Over the summer, I took a trip to the amusement park "Holiday World" with my sister and two young nieces. It is located in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana (population: 2,481), a small town in which Christmas music and santa statues permeate every single corner. While driving on I-65, my sister and I could have sworn that we both observed three large crows on the side of the highway taking turns eating out of a Chinese food takeout container. When I got home, I animated it.
With summer winding down (must resist inclusion of "where does the time go?" trope ...), I wanted to mention a few things about the various Floating Shape Workshop projects that have taken place the past few months.
- The Cincinnati Film Society was kind enough to publish an article that overviews FSW's (past and present) happenings this summer. Thanks, CFS! Speaking of our latest collaborative film, it was recently submitted it to an international youth animation festival. Fingers crossed.
- At the end of July, we did something brand new: hosted a workshop in which we created a collaborative short film, completely live. FSW was set up at 5th annual Good People Festival in Covington, Kentucky (we were there last year making flipbooks & zoetropes) alongside our pals at Robot Inside. I animated a short introduction and then had a live set up with a camera, animation rostrum and basic supplies. Then, each child/family who passed through while at the festival had the opportunity to add to the film by creating their own short scene (via either a simple cutout animation or filming a flipbook). It was an experiment in the truest sense of the word, but I was pretty proud of how the final result came out. I would estimate that about 25-30 children added to it in some way (pics and video below).
- Finally, our last workshop of the summer will be this Sunday, as will be hanging out with the Mini Microcinema during the annual "Second Sunday on Main" celebration in Over-the-Rhine. This is a free flipbook workshop for children. The previously scheduled workshop on August 15th at Westwood's "Wooden Hill" is currently being rescheduled for a future date.
I spent all of last week helping to make a collaborative animated film with 6 young children. Floating Shape Workshop hosted a week-long animation summer camp at Robot Inside. It was a great time, with each young animator collaboratively contributing to writing & storyboarding (14 pages!) pieces of the plot, as well as individually creating & animating the characters/backgrounds. The film is titled "Sammy Stingray and the Digestive System". It is about our protagonist stingray who learns about the digestive system in school, before being swallowed by a shark and managing to swim his way out with that knowledge.
Below is the video and some pictures from the workshop. Thank you to my pal Tara Heilman and her always welcoming & comfortable Robot Inside workshop space for hosting us! Getting to do these kinds of longer format workshops with more attention to detail (five sessions in 3-hour blocks) is simply fantastic.
I was fortune enough to get to create poster for the Mini Microcinema and their screenings/programming this summer (hence the sun centerpiece filming with a Super 8 camera). As I wrote about last year, the MM is a wonderful small cinema space that screens independent and experimental films of all varieties, including plenty of animation.
Even five years ago, it would have seemed impossible to imagine that anywhere in Cincinnati would show things Zagreb Film and Latin American animation showcases, the works of Sally Cruikshank, or the annual "Animation Show of Shows" shorts showcase. These extend beyond just your typical arthouse theater and show the true emphasis on all sorts of experimental film and animation as an artform. These are an animation junkie's dream come true, and the types of screenings you would previously only see in major city markets. And at that, the Mini is a nonprofit organization and every screening is free of charge. With that in mind, I highly recommend purchasing a membership to help support them. Oh, and when you buy a membership, you receive a large (18x 24") high quality poster of your choosing ... either mine here, or one of several by other local artists.
Here is the full schedule of Floating Shape Workshops events this summer! For further/detailed info on the individual workshops, click the FSW tab above. As always, each event is a little different (as such, costs also vary ... some free, some require registration).
This month (July), we are excited to be hosting a week-long summer camp at Robot Inside (coming up in just a few weeks, and space is almost full!). Each attendee will be making their own animated film over the course of the week. We will also be returning to the Good People Festival over in Covington, Kentucky for the second straight year. This year, we have a fun & collaborative, live animation project planned for anyone who comes by.
In August, FSW will host a flipbook workshop with the Mini Microcinema as part of the annual Over-the-Rhine "Second Sunday on Main" celebration. Our last workshop of the summer will be at Wooden Hill, located in Westwood.
Tomorrow night is the opening reception/unveiling for "Swap Meet", a unique and unconventional gallery show at The Carnegie (located in Covington, KY ... reception 5-8 PM). Back in May, artists dropped off a previously unfinished works (of all mediums), and then each artist selected someone else's unfinished piece at random. Tomorrow night's "unveiling" will feature the finished works now being displayed.
I had the good fortune of being able to make a flipbook out of a small mini-book created and bound by my friend Holly Prochaska (Boiling Point Books). Initially I had planned to just make it a drawn flipbook, but even using a thick brush, the drawings were hard to read over the psychedelic paper. I decided instead to use cutouts for the primary objects (clouds, fingers, lightning bolt) while using ink things like the grass and flower stem. Of course, I can't wait to see what a fellow artist did with the piece I originally dropped off as well, and unfinished watercolor painting of some sort of robot-like thing.
Due to the limitations of the short number of pages & thickness of the paper stock, it has to be flipped pretty carefully when holding it (hence the little cheat sheet on the first page), so I wanted to film it as well.
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Here is a collaborative new short film called "Earth!", which was made last month at a Floating Shape Workshop event. On the eve of Earth Day 2018, we set up shop at my good pal Tara's Robot Inside (in their beautiful new storefront location). This was a free public/community event, so any child who came by had the opportunity to contribute to the film.
All that was prepared beforehand was the traditional animation in the beginning, before the cutouts were added. We used a very quick & simple set up as we only had two hours of time. It was a different format for a workshop than I have done before, but I really think it turned out well. The majority of the materials used in the film were of recycled and/or scrap paper.
J. Otto Seibold is trying to pitch an animated television show, based on the concept of a rock band called "Bubblesoap".
I am a big fan of the work of J. Otto Seibold. Back when I was working on my children's book "Tunnel-Ball", I had a very nice (online) conversation with Jotto about the art of picturebook making and the dramatic changes in the landscape of publishing today compared to the previous decades. I gave his most recent book, "Lost Sloth", to my nieces a few Christmases ago, which has became an instant classic to them (if you are reading this and are familiar with Seibold's books, don't worry, "Olive" was already a Christmas staple for them). Also, Black Francis read Lost Sloth. Does it get any better than that?
Here is the link to a Gofundme page to help support the endeavor to bring Bubblesoap to fruition. I would love nothing more than to see these characters animated, so I hope, at the very least, this will open the door to that in one capacity or another.
Here is the completed film from the children's animation workshop that I hosted last Saturday. It was one of a series of workshops that took place as part of the Inbetween Animation Festival (put on by the Cincinnati Film Society).
The workshop was a lot of fun and a lot was accomplished in just two hour's time. Registration for the event sold out, so almost twenty children (ages 7-15) got to participate, many of which were experimenting with animation for the first time. The new portable, lightweight lightboxes for traditional hand drawn animation (for future Floating Shape Workshop events) also made their debut, and were a big hit. On this same Vimeo channel, you can also see the flipbooks that we made & filmed during the workshop.
Also, as I was cleaning up the room from my workshop, my friend Tracy Miller-Robbins began setting up for her workshop which proceeded mine. It was called "Animated Drawings" (ages 16+), and she was hosted it with her husband Rob. They also do children's workshops together as well (Cartwheel Animation Studio). Check out the awesome results from their workshop, too ...
As part of the inaugural Inbetween Animation Festival taking place in Cincinnati on April 14-15, I am excited to be hosting a youth animation workshop. Due to the nature of this workshop, it will be for ages 7-15, and space is limited (registration is required).
This is a special workshop for the festival that I am holding individually (independent of FSW), and will take place from 10am-12pm on April 14th ($20 registration required). My friend and fellow animator/educator Tracy Miller-Robbins is also holding a workshop called "Animated Drawings" (ages 16+). See an overview of all of the workshops (for all ages) happening here. The screening of the films at the festival will be taking place the following day on the 15th at the Esquire Theater.
Registration for the workshop is available here via the Cincinnati Film Society.
UPDATE: All spots are full for the workshop! Thanks and I'll see you on the 14th!