Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
There’s a tendency, after watching experimental films, or viewing a modern art exhibit to say, “That’s not art, a kindergartener could do that.” Even though I’m ashamed to admit it, I’ve said that before even after watching films by Brakhage (gasps!).
Knowing what I know now, after completing the “elements” project, I have so much more respect for the art of manipulating film. Nothing I did on the project came out as I thought it would. I tried to make a plan for scratching and painting, but when it came to actually manipulating the film my plans seemed to fly out the window. There’s so much to think about, but all I could manage was to wonder how the colors were going to show up when projected.
When we watched the Scratch Film Junkies last class, I was able to follow along with some of the techniques they used. Which was fun, because the first couple weeks of class I was pretty baffled at how they did anything. Five weeks later, I'm still baffled at their work, but now it's because of how organized their films are. It takes so much more work than I could have ever thought to make a film as cool as one by the Scratch Film Junkies. I had enough trouble getting results that were predictable, I can't even imagine trying to add sound to the film, or even creating it according a sound track.
I guess what I'd like to see now, to further understand the process, would maybe be a storyboard of one of their films. Or see how they plan the whole thing out, that must be crazy detailed.
I could also be wrong in my musings about controlling the process, they may just be painting haphazardly, but I doubt it.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
If I never read another thing by that damned Michel Chion, I will be a very happy person. I’ve written two research papers on sound before and let me tell you what, filmy people must think Chion has Jesus’ ears. He’s referred to in almost every text on sound and I don’t understand why.
My main issue with Chion is that he can’t write about sound in a way I gain information from his texts. If learning wasn’t important in my approach to reading his articles, I’d at least want to be able to relate to what he’s writing, but I simply cannot. He is awesome for referring to when you need a little tidbit of flowery language about sound to quote for research papers though.
In this article, “Projections of Sound on Image” (for that matter, in everything else he writes), Chion tells us that adding sound, be that music, dialogue, or sound effects, to an image can drastically change the meaning. Who knew? I’m fairly certain in my assumption that as film scholars, we understand that sound is one of the most pivotal elements in cinema. I think Chion's issue is that the average movie go-er doesn't completely realize how much sound can change an image. The average movie go-er has probably also never edited raw footage, before all the fantastic elements of sound were added. The public doesn't seek out the opportunity to witness these differences. So, Mr. Chion, just calm down, us filmmakers and scholars know sound is important.
Also, Mr. Chion, the sad thing is, I completely agree with your sentiments about sound, but the fact that I had to eat 3 popsicles while reading this article to stay interested is not OK.
Wells never outwardly said that the orthodox style of cel animation is bad, but his tone sure did. I thought his comparison between experimental animation and orthodox animation was accurate, like that chart he made, yes that was good, and easy to read. Yes, traditional animation is narrative, easy to understand, and completely easy to watch. I gathered from this reading that Wells thinks this a sophomoric way to animate.
I grew up watching Disney films and cartoons. I love them. I can remember watching the Little Mermaid, Robin Hood, and 101 Dalmatians over and over again if I was home from school sick. In fact, I own two VCRs just so I can still watch my Disney VHS tapes either in the living room or my bedroom. For as much as Wells seems to poo-poo classic cartoons, they sure are popular.
As a very amateur animator myself, I think I can offer a unique perspective. I don’t animate like the orthodox Disney model. I’m not even sure what you’d call my style of animation, but it sure doesn’t scream Donald Duck. I don’t think Wells would go so far as to call experimental either. I like alternative forms of animation and that’s also how I like to animate. I like watching Robot Chicken late at night, but every now and then it’s fun to watch Fantasia too. Thinking outside of the box when trying to animate is something that is really fun, like using a scanner, or still photography.
I feel Wells’ frustration with the lack of mainstream experimental animation. But honestly, I don’t think there is a market for it outside of the film festival/art community circuit. Which is sad, because there are some awesome animated films that never get the fame they deserve. What I gathered from Wells’ “Theory on Animation” was almost like every other article I’ve read that compares a classic model for cinema versus the cinema of the filmmakers who try to stick it to the man.
Yes I will let my children watch Disney cartoons, but I will also throw in a little Harry Smith, just to blow their minds a little bit.