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 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 ...
On Saturday, I hosted a wonderful, all-ages Floating Shape Workshop at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
All-ages events are always some of my favorite, because while FSW is primarily a children's workshop, seeing families attend and animate together can be a very beautiful sight and experience. Sometimes, the biggest smiles can come from parents/adults when they end up surprising themselves by making an incredibly fluid flipbook and then film it to see it play back on the screen. One family of four at this event each created their own flipbook & short cutout/claymation experiment. Excellent!
Also, before the event got underway, the workshop attendees got a brief guided tour of some animation-centric photography exhibits in the museum. The museum currently displays Eadweard Muybridge's sprawling 1877 "Panorama of San Francisco", and of course we then got to look at the classic "animation locomation" examples via the zoetrope.
It was a truly fantastic and unique workshop. Thank you to the Art Museum and their Rosenthal Education Center space for having me, I hope to do it again in the future.
... and here were the flipbooks that were made at the workshop (the first hour was flipbooks, the second was experimenting with 2D and stop motion methods). I love the spontaneity in the results when you give both children and adults blank flipbooks and see what they come up with. From bouncing balls to an anti-pollution message to a shark eating a boat to an anthropomorphic slice of pie.
2017 was the first full year for Floating Shape Workshop, the mobile children's animation workshop that I launched back in the summer.
In total, FSW hosted eight workshops this year, at creative venue spaces ranging from art galleries to libraries to festivals. Keeping the community-oriented spirit in mind, children of all ages & backgrounds got to experiment with different animation methods and many got to make their own films (collaboratively & independently).
I am very excited to soon announce some of the workshops that are already scheduled for 2018. I am also very appreciative to all of the individuals and local organizations who helped us along the way in 2017, In addition to the workshops themselves, some truly spectacular surprises and opportunities along sprung up along the way, such as getting to spread FSW across the airwaves on WVXU (Cinci's NPR affiliate-station). Some workshop films also made their film festival debut all the way over in California (more on that below).
I want to again thank the following local organizations and creative venues who either helped us or opened their doors to host a workshop: the aforementioned WVXU, the Public Library of Cincinnati, Robot Inside, Kid Vid Fest, Thunder-Sky, The Good People Festival.
Below is "Kindness Is ...", a special collaborative film made by eight young animators at a FSW workshop. This film was screened at the California youth animation film festival "Kid Vid Fest". Using the festival's theme of "kindness", each animator (using a medium of their choosing ... drawn, cutout, clay, or sand) animated a scene of their idea of an act of kindness. If you haven't already, please check out FSW's YouTube channel, where I do my best to archive all of the ongoing films and projects being made at the workshops. Also be sure to check out the full gallery by clicking on the Floating Shape Workshop tab at the top of the site.
I love flipbooks, and the flipbook workshops that I do with the Floating Shape Workshop are some of my absolute favorite activities. Aside from the accessibility and "fun for all ages" element to them, there is something magical about someone making their first flipbook, and seeing the animation happen right in their hands. Of course, this is typically most prevalent with young ones making their very first flipbook, but I have found that they can also be quite thrilling and fun with adults as well (who probably haven't bothered to make any animation since drawing on the corners of their school book several years ago). In a longer workshop format in which children will ultimately be making a full film, they are often eager to get to the point of using the camera. However, I find that the introductory camera-less projects like flipbooks and zoetropes can end up being just as rewarding. It is a piece of created animation that can fit in their pocket and be taken home to show to friends and family.