Sunday, January 13, 2008

Old School Films

Playing with the magic Canopus some more this weekend (my last REAL two-day weekend before teaching starts again), I've captured a bunch of my old films from my University of Michigan days for posting to the masses. In no particular order, here's some of my roots.

This one is from an "animation" class I took which was really more of a course on how to use Director 5, which was kind of a pre-cursor to Flash. The main character was actually built out of clay and animated into basic poses, which I took photos of (non-digital, mind you), scanned them in and imported them into Director. The TV images are a combination of 2D animation and still images. This film won first prize for digital animation at the final term film screening, which I was absent for because I stupidly mis-read the schedule for the radio station and had to do a show that night. This was created in 1997.

The second level of this Director course dealt with creating an interactive animated project, so this one was a "game" of sorts that included roll-overs and movies that played when clicked in certain places. It was technically never finished...there was supposed to be a different "horoscope" movie for each Zodiac sign, but I only had time to do half of them. All the animation was done on paper and scanned in, with the notable exception of the fly and the baby fairy, which were "puppeted" in real time by moving the icon with the mouse and recording it. Primitive but fun, also from 1997.

Flashback a couple years to 1995 and my first 16mm filmmaking class. I didn't direct this one really, but rather starred in it, and technically was the "producer." I was in a group with 3 other students and we all got to share director, producer, grip and cinematographer on different projects. This was the "lighting exercise" film, shot over the weekend right before Halloween. It wasn't too difficult to act in this, since I for real can't play basketball and I seem to remember being pissed off the whole time. The soundtrack was also mixed by myself...I used 'Apostrophe' by Frank Zappa and a spooky Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song from the 'Natural Born Killers' soundtrack. The music synced up perfectly as I mixed it LIVE along with the film, with no planning involved. Twisted but fun...the moral being that idol worship solves any athletic shortcomings.

This was our final film project for the semester, which ended up being 'co-directed' by myself and a student named Ed Tsai. Our team had a difficult time agreeing on an idea for this film, so I thought, "why don't we make a film about a person who can't think of an idea for a film?" That way we could each come up with a little idea to use, though in the end it was me and Ed's ideas that made it. Ed came up with the "Superman" and "romantic melodrama segments", and the "boy-girl-donut" and "WTF?" segments are mine. Again, I also mixed the entire soundtrack.

Within this same class, there was an 'experimental film' project which I chose to direct, combining live-action with my first attempts at cut-out animation. I was going to hold off on posting this one due to a not-so-good film transfer, but I figured since it's on YouTube with not-so-good quality anyway, what the hell. My story is not complete without it. Just ignore the fact that a cat goes through the projector at the climax of the film, OK? Once again, I mixed the entire soundtrack and the classical piece I randomly selected JUST HAPPENED to sync perfectly with the actions as I played it live along with the film...don't ask me how! The lead actress in this film, Amanda, was a musical theater major who was in another film project we did (which doesn't have any sound so it's not very exciting to watch) and we liked her so much we kept using her over and over. She's particularly brilliant and deadpan in this one.

This is my independent study film "Random" which was mostly done for experimental purposes and getting used to animating in clay. My brother Dan joined me in animating some of these segments, some of which were done in our basement, others in my dorm room. The B/W stuff was all done, sadly underexposed, on the school's Oxberry. Music by Frank Zappa makes it a bit more bearable to sit through...this film taught me a lot about timing.

Here's a bunch of "dweeble" animation I did on my first actual animation job with Steve, all done at his house for Media Station in Ann Arbor, for the CD-rom game Tonka Search & Rescue, only playable on Windows 95 and ended up given away for free in cereal boxes. That being said, I did find another post from someone who was quite fond of the game in his youth, which also includes little animations I did. This animation was all done in Photoshop at 10fps and compiled in Movie Player, for various parts of the game.

And from my Vancouver past, here is most of the animation I did at VanArts during the one-year program, almost 10 years ago now...

And my Halloween costume from 1999, wandering the streets of Vancouver as the Skeksis Chamberlain from 'The Dark Crystal.'

Good times all around. Still to come...Snot Living...

1 comment:

Ryan McCulloch said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing, I especially enjoyed your 2-D stuff, which was REALLY good. But when do we get to see Snot Living????