Friday, October 28, 2011


Another month has streaked by. Where have I been all this time?  Well, here's my first excuse:

Persuaded by dire warnings of ever more virulent types of flu waiting to attack us this winter if we are not vaccinated, I went obediently to get the shot. As soon as I walked out of the local health centre - I'm not making this up - my throat began to feel prickly. By the time I got home I was sniffling, sneezing and limbs ached. The doctors say a reaction may set in after twenty-four hours and will last only three or four days. I must have a speedier and more contrary immune system because my reaction was instantaneous, has lasted over a week and is still not quite okay. I may or may not now be resistant to the latest flu virus but I sure as hell am not getting shot in 2012. 

Second excuse: I was making a stop motion animation. Or rather trying to make a stop motion animation just because I said I was going to, didn't I? As everybody knows who has ever tried, animation, especially stop motion, is a slow, painstaking process requiring infinite patience and precise attention to detail. Well, I wanted to see instant results and so did my usual thing of cutting corners, lots of corners, and improvising - all the while sniffling, sneezing etc. 

I had already made the Naugustine paper puppet (see October 7th below) but her wire joints weren't holding so I had to re-do her and hinge her parts with needle and thread - excruciatingly fiddly! I wrote a short script and made the Doremy Faxman puppet, hinged in the same manner. Too impatient to build a proper copy stand and get proper lights, I set up the camcorder on a tripod above my desk but couldn't, of course, make the lens point straight down because the tripod legs were in the way. For lighting there was only my desk lamps, so there's a pinkish cast on everything and the dialogue, written by hand on the white backgrounds, is barely visible. And when I started moving the puppets, I didn't do it smoothly or slowly enough. I used iStopMotion Mac software (bought ages ago and never used until now so my version is already obsolete) to capture the frames and put them on my computer. Then began the editing process: tooth-grindingly, eye-wateringly, repetitive-strain-injuringly slow and tedious but being obsessive as well as undisciplined, I stayed up all night, several nights, then did it all again in iMovie, adding all sorts of effects in attempts to slow down the jerky action and improve readability, but then deleted it all after realising that the original simple rough cut was much better. Imported that rough version to Garage Band and added an improvised musical sound track - couldn't add speech because the action is too fast. 

So, here is the very very rough, very very fast fruit of all that impatient labour. I will do a smoother, more proficient version by and by, but have to say I am not entirely displeased with this amateurish first draft. Because the text flashes by too dimly and too quickly to be read, here is my script:


Doremy Faxman (Hard-hitting Media person/interviewer):  So, Naugustine, why are you here?
Naugustine:  That is the question I ask myself every day.
Faxman: Come on! I asked you why you're on this show and you start waffling on about the meaning of life!
Naugustine: Sorry, I thought you meant...
Faxman: I know what you thought I meant. Just answer the question!
Naugustine: Well, I'm on this show because I'm not a celebrity and I thought it me
Faxman: I'm afraid I have to terminate this interview, Naugustine.
Naugustine: But why? I haven't even started!
Faxman:  You've broken the rules of this show . NOT a CELEBRITY dot com does not permit non-celebrities to seek celebrity by appearing on this show.  This is Doremy Faxman saying goodnight non-celebrities, wherever you are! 

The video is on the main Blaugustine blog, on Vimeo, on YouTube and here:

1 comment:

Argent said...

This is grrreattt fun! I actually quite like the rough-cast look to it, it reminds me of 'Rhubarb and Custard'. I keep thinking of having a go at some kind of animation, but I'm very impatient so not sure I could do it very well. I really like the puppets - Doremy bears a striking resemblance to another well-known fictional character :-)