Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tiny Circus Big Top

NOW PRESENTING: Tiny Circus Big Top!


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Tiny Circus is exploring new topics and themes that might not be appropriate for younger audiences. While we are interested in creating animations with more mature content, we acknowledge that our viewership and our pool of fellow collaborators is comprised of both children and adults. We recognize that our past animations are uniformly kid-friendly and that parents often let their kids view Tiny Circus videos on their own. Over the past few months, we have been trying to figure out how to post our new work without alienating any of our audience members or fellow collaborators. The solution we’ve reached is to post our less kid-friendly content under a new name: Tiny Circus Big Top.

Tiny Circus Big Top was created as a result of discussions among full-time collaborators, TC alum, and friends of TC, many of whom are teachers and parents with children. Here’s a quick rundown of those discussions:

  • We considered posting the new videos under the same Tiny Circus YouTube account as all of our other videos, but we imagined that kids viewing videos on their own could possibly come across content that their parents would rather them not see.

  • We also considered posting our new work under a new moniker that would be kept completely separate from the Tiny Circus web presence, but we realized that we still wanted to share our new animations with the current TC community.

  • The most logical choice in our minds, after months of discussion, was to create Tiny Circus Big Top. TC Big Top has its own YouTube channel, Vimeo channel, a new e-mail address, and a new Facebook page. Big Top viewers will be encouraged to check out Tiny Circus animations, but Tiny Circus YouTube viewers will not be linked directly to Big Top animations (this allows us to better manage the probability that kids or viewers who do not want to view animations with adult themes would come across such videos unintentionally).

Our goal as a collaborative organization is to create animations that are fun, hilarious, fascinating, and interesting to our group of animators. Since that group of animators so often changes form, so does the content of the animations that are created. Providing this new space for adult-themed animations is meant to allow us to expand our current body of work and grow as an organization. TC Big Top will be a place for animations with content that we imagine some parents might not want their children to see; it allows us to leave that decision up to parents. After all, some parents might see the TC Big Top animations as an educational opportunity or a way to spark conversation with their young ones. Either way, we are making the process of creating TC Big Top as transparent as possible, and the conversations about what this means for TC are by no means over.



All that said, it is our “pleasure” to share these new animations with you, TC family and friends.

Check out our first Big Top animation here: Big Top - Pornucopia





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Art Educators of Iowa Fall Conference

Tiny Circus was in Cedar Rapids with the Art Educators of Iowa this past weekend. AEI's fall conference took place in the lovely Hotel at Kirkwood Center. We converted a conference room into our animating studio for the weekend, making use of the huge magnetic whiteboards, the rolly desks and desk chairs, and the gigantic flat screen monitor (used to show animators shots from Dragonframe in real time).


As the "animation troupe in residence" at the (coincidentally) circus-themed conference, we spent three long days in our animating studio. Teachers attending the conference jumped in both to observe the process and to get hands-on by making characters and animating. Some conference attendees spent a few minutes with us; others spent hours and returned day after day.



The storyboard for the visuals involves shots of clay, paper cut-outs, and dry erase marker drawings as well as time lapse and stop motion sequences. The fanciful and imaginative visuals will be paired with an audio document crafted from interviews with art educators at the conference. Exploring questions related to the importance of art education, what actually happens in the art classroom, and what larger lessons art educators hope to give their students through art education, the audio document takes a closer look at what art class really does for students at any grade level.

The weekend with AEI was packed full of animating and interviewing, but we also had the opportunity  to give a lecture to the entire crowd, do a screening the last night of the event, and make some new friends from all over the state!

After packing up and saying goodbye to our converted conference room turned animating studio, we returned to our Grinnell home base to edit the animation and prepare to head south for the winter. Stay tuned for the animation.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Circus at Citizen Jane

Two weeks later, Tiny Circus is still feeling the buzz from this year's Citizen Jane Film Festival in Columbia, MO. Having been too busy animating during our last several years at Citizen Jane to actually experience much of the festival, we were grateful this year for the opportunity to kick back and enjoy some great films. We also got to know some awesome filmmakers as we interviewed them for next year's film festival bumpers. We asked them about the first films they ever made, and what kind of film they'd make now if they had unlimited time and budget.


We spent our weekend discussing what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry, and strategizing about alternative structures to the current model.


Katie and Sally spoke on a panel about collaboration. We collected lots of Citizen Jane gear. 



And we danced. And ate 2 a.m. biscuits, and explored a cave. Ken, our cave tour guide, came to see The History of War, The History of Curiosity, Ghost Trap, Age, and Creativity as they were screened in the Animated Shorts! program. 


This short film made by Stephens College student volunteers at the fest really captures the magic of the weekend. Thank you, Citizen Jane! We can't wait until next time.