I decided to pursue this project because of an interest in film and stop motion animation that I’d had forever but never pursued. I became interested in the stop motion film medium after seeing the movie Coraline by LAIKA studios and believed it would be the perfect project for me because it combined film and physical art. I did not have any prior experience in stop motion animation before taking on this project; however, I did have extensive experience with visual arts.
There were four steps to completing this project, but I didn’t finish them in order. In fact, I didn’t even realize there were four steps until I completed the first two! Jumping back and forth from step to step, I learned the importance of preparation and the sometimes painstaking consequences of not being prepared. The first step was writing a script, which was straightforward and easy. However, there were multiple times where I had to go back and be flexible with my script based on what I realized were realistic goals and what were not. Writing a script took me a few hours. The second step was creating my puppet, which involved the most trial and error because there is no guide to making the perfect puppet, which led to me experimenting with different strategies until I found something that worked. Building the puppet took about three weeks.
I had initially planned on filming without a set, but I quickly realized that I needed one when I started. I ended up pushing my schedule back by weeks to fit in time to design, build, and decorate my set. Creating a 3D model of Starry Night in my own vision was the biggest highlight of my entire project. Making all three sets took about three weeks.
Finally, once I’d finished filming my project, which involved taking hundreds and hundreds of photos I had to edit the photos. Initially, I thought the filming portion would only take about two days, but it ended up taking two weeks. Filming required the most patience out of everything I did. The process of editing also took around two weeks.
If I continue my project, I will film some additional footage and add in more scenes that were part of my original vision. I will also edit out the armature that’s visible in the back of the earlier scenes. I may also have someone produce a unique soundtrack for my film or make one myself. This project required a lot of patience and trial and error, but in the end, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself as an artist and student.
This mini summary doesn’t even begin to convey how much work went into creating my puppet Penelope and the gallery and painting that made up my set, but it was a lot. (You can find a much more in-depth description on my project website!). For anyone who wants to make their own, I advise that you do your research first before you start buying the various pieces. In some of the artwork I create, I just sit down and start drawing or painting, or sculpting. With this project, I realized that in filming a stop motion picture, planning how you are going to create your vision is as important as the vision itself.