Animation : Check out the trailer for my new stop motion short. by Katherine Blakeney

Katherine Blakeney

Check out the trailer for my new stop motion short.

I have just joined Stage32 and am already excited about all of the features and networking opportunities I see. I look forward to making lots of new connections and getting to know the Stage32 community! I am an independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a small studio in Edinburgh, Scotland where I create independent short films and commissioned projects. I have a BFA in Stop Motion Animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York and hold an MSc in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I am currently studying for a PhD in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh, writing my thesis on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. I've just finished a new stop motion short about an unlucky art burglar who suffers the terrifying consequences of greed when he steals an enchanted painting. The visual style of the film is strongly influenced by early 20th century German Expressionism. Check it out and tell me what you think! http://youtu.be/Npxq3svdFSU

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

Wow, Katherine, this is insanely good. You are so talented!

Katherine Blakeney

Thank you for your wonderful comments, Julie!

Robert Graphik

Fun piece of work Katherine, nice work.:-)

Jonathan Kramer

Absolutely OUTSTANDING Katherine..I love it!

Peter Butler

Great sty;e Katherine, looking forward to the full movie!

Thomas Bailey

So rad! If you need anyone to design promo's / credits for the project let me know.

Katherine Blakeney

Thanks for all the great comments! I will definitely post a link for the full film as soon as I can.

Katherine Blakeney

That's very perceptive! The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of my all-time favorite films.

Gina M Woodruff

Very cool! Good work!

James Saunders

Hi Katherine, Great stuff! Have you heard of the Montreal (International) Stop Motion Film Festival? our dead line for submissions is the 20th of June do you think you could make it? check here for the details: http://www.stopmotionmontreal.com/index.php/en/

Katherine Blakeney

Thanks for the comment, James! I have definitely heard of the Montreal International Stop Motion Festival and it is at the top of my submissions list! Just to double-check: will I be able to send an online screener with my entry form? I am working on my next film in Egypt right now and the postal system here is a disaster.

James Saunders

sorry I just heard back that this year they can not accept online screeners . I hope that you can find a way to get it to us.

Katherine Blakeney

It will be a bit challenging, but I really want to submit my film so I will try to figure something out on time!

Katherine Blakeney

I've figured it out and have just mailed my DVD and entry form. I hope it gets there before June 20th!

Robert Graphik

Break a leg Katherine, be sure to keep us posted :-)

Sharon Switzer

Perhaps you have a 1-minute silent version you could enter to our festival?

Robert Graphik

You just have to love Harryhausen. Well you don't have to......but he is my preference over non talented computer generated b.s.. Yes keep making movies, I learned a lot about stop motion and puppet building over the years and feel it has definitely not yet hit its peak.

Katherine Blakeney

I do love Harryhausen! He was one of my main inspirations since I was a child and his work is one of the reasons I chose to go into stop motion. I firmly believe that stop motion still has a place in today's film industry. I am trying to do my part to keep it alive and hope to encourage other independent filmmakers to chose traditional effects over low-quality CG.

Katherine Blakeney

Anna-Lea - I have a 1:33 minute version (the trailer) but the full film is 9:10. Does it have to be exactly 1 minute?

Sharon Switzer

Yes-- this is for North America's largest commuter film festival that takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival. You have great work!http://www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com/

James Saunders

I truly hope that it is not hit a peak, and with studios like "Laika" pumping out incredible stories mixed with some of the most advanced stop-motion techniques that we have ever seen: the best is yet to come. Unfortunately there is a white elephant in the room of any stop-motion production: the cost of production. The time it takes combined with the skilled hands required to produce stop motion require a huge budget and/or a team that are willing to work at it as a labor of love. I have experience animating and building props in stop motion and will continue to volunteer and be a part in the Montreal stop-motion community because of my love for the medium. but computer generated BS is what puts food on my table and just like Laika, who have the corporate contract to animated the the M&M candy guys and do it in 3D CGI.

Katherine Blakeney

You're right James, the cost of stop motion really is an issue in many cases. At the same time, I wish more studios and potential clients would appreciate how much can be done with a small budget and a lot of creative thinking. The trailer I've posted here is for a 9 minute film that had a budget of £2,000. 100% of the animation, design, construction, lighting, editing, and special efffects was done by a single animator (me). I made the whole film from scratch in my own studio and it took about a year. I wish more high-profile companies were aware that stop motion animation and traditional effects can be done without investing a huge amount of money.

Robert Graphik

M&m candy guys are for a commercial after all, everyone does commercials for money, not high art. Like the leggo movie a big commercial, but I would have been more Impressed if they raised the artform, especially where budget is not a concern. It lacked heart. Katherine, amazing job, what exactly did the budget cover? And how many man hours did it take? Approximately. Did you include your cameras, software and character design in the budget?

Peter Butler

As much as I agree with most of which you've said Robert I have to say that classing CG as "Non talent" is a little offensive to all of the amazing animators out there. Yes there is a lot of crap in CG but then there was in Stop Motion too back in the day. High Quality Pixar style animation takes a hell of a lot dedication and time just as Stop Motion.

Katherine Blakeney

You make some good points there Peter. There have definitely been plenty of sub-standard stop motion films and in terms of CG, I personally really enjoyed Finding Nemo, Renaissance and the amazing effects achieved in Avatar. I respect high-quality CG and there are effects that can be achieved with CG that cannot be done any other way. Good filmmaking takes a lot of time, work and passion regardless of the medium. For me, the issue is with hailing new technology as the only right way of making films and overusing it regardless of whether it works well for a particular project or not, dismissing previous techniques as old-fashioned and no longer appealing. Unfortunately the film industry has been very prone to this ever since its inception. Look at what happened to silent film. Sure, there were badly done, badly acted silent films - but there were masterpieces as well, many of which we will never see because they were tossed into bonfires along with the rest to make way for new sound films on the shelves. I believe there is a way for film to exist in all of its beautiful, multifaceted diversity and for filmmakers to chose what works best for them regardless of when a particular technique was invented.

Katherine Blakeney

Thanks Robert! The shooting took around 5 months at a rate of 6-8 hours every day. The construction took about 4 months on and off (I am also studying full-time for a PhD and have several day jobs) As for the budget, I had grants from the Arts Trust Scotland and IdeasTap and the budget covered all of the materials for the film, electricity usage in my studio and a new lighting kit. As I did all of the design and animation myself I didn't have to pay anyone fees for that and I used my trusty Canon Rebel T1i and my own software. I do usually include fees for my work if I'm doing a commissioned project, but as this was my own film I wanted all the money to go into making it as good as possible.

Robert Graphik

Thanks Katherine:-)

Robert Graphik

Peter, let me clarify, non talent is that, and talent is talent, some people are amazing and they push the limits of their artform. I have seen some extremely talented people do incredible work in all areas when you don't see it at all, that is when you know you have it right.;-) no offense to anyone you work hard and do your best that's all that anyone can hope to do. I don't want to rant and rave about my pet peeves, there is just not enough digital paper for that:-) .

Robert Graphik

I do enjoy your way of thinking Katherine.:-)

Peter Butler

Yep totally agree Katherine. This isn't just restricted to film either. Every art form has the same issues. Just look at the great artists of the 19th century that lost out to the new era of photography. Whenever there is a new technology, there is a period where the old techniques are lost. It's only natural to want to experience the new and in nearly every case it gets over saturated. It takes a while before the benefits of old traditions are used again, unless of course the old way of doing something is completely redundant. Photography is obviously an amazing piece of technology but will never be able to replace the intricacy, diversity and passion that is displayed through the use of the artist paint brush. CD's could never replace the analogue sound of the vinyl and CG will never be able to replace the charming nature of Stop Motion. Hollywood is only just starting to learn this with the help of filmmakers like J.J.Abrams who is insistent that they use practical effects where possible in the new Star Wars, including building a full size Millennium Falcon. Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are also did a lovely job of mixing Puppets with CGI, both working in harmony, both in the areas that they work best. The simple fact that the actors had real monsters to act off of, added so much to the realism and using CGI Eyes and mouths gave them the fluidity they needed to bring them to life. So it does take time but also dedicated people like yourself to show the world that these art form shouldn't be lost. Keep up the great work.

Peter Butler

Thanks Robert.

James David Sullivan

Great job!

James Saunders

This post opened up into a pretty interesting discussion about technology and traditional techniques in animation. I created a new post in order to expand this topic further.

Diana Kassir

Wonderful ~ Love this!!!

Jennifer Rose

Really cool! Congratulations! It looks great.

James David Sullivan

Interesting...very interesting.

Michele Kaasen Rubatino

I like the use of sepia vs color!

Doug Nelson

Katherine – You ask what I think. The first words that come to mind are spectacular and magnificent. It’s a little late for the west U.S. coast film festival circuit this year, but I certainly look forward to seeing it out here next year. I’ll help out here any way I can if you’d like. I loved the soundtrack – maybe a few more record scratches.

Katherine Blakeney

Hi Doug - Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! I definitely plan to submit to some good US festivals next year and really hope you will have a chance to see it. I have already submitted to a few festivals worldwide with spring and summer deadlines and have unfortunately received quite a few rejections. I'm hoping that's because the film wasn't right for them and that there will be other festivals out there that will like it. Any help or tips would be much appreciated!

Philip T Brewster

Love it, both the story and the animation itself, wondering how long it takes to do it? I assume you model it al yourself too, terrific. Have you thought of widening your net a bit to see if anyone doing a live-actor film/short wants a surreal element. Worked great for Terry Gilliam in Monty Python.

Katherine Blakeney

Thanks for your great comments, Philip! I did do all of the modeling myself (including the sets, props, costumes, characters, etc.) as well as the lighting, shooting, animation, editing and special effects. The only thing I didn't do was the music. The whole thing took around two years from concept to finished film, but that was because I couldn't focus on it full time. I have actually thought about incorporating stop motion effects into a live action project and am definitely open to that if you know anyone who's looking for practical effects! I am currently working on a new short film myself that will fuse live action sequences shot in Egypt and animation that I will be doing in my studio. I've just launched a crowdfunding campaign for it if you want to check out the concept and visuals: http://www.ideastap.com/crowdfunding/project/the-green-wall

Jason Leech

Fantastic piece, I loved it. If you ever need a voice for a film I would be happy to donate mine. My demo is in my profile and if u ever want an audition just let me know!

Philip T Brewster

You’re welcome. Two years is a long time. Maybe you need to offer up some realistic, practical turnaround times so you’re not in direct competition with an anima,toon project. Just a thought.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Great work, Katherine. My curiosity. What type of stories do think are well suited to your chosen medium? My guess, and it is only that, fairy tales, fantasy, etc. I saw a post on another board from a guy here in the US who is combining stop motion and 3-D. He had an interesting trailer for an original 'fairy tale' type story which included 3-D shots. I didn't save the post but if you curious, I'll look around and see if I can find it again.

Janet Biery

I think you are incredibly talented. Did not want this to end.

Janet Biery

Looked around, it looks like Blender is free. http://cloud.blender.org/gooseberry/

Cheryl Doel

I really liked it. It was clever and different. Reminded me a little of Tim Burton's stuff. Great work.

Rachel Miranda Jones

Great stuff, Katherine!

C T Ågren

Very nice job! I love the old silent movies in the german expressionism style, and the mood in your video caught my attention. Lighting was good and the music was well suited.

David Antolín

Nicely done!! Congrats

Jonas Frederik

Katherine, I really love stop motion and that was insanely good. I've taken a look at your crowdfunding campaign and that looks really intriguing as well! Keep up the good work!

Egypt Reale

Welcome. You have a bright future in the industry keep up the great work.

Blake Senftner

very nice.

Jonathan Sampson

Wow...great score too!

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