Tag Archives: Animation

(SHORT NOTES) A Little 9/11 Animation

Around this time of year, the Internet and TV shows and people turn up the volume on an ongoing 9/11 discussion that permeates our nation’s consciousness. I’ve been debating whether I was going to write about it, but I’ve ultimately decided to keep it short and to share something that’s inspired me over the past year.

It’s called StoryCorps.

As their website explains, they’re an “independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” My interest lies mainly in their animated shorts, which are directed by the brilliant Rauch brothers.

Through these shorts, they do what I hope to do in my future through the mediums of animation and writing. In just a few short minutes, each video teaches you about what it means to be human. And that’s some powerful stuff. I had the privilege of seeing them speak in New York, and I’ve been hooked on their work ever since.

So, whether you talk about 9/11 with your friends and family or keep thoughts, if any, to yourself, watch this video called “John and Joe.” It’s important that you do.

 

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(ON TOPIC) My Final Animation Project (Or, a Lesson in Sports)

In January, my Introduction to Animation teacher told my class we’d all have to make twenty-second animation shorts in May as our final projects. I let out a laugh suffused with skepticism because 1) I didn’t know how to draw and 2) I didn’t know how to animate and 3) I didn’t know how to draw. The video doesn’t really need any explanation, but Tina Fey convinced me otherwise.

Tina Fey, you see, is one of my creative heroes, so I decided to turn my journal into a memoir à la Elizabeth Stamatina Fey’s Bossypants. I figure it’s better to write about elementary school now when I’m closer to it than I will be when I’m 50. I say 50 because I’m giving myself until then to actually achieve something that’ll justify my writing a memoir. Pray to Beyoncé I don’t die before then out of literal and figurative annoyance upon discovering that one more person in this Digital World is addicted to Angry Birds.

So, 32 years in advance, here’s the first page of the first chapter of my memoir:

CHAPTER 1

Matt

(Or, A Lesson in Heteronormative Expectations)

What follows is the funniest joke you’ll ever read and later recite to friends and family and strangers:

Sports.

Now that I have your attention, let’s get serious.

I don’t actually think that sports are a joke. Sorry I lied to you, dear reader(s). (Please keep reading?) While I can wrap my head around people wanting to play sports for recreational and communal purposes, they’ve largely been a confusing thing up in my brain place. For one, they happened to plant the very first seeds in my mind that I was gay, even before I learned the meaning of the word “gay.” Nevertheless, this isn’t necessarily why they confuse and/or anger me. (See chapter entitled Why Sports Confuse and/or Anger Me for further explanation.) But let’s get contextual.

My earliest memory of feeling “different” than my heterosexual male classmates was in the fifth grade when people were asking each other to the school dance. There was this highly anxiety-provoking thing called “recess” where boys reinforced their gender stereotype by playing sports and girls reinforced theirs by braiding each other’s hair on the sidelines. By definition, then, I had to be on the field. But all I wanted to do was run over to Becky and say, “Becky you crazy sonofabitch!!! Stop murdering Nakita’s hair!!! She doesn’t have flowing blond locks like you do you little cream puff!!!” (Life Lesson #1: Black hair is different than white hair. My dad owns a beauty supply store that caters to black women so he taught me this. Elaboration provided in chapter entitled A Goddess Among Men.)

Then one day a girl in my grade asked me to ask my friend Matt if he’d go to the dance with her. This made me feel sad. I wasn’t in love with Matt so much as I was innocently obsessed with the idea of Matt. He’s who I wanted to be—straight, good-looking, and athletic. It seemed he was created according to the way boys were “supposed” to be made, which allowed him to follow life’s “rules” without really trying. He kind of had it easy this way. In other words, he was really lucky and didn’t even know it. (Life Lesson #2: Luck is awesome when you have it and sucky when you don’t. In other words, luck is a little bitch.)

If you’ve accepted my over usage of double quotation marks and parentheses, I now welcome you to turn to page two…

(SHORT NOTES) Video: Radiohead Rotoscoping Exercise

I’ve spent the majority of my hours this semester with a Centiq pen in my hand. (Centiq pens, dear reader(s), are these magical pens that allow you to draw right onto a computer screen, like drawing on a digital piece of paper.)

Here’s a short rotoscoping exercise I had to do using a short clip of Radiohead’s music video for their track “Lotus Flower.” Rotoscoping is an animation technique where animators trace live-action footage frame by frame to create animated footage that feels a whole lot like real life. Think “A Scanner Darkly” or “Waking Life.”

COMING UP NEXT:

1. My final animation project, a forty-second hand-drawn movie.

2. An update to the “Travel” section covering my experience interning at the Cannes Film Festival in France.