Transitions

I have been working to resolve a transition in the production of the film for the the English National Opera. Towards the end of the film we have our Tigress protagonist cry, and we have her tears bleeding into a pool of water which becomes the next shot. Preview below:

So I’ve thought about transition in different films. I’ve been trying to look at the work of the filmmaker Edgar Wright, director of one of my favorite films ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’. I believe the film is a masterful work of storytelling and among it’s many strengths is its use of transitions. “Edgar Wright is a master of rhythm … transitions are a sight of opportunity for Wright, they’re a chance to build important connective tissue that brings the viewer through the story.” visually in my story I’m working on moving the viewer from a moment of pain to one where we distance ourselves from it and see a glimmer of hope in the flowers by panning downwards.

“What’s important is that the film goer is involved and engrossed at the same time. This delicate balance is achieved through transitions that are often lyrical, like a kind of visual poetry in the most unlikely place. It might be worth noting that Scott Pilgrim is a film about a transitionary period in the hero’s life, a period in between knowing who you were and deciding who you’re going to be.” Similarly to Scott in my film our heroine is in a moment of transition. She is dealing with the loss of her home but at the end of that loss is an uncertain but hopeful future.

Nerdwriter (2016) Scott Pilgrim: Make Your Transitions Count. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pij5lihbC6k (Accessed: 30 November 2018).

Super Drags!

There has been an exponential rise in the visibility of the LGBTQI community in recent years and a large part of this has been the increasing representation of the community in the media.

Shows like ‘Will and Grace’ and ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’ have not only broken new grounds but have been wildly successful, especially Bianca del Rio, my heroine.

As Richard Dunphy put it “Perhaps the most radical aspect of queer politics was its claim not only to transcend the homo/hetero boundary but to do so in such a way as to challenge the sexual regulation and repression of heterosexual desire, above all female desire. Queer politics, it was claimed, had a lot to teach those accustomed to the narrow confines of ‘male’ and ‘female’ heterosexual roles in relationships. The re-working of notions of monogamy and the send-up of marriage through queer weddings, the greater sexual adventurism, the rejection of the concept of gay men and lesbians as ‘victims’ in favour of assertiveness and redefinition, and the emphasis on the creation of more egalitarian relationships in the domestic, sexual and social spheres, were all cited as examples of how queer could contribute to a new sexual agenda of empowerment.”

So I was very excited when I heard about Netflix’s new animated series “Super Drags”. The show is abound with sexual innuendo, and humor typical of a drag performance in the West Village. The story revolves around three gay co-workers at a department store that lead double lives as superhero drag queens, fighting crime and other forces like an evil queen and a conservative politician.

The show not only breaks new ground but challenges ideas in the community, of beauty and racial bias and outside of gay conversion camps and the increasing politicization of the community. I hope the show does well and is able to continue for more seasons.

Dunphy, R. (2000) Sexual Politics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Boss Bitch

I have been thinking about ideas for my final film. The key idea I have is centered around a homosexual relationship. So I’ve been looking at animation that works with LGBT and gender positive themes. I came across the work of Winona Regan and the film she made for Super Deluxe called “Boss Bitch”.

This piece functions as a music video for PTAF’s song ‘Boss Ass Bitch’. In my opinion is emblematic of Fourth-wave feminist work, with strong pop culture references, a rich colour palette, and a clear vocalization of the fight against discrimination and for representation in the workplace.

I believe the establishment of the internet has a lot to do with what this work says and how this video has disseminated “Many commentators argue that the internet itself has enabled a shift from ‘third-wave’ to ‘fourth-wave’ feminism. What is certain is that the internet has created a ‘call-out’ culture, in which sexism or misogyny can be ‘called out’ and challenged.”

What I enjoy seeing in this piece is the diversity in the women represented. “One of the key issues for contemporary feminism is intersectionality – the  idea that different axes of oppression intersect, producing complex and often contradictory results.” You see women of colour and varying age groups, as mothers and as professional women in this animation. “the experiences of working-class black and white women in the US are insurmountably different – yet each belongs to the category ‘woman’.”

'FEMINISM: A FOURTH WAVE?', Insight Plus, Available at: https://www.psa.ac.uk/insight-plus/feminism-fourth-wave (Accessed: 14 November 2018).

Rikki Tikki Tavi

I recently rewatched Rikki Tikki Tavi (1975) based on the original short story by Rudyard Kipling as part of the Jungle Book series (1894) and it made me think about how and what we choose the animate.

Although Chuck Jones is a masterful animator, this is something I cannot deny, and his work on the Mongoose must be commended and enjoyed, I find it curious his decision to adapt a story. Kipling is a contentious figure at best, and his abhorrent colonialist attitudes even for his time have long been argued and debated about. And given that there is no shortage of writers in the English language that have or are accomplished storytellers, or masterful writers from India that write in English no less. I find it strange that Jones chooses to dig up old wounds. The animation team attempts to bypass this by erasing all Indigenous people from the animation, similar to what Madagascar (2005) or The Lion King (1994) chooses to do. Choosing instead to divorce the story from its time and place in all but the title and initial shots and the credits, using Indian-esk music in the background to build suspense.

Invention of an Animation Technique

We are currently in the early stage of production in our English National Opera film process and I have been struggling over a decision I’ve made. The choice was between using Adobe Animate to create the animation of the film or to take the path less travelled and attempt to animate only in between Illustrator and After Effects.

Before this we had for a large part used illustrator to clean the shots for the animatic stage of the process and it is a software I and one of my teammates knows well. Conversely, Animate is a software made for animation so it includes important tools that will speed up the animation process. Unfortunately, non of my teammates have used Animate before.

Initial Rough made by in TVpaint.

Having decided to go ahead with using Illustrator, I am trying to figure out how I can streamline the process. For example, linking the project between Illustrator and After Effects has given us a sort of makeshift way of checking the

Frame cleaned in Adobe Illustrator.

animation, the use of plugins in After Effects has sped up the process of laying out each frame from Illustrator. We are also heavily reliant on the roughs of the shots made in TVpaint before we can clean them in Illustrator.

Still from shot composited in After Effects.

I’ve also been looking other technique inventors, I’ve reintroduced myself to one of my favorite animators Caroline Leaf. The academy award nominated animator created three landmark films and created a new animation technique with each of her films. Below is an interview she gave in 1975 where she demonstrates the technique of sand animation that she has invented:

I hope with this decision I haven’t doomed my project to remain incomplete.

Docued (2014) Screening Room with Caroline Leaf and Mary Beams - PREVIEW. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GotOotbrQE (Accessed: 1 November 2018).