FULL FILM COMING THIS October!
Enjoy the trailer and process work below for now :)
creative director, animator and compositor: josie glassman
Illustrator and character designer: Erin James
producer: alexandera Marca
backgrounds: bella shih, meg aki, maria chiuz, haze Nguyen, and Priscilla quek
2d animator: nico warner
compositing assistance: claire lin and punasa (bee) sihsobhan
Storyboard assistance: Cora Keene
reference shot filming: alexis dow
This is my senior capstone project for Motion Media Design. I wanted to go big with this one, so I collaborated with some of my good friends to bring my vision to life in the amount of time given to complete this project.
Below is a montage about the behind-the-scenes of all that I've worked on up until March 2023.
My senior project is a stop motion short film on Lord of the Flies that explores how the psychology of Carl Jung relates to the story’s themes of shadow selves and the primal human. It will be visual music to the song The Rhythm of the Heat by Peter Gabriel since that song discusses those themes and perfectly fits the tone of the story I'm interpreting.
The Rhythm of the Heat by Peter Gabriel is about Carl Jung's Collective Unconscious psychology, a theory that explores how even though we've evolved past our animalistic ways, there are primitive traits that we still carry with us without realizing it. Another Jungian psychology that is alluded to in the song is the shadow self, a part that every human has within them which stores the emotions and desires that they push down and don't want to confront.
I found these themes to be a perfect pair with Lord of the Flies, since the story is about a group of young boys and how they're stripped down and forced to confront the animalistic desires within them while stranded on an island.
Visually, I decided that stop motion was the best technique because it's a more stripped-down way of animating and gave that gritty look that I was going for. I also decided on 2D cutouts as a medium so I could layer them on top of each other and try different lighting techniques to convey the shadow self.
The animatic was created in collaboration with several of my friends. Cora Keene provided sketches for many of the frames. For the action shots, I traced over reference shots that I filmed with my friends. I sure can act!
Alexis Dow assisted me in filming. I will be relying on these reference shots when putting these action shots in motion.
I collaborated with my friend Erin James (a very talented illustrator and designer) to bring the characters to life. She provided character concepting based on my descriptions and research, costume designs, turnarounds, and assembly sheets for each shot for when I would get the characters laser cut.
assembling the puppets
Erin was very thoughtful about how she broke up the characters so they could be easy to rig and assemble. I prepared her assembly sheets in Adobe Illustrator by vectorizing and adding holes to the appropriate limbs so I could rig them with wire later. I rigged the puppets by threading them through the holes so that the wire wouldn't show when animating the puppet.
STOP MOTION ANIMATION
After consulting with my professors, we determined that the best approach to filming the puppets was an overhead shoot. I used an overhead tripod and hooked my camera up to Dragonframe to shoot my footage. I configured my lighting setup depending on what was needed for the scene.
Shooting each puppet individually on a green screen gave me the flexibility to key and composite each puppet in After Effects so I had the most amount of control. In After Effects, I've been experimenting with additional color grading, lighting techniques, and putting the puppets in 3D space with depth of field.
These composites below are still works-in-progress since compositing has been a newer milestone on my production timeline. These shots don't have backgrounds yet but they have the puppets in 3D space, camera movements, and lighting.
I wouldn't be able to be on track without my amazing producer, Alexandera Marca. She has been helping me create a comprehensive production timeline, shot organization system, and physical asset management system for my puppets. I also created a Google Drive and external hard drive file management system with naming conventions so it would be easy to organize and share assets when collaborating with Erin.
More coming soon...
special thanks to my friends who I've been working with on this project, everyone who has supported me, and my professors who have been giving so much useful guidance on this whole process :)