Thursday, November 21, 2013

Looking for a Ghost at CBU

Tiny Circus spent the final week of Fall Tour 2013 in Memphis, TN, hunting a ghost that resides in the basement of a building at Christian Brothers University. Sadly, the ghost was nowhere to be found, but stories abounded about experiences with the ghost on campus. Our newest Circus members, a group of students and instructors at CBU, worked with us over the week to collect and compare those stories. While some of our interview subjects expressed disbelief in the reality of the ghost, they struggled with the idea that their friends reported to have direct experiences with it. We decided that the most interesting thing about the Kenrick Hall Ghost lay in this intersection of belief and non-belief--what do you believe when your friends' stories tell you one thing and your own head tells you another?

The first half of the week was dedicated to recording and sorting through audio. We discovered that many of the stories we recorded contained overlapping content--footsteps, inanimate objects moving on their own, a piano playing itself in the middle of the night, a face in the window. We used these repeat occurrences to craft a single ghost story narrative, sandwiched by our interviewees' thoughts on the potential existence of ghosts and other spooky details. A ghost story sandwich.

For the intro and outro scenes, we constructed a lifelike set out of foamcore and printed images of Kenrick Hall, the building that the ghost is rumored to haunt (and the building in which our classroom was located). Our CBU collaborators brought some serious Photoshop skills to the table, as well as a pretty cool jib arm for shooting. 

We shot the rest of the animation at night, setting up in some of the eeriest rooms in Kenrick and using ourselves as subjects. Our crew stuck it out for some late nights of shooting and editing in order to finish by the end of the week, and even recorded an original soundtrack at the last minute to accompany the animation. We had candy and coffee available at all hours.

"Ghost Story" screened on a chilly Friday night, in front of a crowd of students, instructors and friends of TC. The ghost was not in attendance, as far as we could see...