A fantastical animated stop-motion short shot in nature, with characters constructed from real insects, literally!
Super-Natura is the title for a project I am starting work on right now. Its a stop motion animation film, and I am using real insects to make puppets for a slightly surreal story about nature. That means getting my hands dirty with bugs, armature wire, hot glue, and other materials to make insect puppets that consolidate various insect bodies into new and slightly unreal characters. What I want to do with them is simple, animate them in nature in a stop motion film which documents their would-be experiences to create a world that is part science, part imagination, and all kinds of beautiful. The photo above is an example of a puppet I have made in the past while testing this idea, but I imagine this is only a starting point with what I could make for this film.
Et Encore En Français
Super-Natura est le titre d'un projet, je suis prêt à apporter à la vie. Pour ce film, je suis en utilisant de vrais insectes pour faire des marionnettes pour un film un peu surréaliste sur la nature. Cela signifie que me salir les mains avec des bogues, fil d'armature, de la colle chaude, et d'autres matériaux pour faire des marionnettes d'insectes que de consolider les organismes divers insectes dans de nouveaux personnages et un peu irréel. Qu'est-ce que je veux faire avec eux est simple, les animer dans la nature dans un film en stop motion qui leur serait documents-être des expériences pour créer un monde qui est une science, d'imaginaire, et toutes sortes de belles.
The pic above is from the store in Paris where I'm starting to collect design inspiration, both by looking and by purchasing some of their collection. Visit project FAQ's to learn more.
This idea came to me mostly because I love watching the life of insects on film, and because one of the most powerful things about animation is its ability to take the ordinary into the realm of the extra-ordinary! For me this is a winning combination. The strange magic of stop-motion animation glows, especially when you see that its placed in the real world. All of this put together is going to be a beautifully strange version of a nature film, twisted with a dose of the super-natural.
So, what's all involved? Along with the real bug puppets, I need to make some totally fabricated, imaginary versions so that I can do things that fragile bug bodies just wouldn't be able to do. They are going to be bigger so we can really see them in action, have better joints so that their motion can be more delicate, have intriguing abilities (like internal led glow). I think seeing them alongside the real bug puppets is really going to make this film as beautiful as I think it can be. Like I mentioned, I'll be shooting this outside in nature, so I'm also going to need to have a motorized programmable tracking unit for the camera. Why? Well, imagine beautifully smooth shots that feel like you are sailing around everything, shots that really sweep you into this world from the very beginning. I want the imaginary and the real to be colliding all the way through the movie. Imagine a giant flying iridescent caterpillar hovering in a shot with traffic passing by in the background, or a flock of real birds in the same space as a group of glowing beetles climbing a tree. By shooting this outside, and also with a little rotoscope/green-screen help, shots like this can create a film in which magic is everywhere, totally unnoticed by the rest of the world.
Benjamin Rohel (brilliant problem solver from Paris!) is already creating the programmable tracking rig with an Arduino board and some Processing skills, so that we can use it with Dragon software (Dragon was used to shoot Coraline). This will help us to program camera moves so that we can focus on the animation in the scenes.
All these things together are the elements that will bring this film to life, and it starts here and now! The kind of funding I can inspire here is going to buy insects, fabricated puppets, materials, and Dragon for my computer so that we can take the studio to the field. This all depends on what I can raise. Of course, if I reach my $3,000 goal, I will be able to make the puppets, and buy basic stuff, like a new hard drive, materials, and Dragon. If I can manage to beat my goal by even $2,000, I can pay stipends to people from my freakishly talented network as animators and post-production techs are needed. If we can smash my goal, and I can do even better by hiring a fabricator to work with me on all of the puppet madness, getting production underway with a DP, and hiring a compositor to take the material to the next level once shooting is over. It all depends on....you! I'm going to sit and hope for the $10,000 pledge, but I want to fund the very basic parts here, so my $3,000 goal is what will help us get off the ground into production. Let's get it going!! I believe in this film!!!
The film production blog has a paypal donate button at the top of the page. You can use it by clicking here http://supernatura.tumblr.com/
There are a few reasons I would choose to use real insect bodies when making this film. First of all, the aesthetic of nature is moving, sensual, and awe inspiring. Using parts of nature not only saves on budget costs, but also is deeply intriguing, and provides me with an opportunity as an artist that allows me to play with the space between reality and imagination in animation.
I will be shooting this film on site in various places in Southern and Central CA, from dried river beds to tree tops, and near highways and other signs of human life.
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Not only do you get my positive thoughts, but I'll send you a handwritten letter of appreciation!
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All of the above, and I will give you thanks in the film's credits!
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All of the above! PLUS... a copy of the DVD when film is done and a high-res still from the shoot via email!
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COLLECTORS PACKAGE: Alright, now we're upping the stakes. For this pledge, you will get all of the above, and instead of the photo, you get a limited edition screen print of a scene in the film, signed and editioned by me! Yeah!
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ARTISTS PACKAGE: Get everything above! Silk-screened poster, high-res photo via email, a handwritten letter in the mail, thanks in the film, all topped with a happy thoughts icing on your cake!
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HEADS UP PACKAGE: Everything above, plus one of the bugs from the film and a update video with a sequence from the film.
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THE SERIOUS CONTENDERS PACKAGE: Along with a Collector's edition Blu-ray disc of the film and a Special Thanks credit in the film, you get to choose what you would like from these options. -Bug puppets shoot a scene where they relay a message for you, like sing Happy Birthday to your child! Copy of scene will be provided on disc or digital download, as per your request. -A collection of five constructed bug puppets from the film mailed to you for safe keeping. -A copy of the story board.
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THE BLACK TIE PACKAGE: With this package, I'd be so thankful, I'm going to have to Skype shake your hand, send you a Collector's Edition Blu-Ray of the film, a puppet from the set, along with an update video with a sequence from the shoot, and give you an associate producer credit on the film.
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THE VISION PACKAGE (Continental): I will personally fly you your entire package. Includes Collector's Edition Blu-ray, Silk-screened poster, scene with puppets relaying a message of your choosing, and the actual story-board, all topped nicely with an associate producer credit. Only one of these available!
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THE PUPPET-MASTER PACKAGE: On top of getting everything listed here, you will inspire me to ride my bicycle from one bug collection to the next. I promise to ride that bike from Los Angeles to wherever the best bugs are, and make that experience into a making of documentary. If I have to ride to Florida via Oregon, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia, I'll do it, but only if you pledge this level of support. I will also donate 50 hours of volunteer time to a California nature preserve.
- (30 days)