Caroline Leaf gave a very inspiring talk and demonstration in the hot little green room at the Watch Me Move show last night. She has previously referred to her technique as being like a ‘particular sort of performance’, and so it was last night at the Barbican as she carefully recreated an encounter between her ill fated Owl and Goose for us. She made changes to her frame under a live camera and then said “click, click” to represent the recording of two frames. It was very mesmerising and exciting to see her working, and how generous she is in sharing all her tips and techniques. You can see a step by step guide to sand animation and her other techniques on her website.
After the demonstration, Caroline talked about the spontaneity of working in a direct technique, where mistakes are often incorporated, (though strictly if they serve the narrative of the story). What was most interesting to hear was that she taught herself to draw the camera moves or changes of shot I think for economical reasons, because she didn’t want to shoot more than she needed and hadn’t an editor for her earlier films. Critically she feels the straight-ahead technique encourages great rigour but also offers freedom, which is of course obvious in her films, but this is why she now uses sand to teach some of these disciplines at the NFTS. Those lucky old students.
Excitingly the wonderful filmmaker Kayla Parker is writing a PHD thesis about gender and creative practice in direct animation and here on her website she has shared a few of her thoughts, a few of which chime with those of Ruth Lingford’s which I wrote about on an earlier posting. I shall definately watch out for Kayla’s written work or presented thoughts.