Sunday, October 2, 2011

Citizen Bumper

The Citizen Jane Film Festival comes once a year, and the Tiny Circus spends the rest of the year looking forward to it.

We left Circus House in home-base Grinnell at 6 AM to arrive in time for our first engagement, beginning a nine-day stretch of animating and collaborating. By noon that day, we were in Columbia, Missouri, in the classroom of Joanna Hearne, a professor at MU. We spoke with 20 of her students for an hour or so, detailing our plan to collaborate with 300 elementary-school students over the next week. The class, History of Animation, is assisting our team on a daily basis.

Two hours later, we went to the EEE school, site of our workshop, to move our boxes and cameras up three flights of stairs. Then later that evening, we shared dinner, beers and a campfire with our hosts.

Before the workshop with the EEE school, Tiny Circus had two intense days of animating with Stephens College students to brainstorm and make an animated bumper (a short introductory logo) for the film festival. The festival conveniently has a circus theme and so our aesthetic fit perfectly. We worked with about 12-15 people over the two-day period and then handed off the resulting animation to Paula and Kerri, the festival directors.
Here we are brainstorming the storyboard. As often happens with animation brainstorms, we had a lot of ambitious ideas that we continued to revise - and simplify - as the day went on.
Making the Citizen Jane unicyclist. She had movable arms and legs and her wheel is a film reel.
 Animating in the dark inspired a quiet and focused atmosphere.
We wrote the music and recorded sound effects - old squeaky chairs, lockers opening and closing, fabric falling, an old film projector - all found in our midst at Stephens College.
In the end a true collaboration and an elegant short that pays homage to the circus theme of this year's Citizen Jane: Cirque du Cinema! Check it out on the Tiny Circus Facebook page.

Look for our blog post next week about the EEE workshop hours of animating fun with 300 students!

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