In February I was given the seed of an idea by Jennifer Kennard of Letterology.
One crafternoon at her house I made a paper doll with articulated appendages. Over the next month or so I made a lot of them at home.
It was fun to make them move.
I wanted to make a movie but I had no idea how to do it. Once again Jennifer planted a seed. She suggested contacting Seattle Central College and seeing if a student there could help me. Enter Sam To!
Sam is a design student at Seattle College. (He graduates this week). He knows how to do stop motion animation, 3-d animation and many other kinds of design. He is comfortable with technology. He is efficient and responsible and flexible. We met, and I explained that I wanted to make a stop animation movie where my characters danced around. He suggested that we make a story – not just a dance. So I made up a story about a character named Zuleika. I cut some new dolls. Sam came to my studio.
Lights! Camera! Rearrange lights! Rearrange camera! Try again!
The table had to be dismantled and the camera tucked into the rafters. Then Sam took many many pictures while I rearranged the dolls. A few weeks later he made the images into a movie called Zuleika and the Strange Bean. The seed of an idea had sprouted.
Click on the title here to watch our movie Zuleika and the Strange Bean . (The music starts a few seconds after the visuals…)
Now I would like to plant a seed. Sam has just graduated. Hire him!
If you are looking to hire someone at your design firm you couldn’t do better than Sam. He is capable, creative and responsible. He has lots of ideas and can make them happen. You can see his portfolio here at www.hieuto.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Well, this is fantastic!
Thanks! I think your characters would make good paper dolls…
I love this! What a great idea! And what a fun video! Thank you for sharing your inspiration.
That kind of attention to detail requires a lot of patience – well done!
Are you familiar with the amazing cardboard silhouette animation of Lotte Reiniger? A German animator, who made beautiful short films like yours – except her dolls were always black silhouettes – of classic fairy tales, from the 1920s right through to the 1970s. You can see her brilliant films on youtube – definitely worth a peek! Although Walt Disney refused to hire female animators (the old chauvinist!) apparently he begged Lotte to work for him – and she refused, preferring to work in a simple studio she set up,with her husband as the camera man. Her films are truly enchanting.
I love Lotte Reiniger and own a videocassette of one of her movies, although I no longer own a device that can play it!
On June 2 the Google animation was an homage to Lotte Reiniger. I don’t know if it is possible to go back and look at it. It was good.
I didn’t know the Disney anecdote, but I’m glad she stuck with her own studio. Her characters are much pointier than his.
You’re so inspiring, Julie. Sophia, my 8 year old granddaughter is coming this afternoons. We’re going to watch your film together. I wonder what will happen after that?
I hope you make paper dolls!
Love all the paper dolls and the video! Sam is very talented — I’ve always admired people who can do stop motion animation.
Thank you! Yes, Sam is talented. There was a portfolio presentation at Seattle Central this week and I was amazed by his work (and by his fellow students). They are comfortable with so many different types of media.
I really love work that involves paper or lino cut, it just adds something so special.
I agree – there is a difference between a drawn line and a cut line. You have to be direct with a knife!
I think you need to make more!
OK- I will. You too!
You can get all of Lotte’s work on dvd from Amazon – I’m saving up for the entire collection! I’ve also just discovered the superb work in this vein, of French artist Michel Ocelot – I think you would love his paper cut out figures in his short films – ‘Hidden Treasures’ and ‘Prince and Princesses.’ You can see excerpts of Ocelot’s work, and Lotte’s as well, on youtube – divine! I think your little film has immense charm, Julie. Computer animation, for all its slickness and sophistication, can never capture this elusive charm. It’s the magical allure of the hand made – it’s painstaking, but worth it in the end!
I don’t know the work of Michael Ocelot. I will search him out. Thanks!
Totally wonderful. Way to go Julie! Loved it! Your style shines. Rae PSâ¦might you be able to fix spelling of your name at caption line? More, More! >
Beautiful film! I love how you get to a certain point and continue the story without words. Love your characters. Am going to show this to my son who’s done some stop motion video for school projects. This may inspire him.
Thanks for your comment! We tried the movie first with no words at all but it got a little confusing.
I hope your son has some more fun with stop motion – there are so many possibilities there.