more shapes


style frame for ‘shapes’ (working title)

This is a film about loss and grief with a hopeful ending of the missing shape being echoed in the life of the remaining, living shapes. Although other themes will feed in, this is what I would like it to be about. I am wondering if the story beats I wrote in my last post should allow more time for the last two beats – the loss/grief and the hopeful end.

Film references:
A film I have watched that deals with this theme is ‘Father and Daughter’ by Michael Dudok De Witt. The loss in this film happens right at the beginning. It is incredibly beautiful and sad.  Another film which I had in mind was the film ‘nuggets’ which through a very simple aesthetic and narrative, very effectively deals with the heavy topic of addiction. A different theme but similar in some ways in terms of a simple depiction of a tricky subject matter. Norman Mclaren’s abstract films are another reference. They were my first experience of watching an animation that wasn’t Disney as a child and continue to be an influence. There is something about the energy to them and use of colour and shape that inspires me. These three films have very different aesthetics but perhaps I can take something from each of them. The story telling, theme and repetition of ‘Father and Daughter’, the story telling and simplicity of ‘nuggets’ and the use of shape and colour and music of Mclaren.

Here is an article about animations that have depicted loss and spoken about death. I would like my film to be able to be watched by children, I think. I guess this may change as I make it but at the moment, I would.

still from ‘Father and Daughter’

still from ‘dots’ by Norman Mclaren

still from ‘nuggets’

Thinking about medium:
I really enjoyed working in this medium so I am thinking about keeping in mind the sorts of things the technique inspired us do when working in tv paint/hand drawn. For example when our character (we named him John) reaches up to bring his family in for an embrace the arms just grow and grow in order for him to do that. The space is quite abstract but those sort of movements – extensions of body parts – could be fun to play with in my new film.

This is something I have ended up doing a lot over the last year. I don’t think It is currently an animation technique in it’s own right but I think it should be! Working with a real life environment and placing characters on top, particularly line drawings, is a really interesting contrast and combination.

hand drawn
I always come back to enjoying the look of hand drawn animation more than on the computer. I am considering animating the film in tv paint but then colouring some of it using hand drawn… I would love to be able to colour using small index cards like Joanna Priestley used for ‘Voices’ but I think time restraints may mean I don’t do this…

Above is a Klee painting. For a long time a print of this painting has hung above the bath in my family home and I think this is partially why I like it so much, because I am familiar with it. I also like it because of it’s use of colour and line to create a whole landscape. I have been using little marks a bit like the ones in this painting recently for example the poster below. When animated these sorts of lines can also be satisfying. This could be useful when building simple environments for my shapes and their world.

Another recurring influence is Charles and Ray Eames. I love their use of bold colour and shapes. Looking at these images of their various toy designs has made me think of how I can combine the different shapes to work together.

I am going to try and get a very simple animatic for next week so I can work out a few things and test out what exactly the shapes will be doing.


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