Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cold Cold Iowa

The work is slower now, editting bits of films and finishing the interior of the first projection pod. It's a bit like working on a boat. Since every surface is curved, each piece of furniture must be hand-fit to the wall. Countertops made of cherry, glued up and ready to install.A shelf over the front window.

A cooktop set into the curb-side counter.

The squirrel babies are growing up. They live outside now, get a breakfast of walnuts and corn every morning. We crack the walnuts for them so they don't injure themselves.

And... three stills from the History of Brainstorms, here the brains suggest possibilities for the animation they will make. The thought bubbles are sort of animations within an animation.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tiny Circus Florida-style

A group of creative minds met in Jacksonville for a satellite Tiny Circus collaboration. Lauren, Franca, Greta, Jenn, Jamee, Ashley, and Lynne combined forces over the weekend to start work on The History of Music. The setting is a filthy landfill.

Ashley's trash heap takes form and includes a dumped washer.

Random props from the trash heap beginnings.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall Days

It's lovely here in Iowa, the farmers are harvesting the soy, the corn is drying on the stalk, still a few days left for the Dari Barn. TC is continuing work on The History of Brainstorms while moving forward with the three tiny trailers. First, the Brainstorms:

Kirsten is lighting up the brains to indicate thought.

Camille, shooting.
The brains are powered by 9v battery.

Stills from the animation.

On to the pods:
The interior windows now have trim, recycled from the original shell.In the background, the mothership and trailer #1, the frame for #2, in the foreground are parts of #3.Camille, grinding away at bits of metal.We will polish the pods until they look like christmas ornament mirror balls
The front bed/dinette for trailer #1, general storage, water, and electric will fit in these spaces with cushions on top for seats.Here, Thomas is riveting together some wheel-wells for #2 and #3.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brain shoot, first bit.

Shiny hubcaps for the new frames. Welding and grinding is ongoing. Shooting the brainstorm: we had extra.
This is the set-up for the first shot. We began with a wide-angle shot and then gradually zoomed through the window, opening it up as we went.
As we moved through the window, Grace and Kirsten moved the trees, slow and breezy. Storm clouds began to roll in and the trees began to move faster.
There are lots of contraptions on this set, for falling brains, a tornado, LED lights... it made moving the bits around tricky. Here Camille is shooting, Kirsten is moving trees, Grace, Thomas and Carlos are watching.
We shot up to the first stormy scenes, got tired, planned to come back for more in a few days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Magnetic tornado

This is the brainstorm set, with trees and tornado. The first brain-sprinkles are visible towards the rear.

The History of Brainstorming includes a real tornado. It is made of fiberfill mounted on a wire which runs up to a slider that can move left to right across the set. The sliding mechanism has a crank so the tornado can be spun. The bottom is stuck down with a magnet glued to the bottom of the tornado - the magnet sticks to a metal ruler beneath the bottom paper.

The next frame is coming together. Here, a new bumper is welded in place, the axle is positioned on a new axle plate. Replacement outriggers are are recycled from bits of the original trailer. This is done with an angle grinder.The rear frame members have large holes drilled through. A pvc pipe will fit here and run the length of the trailer. The pipe will be used to hold long poles for project screens.The new axle plate and axle secured.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer cleanup and new projects

Scrap metal from the two trailers we are rebuilding went to the scrap-yard.

One of the full-sized frames was scrapped, the other cut in half to make two mini-frames for the new pods. Here is a bumper ready to be welded to one of the frames.
The studio get a scrub-down
Leftover bits from summer projects.
A new team: Thomas, Camille, Kirsten working on The History of Brainstorms.
The squirrel babies are huge. They started eating sunflower seeds today.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Folks, gather round.

After spending the summer more-or-less working on animations, it's back to thinking about the pod design. A running question: should each pod be a self-contained living space for the performers, or should one of the pods have cooking and bath spaces and the other pods function as work-spaces or display areas like the unit pictured above?

Monday, September 1, 2008


Stills from the glove history. It's ketchup, don't worry.

The Iowa tiny circus camp is winding down for the summer. Thanks to Sarah, Grace, and Jess, off to London and Minnesota.

Aleah is working on a circus flag based on a drawing by Greta. It is made of bits from her quilting bag.

New projects happening soon: animations with Grinnell College students, more work on the trailers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The history of The History of Gloves - part one

There are only four of us at the Tiny Circus now - Carlos, Grace, Jess and Sarah. Amy left three days ago, and we took Holen to the station yesterday. We wish them both goodbye and thank you. We miss them.

Today we started work on our next project. This is a step by step version of how the process works.

Planning started in the Saints Rest coffee shop.

There's an ever increasing list of possible subjects now, ranging from The History of Moustaches to the History of Reality. We have been working by choosing random numbers and counting down which history they apply to. Then from this shorter list, we vote on which subject we will take.

Our choice this time was The History of Gloves. Then we all discussed different possible story lines and scenarios. How did the first glove come into being? Several versions were discarded before we all agreed on one, and then we started to draw up a storyboard in the cafe.

Back at the studio, via Walmart to pick up supplies including plastic gloves, several prototypes were worked on.

After a supper of English shepherds pie and ice cream with plum sauce, we got to work making gloves for the herd that will soon be running free in the garden. The small versions are made from modelling clay, and each one has its mirror hand-sized version.

Jess made several hundred tiny plums for the tiny plum tree under which the tiny gloves will play.

Sarah is making baby mittens.

And Grace is stuffing the latex glove with fiberfill. Each finger is wired so it can move.

The idea is to finish as much as we can today, so we can start filming tomorrow morning.