and the message is similar to the one I intended to tell at the assignments outset. 

Stopmotion

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.