It’s been two years since I left uni and a lot of things happened since then. (For example, I finished the animated short on that I’ve been working for five years.) I grew older. I got wiser. At least I think I did.
Sometimes things pile up to giant piles of DOOM!, and then you (or I) have to crawl through all these things and clean up the mess and set everything in order. This is what I’m doing with most aspects of my life right now.
To make a long story short, things had changed, and for more than I year I didn’t like my blog so much anymore. But then my favourite web guy started his own coffee roastery and hadn’t so much time to care about my websites. My second favourite web guy was busy doing a lot of other web jobs that probably got him paid. So I had to learn Html and CSS again and I needed to understand WordPress before I got a new dress for my website. But!
– Tadaa! Here it is!
I’m saying “Good Bye, and Thank you for giving my thoughts a structure for the past four years” to the old blog. But it’s time now for something completely different and I much look forward to work with this freshly dressed blog. Hey there, and Welcome Back, Beautiful!
The new website feels much clearer and I feel much relieved. To help you recall the old design, this is what the old blog did look like (less than 30 minutes ago):
A few things didn’t go as smooth as I expected when we imported the old content to the new platform, but I hope there are only a few links broken. If you find some, let me now – I’ll get you a small reward then!
My posts will still be about all around animation and art, about my works and about those from colleages and about what’s important for me.
I hope you’ll like the new design as much as I do. I’m glad you’re still here!
– Jess ♥
Recently I found the animationsequence.com on the internet and after browsing their website for a while, I wanted to contribute an animation myself. The idea: Start and end your animation with a 2D square of 250×250 pixels in the exact middle of the screen, choose whatever colours and style you like and then transform the square into something of your choice and back within up to 10 seconds. Deal!
If you’re reading this via rss feed, watch the video here: square : bird : square on vimeo.com.
When I outlined the idea/the storyboard for the animation, I wanted to create something funny that contains at least a tiny bit of character animation. – Cute animals would probably always do the job (or, as my granny suggested lately, “I heard you can make a lot of money with cat vids on the internet nowadays. Why don’t you make a video with your cats, too?”).
Anyway, I created vector illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, retouched them in Photoshop and then edited them in Final Cut. Part of the animation is keyframe animation, part is traditional frame/replacement animation based on vector images.
I recorded the sound effects using my own voice for the first time and enjoyed it pretty much: I just love the quirky things in life. Basically the animation sequence project was a good excuse to try a few things playfully that I’ve wanted to try for a long time. Also, it’s still one day left until the deadline, and I’m already done? Just by playing instead of working? How nice is that?
I had a great time making this animation. Enjoy, and make sure you have a look at all the other entries as well!
Two days ago I did a small test animation on book pages because I was curious about the final look. It’s something like an animated illustration of a depressed guy who feels safest when he hides inside a book (or so):
Things I used for this animation:
- an old book from the flea market
- utility knife and ruler to rip of the pages from the book
- puncher and peg bars
- pencil, pen, colours and markers
- a light table
- a scanner
- image and video editing software
How I made it:
First, I drew 12 images of the guy who simply nods. I wanted a very simple animation that I could loop easily once it’s finished. Book lovers should stop reading here: I then cut out 12 pages from the an old book and traced the initial drawings onto the page. I next drew the outlines with a pen, and coloured the drawings with different materials.
After I scanned all the images, I did a tiny colour correction in Photoshop and edited them in Final Cut. That pretty much was it.
The best thing about this little piece was the smell of old books that always comforts me…
I don’t think the animation works pretty good since the element in the foreground is rather small compared to the noisy background. But I also think it could work if I’d change some of the parameters: I think there should be a bigger contrast between the foreground and the background. So I either draw the person in the foreground bigger and also bolder or I crop the image to achieve another relation from front to background (more front, less bookpage).
Contrast is a very important issue in animation, I think. We always create artificial worlds for our audiences and if we wish them to see a certain thing in a film, we must make sure that they’re able to do so, that there is enough contrast between the background and the action.
Anyway. It was great fun to make this little piece and I’m hungry for more. Let’s see what I’ll do next…
And you? Any plans?
Have an awesome weekend!
– Jessica ♥
If you follow my blog for some time, you already know that I finished and released my film Ins Dunkel in June. If you’re new to my blog, hi! You can watch my animated short here: https://vimeo.com/jessicakoppe/ins-dunkel.
If you ever, ever consider to start an animated film project that is going to take a lot of your time and energy, please read this first:
I started this blog in 2008 to write down and document the process of making an animated short on my own, and I always find it crucial to reflect everything I do, and in this case it means reviewing all the things that has happen over the last five years. I still try to understand what’s happening right now (which is a lot, actually, but I’ll tell you later).
Havi Brooks is one of my favourite internet people and she has this wonderful weekly ritual in which she reflects upon her last seven days publicly without judging herself. I’m going to copy that format and I’ll try to reflect whole film project without judging myself, too.
So, here we go: I’ll chicken my film project, Ins Dunkel.
The Hard Stuff
It took me impressively long.
I wanted to do it on my own and so I did. Even though I did a lot of jobs to pay the bills and even though I created the whole piece on my own, I often felt ashamed because it took me so long. I often thought that I’d never be able to finish it, although I never thought of giving up, too.
People thought I’d probably never finish the film but kept asking about it.
The asking was really hard. „So, how is your project going? Do you know when you’ll be finished?“ Ouch. Shame and guilt. Lots of. And being afraid that they might be right.
It was exhausting, especially the last weeks.
It was because of all the emotional stuff that was connected to the film project but also because it is simply exhausting to produce, design, build, animate and edit (and also distribute) such a film all on my own. Creating a piece like this was pretty challenging for me: I did the research, experimented and made all decisions. I tried and erred and started again. I learned so much, but learning often is exhausting, too.
So much old pain.
Emotions don’t know time, they’re always in the present. There were a lot of „What if everybody laughs at me?“ and „What if nobody wants to see my film?“ and „What if I fail?“ and „What if [insert any traumatic childhood experience here]?“ So many what ifs…
The Good Stuff
I learned so much.
I learned so much about
- time and energy management
- set and puppet building
- what I want in animation
– The whole experience was like a big study on how to make things like this possible. And now I have this big purse filled with experience and I can easily access and use them. Nice!
The premiere night was all worth it.
I asked for a wonderful premiere night, and I got one. When the audience applauded, it was such a relief and I enjoyed every second. My film made people cry and think about beloved dead friends or relatives, and it was touching to see how much I am able to touch people’s hearts through my art.
Every minute I spent working on my film was necessary and important.
Even though I felt ashamed and guilty for not finishing the film quickly, I knew that every step of the process was necessary. The whole project was created in babysteps, and I couldn’t have skipped one of them.
I’m far more confident now.
I sent a proposal to an animation conference, I applied for another animation artist-in-residence program and I already sent my film to 15 international film festivals. I don’t have an answer yet but I’m damn proud that I sent out all these apllications.
I made several new internet friends
and some of them are amazingly supportive and awesome artists themselfes. I also met some of them in person, and I love to know that there are wonderful people who help and appreciate my work. (Hey guys!)
I still want to make more crazy projects like this.
Beside all the guilt and shame stuff this was so much fun. And even though the whole process contained lots of Hard Stuff, the good things weigh more that all the hard things.
I now know what I’m able to do.
I know how to solve special problems now, and how long things will take me. I know how much rest I need and when I’m able to work like a perpetuum mobile.
You want to add you thoughts? Great! Please make sure not to give any advise on how I may overcome my guilt and shame thingy. I’d much appreciate that. If you have similar experiences, just write them down in a comment. – This blog is a safe place and all about sharing.
It’s so nice that you’re still here even though I haven’t written a world in a while, and I have so many things to tell.
Where was I?
It’s been almost four weeks now, that we celebrated the premiere night of my latest animated short, Ins Dunkel, and somehow I’m still a bit jet-lagged and exhausted. The last weeks of finishing the film has been so intense and everything went crazy. Now it’s done and I slowly find my way back into a daily routine (hadn’t much of that in May).
A lot of things I delayed then wanted my attention and suddenly there was a big pile of To Dos. This was the moment when I realized that I do too many things at the same time. I try to establish a career in arts and animation, I try to pay my bills by doing graphic design and workshops. But now I think that I don’t want to divide my energy anymore. I want to focus on things that I’m truly interested in. And suddenly I got another solo gallery show in October and a lot of other weird (but great!) things happened. I’ll tell you as soon as it’ll be a settled matter.
How was the premiere night?
Awesome. It’s been as I asked it to be. When I talked to the people involved before we started, I said I’d like to have it like a hermeneutical Montessori experience, and that’s what it has been like!
Everyone had a wonderful evening, and was touched by our program and nobody said, “I don’t like your film”. I got a lot of compliments and some fair and kind criticism. While the film was one the big screen, I died in my seat but most people seemed to love it. Thank you all for being there!
I already sent the film out to several international film festivals and I expect the first notifications if they take me in or not in about four weeks. Wish me luck! I so much want the film to be seen by a lot of people!
Due to all the international readers of this blog, this is the English version:
I’m pretty nervous to ask for this: Please watch it. And if you like it, tell other people about it. I haven’t worked five years on this film just to hide it in a drawer. And if you really, really like it, head over to my Think Trickfilm online shop and support my work with a purchase! – I appreciate your support so much!
See you soon!
– Jessica ♥
I have big news.
Since 2007 I’ve been working on my animated short, Ins Dunkel that is going to be released next Saturday, like, you know, NEXT SATURDAY. It’s almost finished and I want to celebrate this milestone with you. And I want hugs!
So herewith I invite you more than warmly to join the premiere night next
at 8 p.m.
at the Filmhaus cinema
Since the film runs for about 12 minutes, I thought it would be appropriate to bring some other nice folks in to make this a remarkable evening that will take a little longer than 12 minutes.
Art and Literature
We’ll start with literature: Christian Knäpper, a friend, actor and reciter from Bielefeld will introduce you to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice before we watch the animated short. Even if you already know the tale, come and watch him, Christian’s awesome!
After the film I’ll show a making of to give you an impression of how I made the film and how I work in general. Then, as that night’s last act, Birte Kassenbrock (from Münster) is going to moderate an interview with Phillippe LaVille (the music composer) and me that hopefully leads to an awesome Q&A with you, the audience. After that, the event will come to a smooth ending with some informal talks, and I’ll probably cry for the rest of the night because I can’t believe what will just have happened.
I want it pretty personal. The whole evening is going to be about art and how you’d be able to follow your dreams and inner needs. It’ll be about love and desire. About film and stop motion and music and fine art and literature. Not in arty fartsy, but in a way that is close to life.
About the film
The film tells the story of Orpheus, probably the most talented musician of ancient Greece. After the early death of his beloved wife Eurydice he descends to the Underworld to rescue her from Death. His music is like a magic spell and it charms even the Gods. Initially it seems that his quest leads to success.
You have no idea how much I look forward to celebrate this moment with you! If you make it to Bielefeld that night, please come and join us, I’d love to meet you there!
Excited internet hugs,
The (German) film website: www.ins-dunkel.de
Oh, and did you see the trailer?
In my part of the world it’s still Sunday, and this is great because I’d love to share my Top 5 finds of the week (in no particular order) with you on Sundays:
- The social pressure for upholding the copyright monopoly laws is close to non-existent.
- Art is able to change our perspectives on how we see the world.
- How arts changed everything (video).
- Composer Danny Elfman on his long collaboration with Tim Burton
- What are we talking about is tools (video feat. Jahn Lasseter).
Enjoy the reading! And don’t forget the premiere night of Ins Dunkel next Saturday!
– Jessica ♥
Sundays I’d love to share my Top 5 finds of the week (in no particular order) with you:
- A major stream of human accomplishment is fostered by a culture in which the most talented people believe that life has a purpose and that the function of life is to fulfill that purpose.
- How Laika Used 3D Color Printers To Create The Stop-Motion Animated Movie ‘Paranorman’ and 50 Other Things We Learned On The Set
- May the sweet bird of success land on your shoulder today.
- Stop. Snap. Move. Repeat for, Oh, 10 or 20 Years.
Plus a bonus video: Make good art. – That made me cry.
Enjoy the reading!
– Jessica ♥
When I saw the fully rendered trailer for the first time, a tear ran down my face and I cried. I cried tears of joy and happiness and relief and just because I found it so beautiful. … Wait until you see the whole piece!
Thank you all for being here! I can’t tell how grateful I am to have such an awesome group of people around here supporting what I do.
Lots of love to all of you,
– Jessica ♥
Stills from the latest animation.
95% of the animation for my animated not-so-short Ins Dunkel is finished.
The release party will be in less than three weeks.
I’m close to crazy, and I’m still not reading any news sites, so no inspiration today…
Stay with me!
Excited internet hugs,
– Jessica ♥
U P D A T E
100%. One hundered f*cking percent of the animation is done! As in, “DONE!!!”
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. I just can’t.
More information on this soon.