Sunday, 10 May 2015

Stop Motion Double Bill!

So recently, I've been looking at trying to get back into stop motion animation. I used to be really good at it. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of my older ones online anymore, mainly because the websites I've used to distribute them (first Google Video and later Yahoo Video) have since been taken down. It was a thirty-minute animated short that first got me attention in middle school. Before I presented that film I was a nobody, just some guy so desperate to get out of a crappy school that he switched halfway through the year. Afterwards, it immediately circulated around the school, being viewed by numerous members of the faculty as well as my entire class, and it became the start of my own rise to fame.

The film in question was a strange one, a musical centered around Indiana Jones teaming up with Han Solo and the Beatles, going on an adventure in a yellow submarine despite the bulk of the soundtrack consisting of music by Queen. Before that, I did a really bizarre pirate film also featuring the music of Queen (it was a swashbuckling adventure that featured appearances by astronaut Neil Armstrong and World War I ace Billy Bishop). Afterwards I went on to do an amazing science fiction parody centered around the lives of a group of strange characters on a spaceship headed for Pluto, with a weird climax that combined the famously surreal hotel at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey with Migrathea from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

In any case, after that incredible science fiction experience my work faded out. There were a few failed attempts to start new projects that never saw the light of day. That was until last year when I made a project for one of my astronomy classes in which I used stop motion and LEGO to illustrate how there is in fact gravity in outer space. I did two other shorts after that, one of which was a failed attempt to start a web series. The problem was that it was ultimately based on one joke: it was set during the Zulu War and the main characters were as far from the action as possible. The humor was mostly inside jokes, which was very ineffective since not very many people outside myself knew the slightest thing about the historical conflict I was referencing. There just wasn't material for a second episode.

However, recently, I've been looking at giving it another shot, which brings me to today's double billing for your enjoyment. So far I have animated two stop motion shorts this week, and I hope to do more. In this case, I have decided on an unusual approach: I made both as silent movies! This has proved to be quite useful, since it eliminates the trouble of voice acting. In the old days I usually had to do all the voices myself, which also had the unfortunate side effect that there were next to no female characters in my films; a bit ironic considering how well known I am for promoting strong female leads. By making the films silent, I was able to focus primarily on the animation and I can start using mixed-gender casts.

Both of these animations center around reasonably simple narratives. My first short, Crime Doesn't Pay, is a chase film centered around two crooks who rob a bank, and a cop who is determined to catch them before they get away. The second short, Emmett's Amazing Invention, centers around the character of Emmett from The LEGO Movie, who gets himself drunk and unwittingly builds what appears to be a doomsday machine. Once again, the cops have to figure out how to respond to this very unusual crisis, eventually building up to a strange ending that I will admit was very difficult to film. Here are both shorts for you to watch, and I hope you enjoy them:

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