For my film, I decided to animate a little flamingo character (named "Chips") being disrupted by a pesky fly, chasing after it until he gets his own neck caught in a knot & subsequently trying to untie it with failed results. & while my fellow classmates & friends decided to do much more story-oriented films complete with camera cuts, pans & such (you know, like a good film), I decided to do it all in one shot, from beginning to end with no cuts whatsoever. I thought of it almost like he was performing on a stage.
Like I originally thought, the assignment became much more difficult as I went on. I realized animating a flamingo was like animating a rubber hose on stilts. As I animated, I studied Eric Goldberg's flamingo animation from Fantasia 2000 as well as several Goofy shorts (especially Woolie Reitherman's scene of Goofy getting tangled with the chest expanders in Goofy Gymnastics). The flamingo had to be wild & crazy, moving all over the place, with it's neck flailing & stretching all over the place. I always have to do things the hard way.
It took me roughly a month to complete the film, working not only in class, but at home & in the animation studio after hours (several times completely overnight). On the night before the film were due, most of our class stayed overnight at the studio to complete our assignments together. Although it was a long, tiresome & mind-melting experience, it was a lot of fun being there with my animator friends.
At 5 am, after completing my animation drawings (all of 475 them!), it was time to shoot the film on the Lunchbox. Since I didn't have enough time to go back over each drawing & draw a fly on each individual sheet, I drew one on a small round piece of paper left over from a hole-punch, laid it on top of my drawing, shot the frame, took the fly off, took the old drawing off, put on a new drawing on, put the fly back on top, moved it slightly from the last frame, shot that & started over. In the end it took me 2 hours to shoot the film, 2 hours before class started. I discovered that the film ended up being not 30 seconds long, but 55 seconds long, nearly double the assigned length!
When I finally showed the film to Doug, he was ultimately pleased with what I showed him. Sure there were a few slips here & there & some final touches that needed to be done, but it was overall a very satisfactory film to him. "You got the makings of a great animator", he said. A great compliment to end a great first year!
I wish I was able to screen it at the SVA student film screenings this year. Oh well, at least I got this blog to show it to the world, right.
-------Now before you watch the film, there are a few things I should warn you about. About halfway through the film, the drawings turn from clean to very rough. I didn't have enough time to go back & darken the lines up, so the last half of the clip is all a rough, ball-of-yarn-like pencil test. Also, I shot the film on VHS tape, so the quality of the footage is VERY poor. Just bear with it & enjoy what you can see!
Michael J. Ruocco's 1st-Year Animated Film
Uploaded by FantasiaMan