A personal investigation Into stop-motion animation
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Stop-motion animation has been a part of the great pantheon of filmmaking since its birth in the early twentieth century. Whether we have seen its existence in sections of live action films, or fully produced stop-motion features, it is undeniable that the medium has had a powerful impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. However, in the post Frozen world, computer generated films and television shows reign supreme, forcing stop motion to the edges of the filmmaking universe. This paper aims to examine why, in a world rife with animated films and projects, we do not see more stop motion features and series being created, in comparison to similar projects in computer-generated and hand drawn animation, despite the seeming resurgence of the medium in certain forms. It also seeks to explore what makes stop-motion so special and unique among the plethora of forms of filmmaking. It also is an investigation into the process of designing, producing, shooting, and editing a stop motion short in order to gain a better understanding of why these films are not being produced more often. This thesis led me in a vastly new direction of knowledge from my studies as a scenic designer for theatre. However having certain skill sets proved to be beneficial, such as drafting and model building — two skills that would not be needed in other forms of animation. I also expanded my knowledge by educating myself in animation skills and technology, specifically the use of DSLR cameras and Dragon Frame Animation Software. Upon the completion of this massive undertaking, I developed a much stronger understanding of the difficulties that come with creating and producing a stop-motion film, especially when the project is a passion project when funding and time are both issues with the overall production of a film’s cost. These factors led me to a greater understanding that while the medium allows for an elevated level of charm and understanding by the audience of the skills and craft required to produce, sometimes the pros simply are not enough to outweigh the cons of producing a feature film.