Film still from “The Temple”, a short film made by two boys in one of my workshops
Teaching art, and especially teaching animation is one of my most favorite activities. Usually I work on different projects with kids or adults at the same time. This time I’d like to show you a video which isn’t animated in a narrow sense of the word. But I take animation literally: it means something like bringing someone or something to life, and this what we did.
The two boys (10 and 11 years old) brought shadows to life with their hands, like old fashioned or Indonesian shadow theatre. Invisible Shadows was the title of an exhibition at the Museum MARTa in Herford in 2010. I teach there regularly, and during this special course we mainly worked on shadowy subjects in all kind of artistic media.
If your not familiar with the German language, the story told is this:
Once upon a time there was a lonesome temple. The sound of a gong could be heard everyday. (Gong stroke) One day, an archaeologist wanted to know who may strike the gong. "I'm going to investigate who has hit the gong!" said the scientist, and that's why he went into the temple. After he has entered the building, he heard the gong again. (Gong stroke) Later he found the room where the gong was: he discovered a light shadow – He definitely wanted to reveal who that was. (Gong stroke) Closer and closer he came – and found an old anchoret. Thenceforth they became friends and met regularly. "Bye, see you next week!" – "Yes, see you then!“
When I work with kids, I give them a simple script writing worksheet so that they’d get an idea of how to write an animatable script. It’s pretty simple, but amazingly helpful to guide them through the story. With these sheets you could develop a simply story outline within minutes (which is especially helpful when you only have a short period of time to work on a project).
All the props and puppets were cut out of thin black cardboard. The puppets have wooden sticks glued to their back so that they can be played without the hands being seen. The buildings also have triangular stands so that they stand upright. Everything is pretty simple and low-tec, but I like the aesthetics very much. We had a 250W spotlight lighting from behind and a screen of semi-translucent paper in front of our set ahead the camera. It took us about six hours to complete the film including set building, recording and editing.
So. Wanna too?
There are more animating workshops at the Museum MARTa in Herford (DE): I’m going to teach an one-day animation workshop for adults on Saturday, 22 January 2011. It runs from 11 to 5 o’clock, and we’re going to explore abstract and ornamental animation playfully.
This course is for people who always wanted to animate themselves but didn’t really know how to start. There’s no previous experience required. The fee is 20 €, and it would be great if you join us. Please call the lovely folks at the museum under +49 (0) 5221 99443015 for further information. Hope to see you there!