Progress Presentation Feedback

By November 5, 2015 May 5th, 2016 Honours Project

Earlier this week I presented the progress so far regarding my honours year project. The presentation can be viewed via Google Drive.

In the presentation I explained my background in stop motion animation and that it is something that I’d like to try in university. In explained how I started with a lot of questions which have guided me so far but many remain unanswered and that I was not certain on my research question for the project just yet. However the rough direction I was going in asked the questions:

  • What is the appeal of stop-motion animation?
  • Why would an animator choose stop-motion over other mediums?
  • What are the processes behind stop-motion animation?
  • How can I use stop-motion animation to better my skills at animation and filmmaking

It is my goal to make a short animated film in second semester but I’d be focusing more on the animated craft rather than narrative or characterisation where I am not as skilled. The film would include things I’d learn through researching throughout the year.

I described some of the techniques that Barry Purves had mentioned in his book Stop Motion: Passion, Process and Performance such as the use of texture and lighting.

I showed some of the animation work I’d done so far such as the short fight scene and the rover on the alien planet animation. I explained how I’d tried to understand how some elements of using stop motion are unique to that medium however I was aware that some of the animations were made purely for the sake of making and that I’d hope to uncover questions to ask by animating.

I also mentioned how I’d started to study films by identifying common themes and elements and comparing them to other films I’d studied. I was building a framework that would help my analyse other films and I’d build upon it to get an understanding of the visual appeal of stop motion.

Some examples of texture and materials were shown and I described some ideas I had for the coming weeks for what to try next. Finally I showed some further reading material that I was interested in looking at. Examples of which can be found in the presentation slides linked at the top of this post.

I received feedback from tutors Lynn Parker and Simone O’Callaghan. The response was overall positive and the feedback was informative, the main points being:

  • They both seemed to like my presentation and thought I’d put in a good amount of work. Lynn and Simone both have a soft spot for stop motion animation so the familiarity with the subject helped them to see how I may continue the project in the future.
  • I talked a lot about focusing on the process of stop motion, but I should perhaps read more about the others aspects of stop motion and the exploring the process will come naturally.
  • I should expand more upon the imperfections of stop motion animation and what affects they can have on the quality of the animation such as its style or influence on genre. There is potential on this path if I choose to look further into it.
  • I mentioned the potential creepiness stop motion can evoke but I only scratched the surface. There are particularly grotesque stop motions by people such as Jan Švankmajer. I had mentioned Quay brothers but admitted that I hadn’t explored their work as much as I’d liked. I think it’d be good to look at all of the mentioned directors to understand what kind of darker animations can be made with stop motion.
  • I was suggested to also check out a documentary about Cosgrove Hall and a film called Tale of Tales (1979) which is considered by some to be one of the best stop motion animations.
  • Begin to look at concepts and ideas for the final outcome.
  • I could use questionnaires or interviews to question other animators about the quality of motion in an animation.

Overall I am happy with the presentation and feel more confident in the work I am doing. For my next presentation I will start it earlier and talk with a tutor beforehand. A lesson learned from this presentation is that I left the slides and practice too late which led me to be pretty nervous and I’m aware that I must have seemed like a nervous wreck while talking.

Looking forwards, I can begin to think about new practical exercises to do, and what purpose I have for doing them that relates to my project aim. The next hand-in is the project proposal which is where I will better clarify my intentions for the project’s direction. I will also need to come up with a more concise research question.

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