Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Year Two - Week Fourteen

This week's post is a review of my fellow classmate, Juno's work.

By Thom Glick

Juno Tang is an MFA candidate, currently in the her second year, at Columbus College of Art & Design, in Columbus, Ohio.

During her time at CCAD, Juno’s work has transitioned from the planning and development of a website to the planning and development of gallery-based installation work.

Throughout, her work has held its ground in its focus, taking a stance against the negative effects of cultural gender norms.

When I first became aware of Juno’s work, she was developing a complex website that would provide support to women living a non-traditional lifestyle - unwed and without a family. I remember being inspired by her need to empower women and provide a place for them to connect and be involved. The project was bright and inviting, benefiting from Juno’s strong sense for two-dimensional design.

After the first semester, her work changed drastically in tone and approach. To my knowledge, the website did not come to fruition. In its place, Juno’s work has become darker, turning more toward a desire to confront the more emotionally crippling aspects of the stigmatization that these non-traditional women endure. Juno’s current work, which has become more installation in nature, has left the digital world behind for more tangible materials in an effort to more aggressively confront her themes.

The work is bold, employing repetition and familiar iconography to establish an atmosphere of insatiable scrutiny and paranoia. But, the work is also delicate, made of plaster and left white, unpainted, to maintain a constant note of frailty. Striking out at culture itself, the work embodies both the aggressor and the victim, challenging the audience’s sense of normalcy and, perhaps, inviting them to consider the broader discourse surrounding the notion of gender norms and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that we stigmatize those who find themselves outside those norms.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Year Two - Thirteenth Week

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working to assemble an animatic. The purpose of the animatic is to bring time to the situation and begin to massage it into place. Below is the latest draft of the animatic. At current it's roughly nine and a half minutes long. Sorry, I forgot one adjustment while rendering, so there's about thirty empty seconds at the end.

At ten minutes, I have concerns about being able to finish the animation work in the time I have left. Before the start of December, my goal is to trim this back to 4-6 minutes... or get as close as possible and just get to drawing.

The shots that I'm most concerned with, at the moment, are the long shots of the woman following after the shadow. I want these to act as chapter endings, to a degree, but also as reminders to the tedium that she endures in pursuit of her goal. In the first few drafts, those shots were a minute long. Currently, they last about thirty to forty-five seconds, each. I'm curious to edit them to ten to twenty seconds, but I'm worried about losing the tedious pace that I'm going for.

Also - please forgive my terrible attempt at voice acting. I just needed markers to help me understand how long the dialogue would take to speak and how long the shots would need to be to accommodate. In the coming weeks, I'm hoping to meet with some possible voice actors.

The Giant Animatic 01 from Thom Glick on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Year Two - Week Eleven

This week, I'm sharing another draft of storyboards. Over the past week or so, I've been working to trim back from 90+ shots to around 40 shots. My hope is to slow the piece down.

The woman, in the story, is alone, searching for something. She's been following after the giant for a long time. What may have been exciting and new, at the start, is now routine. Her days are spent walking, walking, walking.

In the next week or so, I hope to have an animatic put together, to share. That should help me to better see how the pacing is working and allow me to more easily share with the group.

I'll provide some annotation, below, with the boards to help explain the current draft.

The woman spends her days walking, following after the giant. Originally, I had thought to have the opening shot be a pan, upward, to reveal the woman, but now I'm considering opening with the shadow drifting across the screen and the woman following. Then we follow her legs as they walk. The idea, always keeping the woman at a distance, isolated, disconnected.

Then the woman sets up camp. We get to see what her days start and end with. Assembling camp.

We see the woman leafing through photographs and tossing them, unsatisfied, into the campfire.

A stranger approaches, attracted to the woman's fire. He's a bit too friendly for the woman's tastes and asks her about her travels.

The woman obliges the stranger for as long as she is able, but sends him along as soon as her patience runs out.

The next day, the woman comes across a village and takes the opportunity to stock up on supplies.

She meets a stray dog, pets him and snaps a pic.

The woman checks into the village's inn.

As placeholder, she checks into room number 12. This might switch to room number 5, based on numerology lore.

Inside, her room is small, cramped, confining. She begins a crochet project.

She is distracted by a sound outside her window. She looks to find the stray dog has followed her to the inn. As the woman smiles at seeing the dog, this is the first more intimate shot of her.

In the morning, the woman returns to her travels, following after the giant.

Soon, she realizes the stray dog is following her. She tries to reason with the dog, telling him that he cannot come with her.

Reasoning with the dog doesn't work, so she takes out some food and tosses it a distance away. The dog chases after it as the woman slips away.

That evening at camp, the woman looks at her photos and stops at the one of the dog. She tucks it away to keep, but tosses the others, as usual, into the fire. Then she works on her crochet project.

The following day, the woman walks on, eventually noticing the dog has again caught up to her. This time, she let's him join her.

That evening, at camp, the woman briefly explains her photos to the dog. She's trying to get a picture of the giant, but cannot get a clear one. She tosses the failed attempts into the fire and turns to her crochet project. Eventually, the woman and the dog sleep, curled up together under the stars.

Having finished her project, the woman wraps the crocheted scarf around the dog's neck. They begin their walking.

The dog slows and eventually stops. The woman encourages him to keep going. But he does not.

The woman turns to the giant, framing up, hoping for that one good pic. But she lowers the camera and walks back to the dog.

She kneels down and puts her arm around the dog to snap a picture of them together. The shadow, unconcerned, continues on.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Year Two - Week Eight MORE

I wasn't happy with the previous draft, so here's another version, below. And here are some storyboard roughs to go with this version.

The Giant

The woman stops walking to carve her name into a tree. She walks on, following after an enormous shadow cast by something unseen.

The woman, worn and weary, passes by a farmstead, still following the shadow. An old man mending a fence. He’s having trouble steading a post. The woman stops and assists him. The man asks that she come in for coffee and fresh biscuits. The woman accepts, reluctantly.

The man asks her about her journey. The woman tells about living in a small town. She was a photographer and she photographed other people’s lives. She got tired of not having a life of her own. One day this giant walked by and she accepted the opportunity to do something important. She’s spent the last five years following the giant, trying to get a good picture. She shares some snapshots, but all are inconclusive.

The man comments that he couldn’t imagine a life like her’s. His life is stationary and always has been. Not the path to fame and fortune, but it’s enough just knowing his family needs him.

Before she leaves, the man demands she accept some money, some food and some coffee for her travels. She can’t remember the last time she held coins.

The woman leaves the farm. Her name carved into the farmer’s fence.

The woman walks out of a general store. There’s an old stray dog. The woman shares a piece of food with the dog. She rents a room in a hotel. As she’s carving her name into the window frame, she sees the stray dog below in the street and smiles.

The woman leaves the village, following after the shadow. The stray dog follows after the woman. As they walk, the dog gets closer and closer. The woman stops and tells the dog she’s got a job to do and he’ll slow her down. The dog sits as she walks on.

That night, as the woman makes camp, she acknowledges the dog’s absence, commenting on how it was nice to have company for a while, but it’s probably for the best that the dog didn’t stick around. She carves her name into a tree nearby. Then the dog shows up with a rabbit. The woman is thankful for the food and scruffs the dog’s head and neck.

In the morning, the woman wakes the dog. Time to get moving, following the shadow. Together they walk. She stops more often than usual, to let the old dog rest. The woman is happy and talks to the dog. That evening, they sleep curled up together under the stars. Nearby the woman and the dog’s names are carved into a tree.

The next day as they walk, the dog slows down. The woman calls to him to keep moving. The dog sits and lays down, groans. The woman watches as the shadow drifts ever further from reach. She gets her camera from her bag and lifts it up toward the shadow. Without taking a picture she lowers the camera and walks back to the dog. She sits down next to the dog. The dog lifts his head. The woman holds the camera out at arm's length, taking a photo of them together.

The enormous shadow drifts away completely.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Year Two - Week Eight

I feel stuck.

The past couple of weeks I've continued reworking written outlines of The Giant and I've begun storyboarding. Below is roughly half of the story in storyboard form.

In its current draft, the story is about a woman who has been on the road for years, following after an enormous shadow that she claims belongs to a giant. No one else has seen the giant. She carries with her a broken camera that she tries over and over again to repair. She walks and walks, following the shadow, traversing landscape after landscape, sometimes sleeping outside, sometimes sleeping in hotels. One day, the woman leaves a village and an old stray dog follows after her. At first the woman continues on, not paying much attention to the dog. After a while she leaves food for it. The woman invites the dog to her camp. The dog joins her as she follows the shadow. The next time the woman stops in a village, the hotel refuses the dog. After a while, the woman skips the villages. As the woman and the dog walk, day after day, the dog slows down, showing its age, falling behind. One night, while tinkering, the woman gets the camera to work. The next morning, the woman sets off after the shadow. The dog can no longer continue. The woman watches as the shadow moves away. She raises the camera, the opportunity to document the giant is finally within reach. Instead, she lowers the camera and turns back to the dog. She walks over to the dog, drops to her knees and takes a picture of it. The shadow slips away entirely.

As I storyboard, I'm worried that this might be a more complicated story than I had expected. I'm worried about being able to complete the animation in the time I have. I'm also concerned about the individual parts of the story and how they factor into the story as a whole - are all the current parts supportive? - are parts superfluous? - are parts unresolved? - are parts clear in their purpose and true to their purpose?

And, currently, I see the story as exploring purpose and belonging.