#5. Project Complete!
Thanks for checking in! I’m pleased to announce the completion of my 2018 MSAB Artist Initiatve grant project. Since my last post, I hosted two stop-motion workshops at Film North in St. Paul, finished my final ball and socket armature, and reported on my project to the State Arts Board.
In the time leading up to the workshops at the end of May, I found myself feeling really anxious about facilitating classes. I’m glad to report their success! We had 21 attendees, most of whom expressed a lot of interest in the project and in further stop-motion activities. Maret Polzine, Jordan Hamann and Hallie Bahn all assisted with facilitation, which was so helpful. If ya’ll are reading this, YOU’RE THE BEST!
The main activity of the workshop centered on building a plug-in wire armature. I haven’t written much about these before because the ball and socket puppets took up so much of my brain space, but I’ll give you a rundown now. Wire armatures are much more accessible. They are cheap and easy to make. However, wire, as you might guess, wears out a lot faster than solid metal rods. For this reason, wire puppets are more commonly used for short films or secondary characters in feature films. Even so, there’s still a good chance a wire puppet will need maintenance partway through a production. So, having the option to replace individual parts as opposed to the entire puppet makes life for the animator a lot easier. A plug-in style armature allows you to remove a broken piece (say, an arm or leg) without having to redo the entire puppet. I found a lot of disparate resources on internet forums and blogs about wire armatures. I pulled together the elements I found most useful to create a new plug-in design, as pictured below. This is what workshop participants made and went home with.
After the workshops, my time freed up so I could finish building the final ball and socket armature. You’ll notice a lot of similarities between it and the armature I featured in blog post number 4. The key difference is that the chest plate functions as a sandwich plate for two shoulder ball joints. Here’s a picture—
After completing the last armature, I stepped away for a couple weeks to collaborate with my good friend Kalen Keir to make a short animated film called 'Intern’. We devised the story together. Kalen made the sound design, and I animated. It screened as part of Hellavision Television Animation Show Episode 8 on June 20th. Watch it here. It was a good opportunity to stretch my 2D muscles again, and to reflect on the project as a whole.
Finally, I was required to report on my project to the Minnesota State Arts Board. The process of reporting was demanding, especially providing an analysis of the project’s impact on the community. I’m not sure the project impacted as many folks as I hoped, but I’m confident in the relationships I built with those who worked most closely with. All in all, this project’s primary objective was to expand my practice to include stop motion animation, and I did that. My hope is that by continuing to work in stop motion, I can bring other people in on projects, and the community will grow from there.
I’m taking a break from armatures for a bit to focus on screenwriting for animation. I’m also trying to organize screenings of stop-motion films at venues like the Trylon. I’m hoping to get some funding for a short film as soon as September, so we’ll see.
Thanks so much for tagging along while I carried out this project. It means a lot to know there are a few readers out there. If you have any questions about the project, don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, let me know if you’d be interested in hearing about future projects or events. My email is email@example.com.
All my best,