Saturday, September 28, 2013

Triumph and Olympia layout studies

Okay- first off:


The following images may be considered offensive/distressing for some of my viewers. Please understand, I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter of the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)- or Nazi party. I am violently against their beliefs and their crimes against humanity.

These images were drawn from two films- Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) and Olympia Pt.1. These films were assigned to me by my independent study project leader to study the shots that the director, Leni Riefenstahl, used to create these racist German propaganda films.

Triumph of the Will

I think the thing that actually struck me most about all of these shots is actually how WELL they are shot, framed, composed. Riefenstahl really knew how to manipulate the viewer into thinking that this was the most glamorous political party for Germany. She showed repeatedly how massive and all-encompassing the military was and really made the individual soldiers appear to be the best and the strongest and the pride of their country. She also showed their "humanity" by showing them goofing off at their training grounds and lots of smiles.

Further investigation into this film, however, proved just HOW manipulative this Nazi ***** really was. She used multiple cameras for so many angles AND- shot the parade multiple times to get them all. Once, at least- with a camera in the car with Hitler (the Nazi sh*t-head) and at least once without. (Honestly, try to imagine being a person watching the parade, watching them do it once then having to do it again with the same enthusiasm!) Also, it is mentioned that her "arrangement" of the activities and even some of the landmarks of the parade are NOT in order! Meaning, she manipulated it even further to build up and release the viewers, per her "vision". So rather than me even believing that this is a 'documentary' of the 1934 Nazi Party rally, it just feels like pure fiction now.

Olympia, Pt. 1

So, the Film Library's only copy of Olympia was on VHS- which you can't really Pause... So much tracking lines! XD So I didn't do a lot of studies from it. One, there weren't too many shots that I would have redone. It's a bunch of athletes doing athletic things. Or maybe watching the Olympics so many times in my life, I didn't see much of anything "original" or something. (Except the opening, which features mostly naked athletes doing athletic things like they were the original Greeks! VERY cool if you like Greek stuff... like a certain fourth year I know...)

I also learned something interesting though about Hitler's authorized taping of the 1936 Olympics. Riefenstahl actually resisted the typical documentary style previously used of filming the Games and went for her own idea, which is the basis for how the Games are filmed NOW! She recreated the 'genre', I guess. Sick, no?

Overall, I come away from this just feeling so much sadness and sorrow for the people who died under these people's influence and the people who were romanced into believing that they were in the right for the sake of their country under that psycho and his devotees. Also, I really hate that I found so much beauty in the director's choices. If only she'd used her talents for ANYONE other than the Nazis, I think she would have made an amazing contribution to the art form. However, seeing as how Triumph of the Will is considered one of the most infamous "documentary" propaganda films of all time, I'm not sure she could have surpassed that...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kyros sculpture progress

So I am FINALLY enrolled in John Mahoney (seriously, he's the man. He is. AMAZING!) Sculpture class after- oh, only three years of threatening- I mean, promising! to do so... And already I am remembering how much I love sculpture. I mean, I sculpted the heads of both of my characters last year, but I ALWAYS wanted to do the full body, but just never got the chance, you know? There was always something else- "more important"- that I was supposed to be working on....

Like animating my film....

So here I am, in class, sculpting my final design for Kyros, the old master. I am. THRILLED! Here- have some photos of my progress.


I finished the armature only in the first week. I was sad, but I got to class a little late because of my meeting before and I had to go and buy a lot of the supplies. I wish I had unlimited funds- I would buy everything I could every possibly need! Including Dream Wire.


The plan going in to class today was to heat up the Chavant, while that was going on- to wrap the body with aluminum foil to lighten him up a bit, then THROW the Chavant on it as quickly as possible. I wanted his rough shape roughed out before the end of class. Needless to say- I did it!
Now I want to get some references of some good strong anatomy of old people (think senior citizen Olympians!) and really make a lot of progress next week. I find myself looking forward to this class more than almost any other.

I am reminded though of the last time I made a sculpture- in high school. The bust I called 'Misery'. For every reason that just popped in your head- it was accurate! The assignment was to make a bust portrait kind of thing... And what did over-achiever-art-student-Amanda do?!?!?! Why- a slightly larger than life-size bust- complete with two ARMS!!!! When wet, it weighed about 40-50 pounds. It lightened up to maybe 35-40 when complete. It also destroyed my mother's brand new teak dining room table when I took it home to work on it. Lugging that bitc- uhhh, art piece home should be adopted as a fun new version of torture!

Now imagine me during the first firing... I had spent WEEKS on this bitc- uhh, girl. (One day, I had even asked if I could stay inside during a fire drill because 1) I was in the middle of a great streak and 2) I was covered to my WRISTS in clay! I was forced outside in the Texas heat, where I first looked like a psycho doctor who had performed some horrific surgery on some poor victim, then the clay hardened on me and I was an encased sculpture.) I was TERRIFIED that she would bust open. If I'd encased any air bubbles in her, she would explode. She was also so large, that my teacher couldn't fit ANYTHING ELSE in the kiln! (And it was a BIG KILN!) Thankfully (or was it?!), she came out mostly unscathed.

When I was asked how I wanted to glaze her- I wanted to stay as far away from traditional glazes as possible. I knew what I would do with my lousy color sense. I would RUIN IT! So my teacher, the PHENOMENAL Miss Moore, suggested that we smoke her with a firing process called 'raku'. Of course, I was down. However- you must realize- most sculptures made by my class could have been smoked in a coffee can! But NOT Misery! We needed a oil barrel to fit her in! So after I spray painted her a metallic gold, we threw (read: had to carefully lower a 35 pound sculpture down from the lip of a tall oil barrel!) her in the bottom, filled it with newspapers and SET! IT! ON! FIRE!!!!! MWA-HAHAHAH!!!!!!

Sadly... she survived. I will never forget "uncovering" her face in the oil barrel. I had to brush away ashes from her eyes. She looked like a face frozen in agony from the Pompeii volcano! It was AWESOME!

Actually, she came out so well, my teacher made me take her to a local art competition. (Please keep in mind, most students going to this competition had one art piece... on a piece of paper... or cardboard. I HAD THAT FREAKING 35-POUND BEHEMOTH!!!) I got a first place, then got selected to represent our region at the STATE level. SO I had to drag Misery on a BUS to Arlington, TX and lug her to the freaking building! GOD, how I hated her by then! I seriously just wanted to drop her on the walk in to the building... I ended up getting a perfect score at State.

I still hate that freaking sculpture....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Layout Studies

No one comments, but I have 22,400+ pageviews... which is more than I did last month. So SOMEONE is looking! So I'll post art for you guys! Here are some storyboard studies I did on a 1920 silent German Expressionist film called The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Later this week, I will be doing my own original layouts for some of these shots. Not to make them "better", per se, but how ~I~ would have made the shot, trying to keep in mind what the director was trying to say, the mood, etc. I hope to post those later.

WARNING!: Spoilers abound! (Especially if you speak German.)

That first one just HIT me and I had to draw it. I think that room is just perfect.

I loved the tall freaking chair for the Town Clerk. Had to draw it just because of that.

There's Alan's chair again. I think it almost stole these scenes for me.

Again, I had to do the funeral because of that amazing gate! Wow.
Pardon the stupid blob of marker on Jane's face... marker decided it was a great time to go BLOOP.

The rooftop scene is spectacular.

This shot is simply perfect in my opinion.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How can this be?

I find it funny... I've been INSANELY busy lately. School is about to start- my fourth year. (Yeah, don't say it out loud... I am ready to scream at any second just thinking about it!) As a RA, we've been in training for the last 2 weeks, along with moving and everything else. This week is check-in in the dorms.

I'm just not ready! It's all happening so fast! And yet...

I wouldn't mind graduating in a month. I kind of want to leave CalArts. I want to work. I want to NOT have three things I need to do every day. School, work, homework. School, work, homework! Cycle, rinse, repeat- every day!

So I find it really really odd that the ONE thing I look forward to every day and think about every day, and wish I could do every day, and MISS when I don't get to do it is ANIMATE! It's all I want to do now. I find such a strange sense of zen when I work. Especially when you hit that unbelievably productive kick! (You know, the one that even Candy Crush Saga can't even drag you away from?)

I love it so much now. Hard to believe that three years ago I'd never even animated a ball bounce, and today I am animating an old guy climbing a ladder. I started sometime this afternoon and suddenly find myself sitting here at 2:30 in the morning- and I DON'T FEEL IT! I was doing so well and just moving through it so much that I don't even feel tired. I feel like I could animate until the sun comes up. I feel like it gives me energy now- whereas it used to drain me. I still don't know if it's what I want to do for the foreseeable future, but right now- I absolutely love animating. I don't miss the things I am missing out on with people on the outside- hell, I hardly miss the people!, I don't worry about what anyone thinks of me (this is actually something I wish I never felt, but I digress...), and I don't care about anything but: "Will it look right?", "Does it work?", "Will it convey everything I want?".

I had a discussion with a girlfriend of mine about animation and we remembered my freshman year and the entire class sitting in absolute stunned silence as we all watched our first assignment (the aforementioned ball bounce) play on the projector. (That was such a long, long time ago.) But we both admitted that every time we animate, we are secretly searching for that feeling we had on watching a successful assignment: that feeling of satisfaction and awe. That feeling that WE made that happen! ~WE~ made that pencil line COME TO LIFE! WE control the art monkeys and make them dance- what?

Is there seriously anything better in this world than seeing something you've made be everything you wanted it to be? I can't think of anything that gives me this thrill anymore. All the crap I used to do to fill my time is just that- crap. I don't care about it, or ~think~ about it the way I think about animating. (Okay, maybe I miss knitting every now and then... But honestly, that's very similar to animating. You're making something, and you ~think~ you know what it will look like when finished. Sometimes you fuck it up and you have to go back and fix it. Very frequently it doesn't live up to your expectations. And very rarely, you think you know how it's going to look, and you are amazed with some crazy happenstance that makes it better than you ever dreamed...)

Also- it takes a fucking long time! Just like animation.

Sometimes I wish I could just quit everything and do nothing else but animate... Then I remember I have bills to pay.