Early Creations

Below are the practice stages of the 2D stop motion process.


Basic cut out

  • A basic template was used for the body
  • Cut out of the different parts
  • Parts were joined with thread
  • Once all parts were joined, the body was flattened out with weight
  • White background was used
  • iPhone camera was stationary to take the pictures
  • The paper doll was moved slightly for each shot
  • iMovie software was used


  • Approximately 20 shots were taken to make about 3 seconds of film
  • Each clip had a duration of 0.2 seconds


Trial 1:

  • 23 pictures with a duration of 0.2 seconds
  • Goal: Paper doll was to swing arm while still, tilt head up & down then begin walking forward

Trial 2:

  • 19 pictures with a duration of 0.2 seconds
  • Goal: Have paper doll walk diagonally out of frame while swinging arm

Amendments for future:

  • Use wire to bond the parts
  • May need thicker paper for silhouettes
  • Parts
    • a movable neck is not necessary
    • Legs: need thigh & calfs
    • Forearm is needed
  • Need professional camera with stand
  • Sufficient lighting needed for foreground and background light

Artists’ Styles: Tone & Mood

Lotte Reiniger


  • a German filmmaker who produced lush, elaborate scenes using stop-motion with excruciatingly detailed silhouette cut-outs. Even more impressive was the duration of her films—which qualify as features—made ten years before Disney’s Snow White, which is generally recognized as the first animated feature film
  • Made the first fully animated feature in history which is also the first feature-length silhouette film in 1926, The Adventures of Prince Achmed
  • Reiniger transcended the flatness of silhouette animation by pioneering the multi-plane Tricktisch (trick table), in which layers of glass are inserted into a table so that images with layers and depth can be shot through the table’s central hole
  • Inspiration: Reiniger’s cut-out style was inspired by Chinese silhouette puppetry
  • Method:
    • If a figure needed to make some complex or supple movement, it would have to be built from 25 or 50 separate pieces, then joined together with fine lead wire
    • If a character needed to appear in close-up, a separate, larger model of the head and shoulders would have to be built–as well, possibly, as larger background details to stand behind it
    • Reiniger cut out exquisitely detailed character silhouettes, joined their limbs with thread or wire to make the puppets movable, then positioned them on the surface of a light box and photographed each frame individually, stopping between frames to move each figure a few millimeters more with her hands
  • Documentary “The Art of Lotte Reiniger
  • Video examples of her work:


Fritz Lang


  • a German-Austrian filmmaker, screenwriter and occasional film producer and actor
  • film noir
  • “dark visionary whose meditations on human loneliness where punctuated by a stark visual style and an obsessive work ethic”
  • created cinematic nightmares as well: crafting terrifying frescoes and mad (but sometimes all too true) visions of a world of crime and war
  • made a number of acclaimed silent and talkie films
    • “Metropolis” (1927)
    • “M” (1931)
  • ultra-noir hues of high-style black and white cinematography




Edward Gorey

  • American writer and artist noted for his illustrated books
  • Style: pen-and-ink drawings often depict vaguely unsettling narrative scenes in Victorian and Edwardian settings



Source: http://valfre.com/blogs/blog/13986205-idol-edward-gorey

Time Burton


  • After studying at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), he worked as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios before breaking out on his own. Taking inspiration from popular culture, fairy tales and traditions of the gothic, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as an expression of a personal vision
  • “I always felt much more connected to creatures than, say, people”


  • “stitching was always a very symbolic thing for me. A feeling very much schizophrenic or compartmentalized, or falling apart or not together…symbolic or meaningful”


  • On humor & horror: “it’s always such a head on collision of comedy and tragedy in light and dark. In most good dramas there’s a perversely funny element to it, usually as well. They’ve always been more connected than not”
  • On colors: “The color blue I find is the most calming to me…Red is a good emotional release…it’s a strong quick emotional color”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 2.13.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 2.14.00 PM

  • Inspiration:
    • “What I really responded to in movies was German Expressionism…with the shadows and the light and dark…like Friz Lang…those old films that really captured a spirit and feeling of like being in a dream scape or inside of somebody’s mind
    • Examples: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories (1988)

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 1.57.53 PM

Sources: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/timburton/index.php

Exploring other mediums:





  • black-and-white tones (monochromatic color: colors (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue)
  • using lighting
  • film grain effects
  • minimalistic
  • minimal ambient sounds to create an eerie atmosphere often associated with the horror genre
  • Dark presentation: describing the work as comparable to film noir and German Expressionism

Script Flow: Beats, Camera movements and thoughts & ideas


-Long-Take: Film starts off bright-isn yellow. The camera then starts to slowly zoom out and reveals that the yellow is coming from the moon.

-The camera is panning down while zooming out slowly. An owl that is on a tree branch flies off into the night. Tree branches are passing as the camera is moving back. (ZO: 35%, PD: 65%)

-The PD and ZO now stops. Revealing a suburban neighborhood.

-The camera won’t have any lag time to switch from PD/ZO to panning to the left.

-While the camera is PTTL, we as the audience get the feel and mode of Halloween. Houses are decorated, jack o’latorns are lit and some kids are running around.

-At the very end of the house the camera continues to PTTL while the environment

-As the camera continues PTTL, at the very edge of the camera a rope made out of bed sheets drops down from the top-left corner of the camera.

-Two kids are descending the sheets as the camera is still PPTL.

-The kids are walking in the same direction as the camera as they descend into the forest. The kids being in the middle of the frame. Going the same speed as the kids.

-A tree trunk in the foreground coming from the left-side of the screen blocks the cameras’ view of the kids.

-Quick cut to a close-up on the kids.

-Close-Up Shot: More of a handy-cam feel. The camera slides up-right or down-left on who ever is talking at that moment.

-Bickering is hapening between the little sister and the older brother.

-(The older brother eventually stops and turns towards his little sister. “You better not  )

-The older brother eventually says to hurry up, that they’re going to be late…

-Shot of the kids coming in-between some trees, where they stop to look where the light was coming from.

-Far-off shot:

-Fire is burning on a bunch of cut wood.

-A figure turns in the direction of the camera.

-Back to the shot where the kids come in-between some trees:

-The kids come down to where the fire is.

-Back to Far-off shot:

-The kids pass the camera going in the direction of the figure.

-The figure gets up and heads over to them.

-Close-up shot:

-The big brother greets the figure, who happens to be a classmate, from the other side of town.


Get high on Pixie Dust candy? (Maybe slightly older kids/Senior grade kids reflecting us the students now).

-Really weird, somewhat hallucination scene.

-Tripping moments.

-References to other student films.

-Slowly they die from this.

-Someone’s head gets cut off, that person is still laughing hysterically.

-Live action of the animators animating their existence.

As Him is being described, we have the Him character full screen. The other kids then add more things to Him. As they are adding more things to Him, we see the additions on Him.

-Simple character, eventually becomes a weird creature.

More centered on the kids than Nimmy.

Horror Genre

“The heart of horror is unknowability…because we don’t know what it is because we can’t experience it until it is too late”

Explore different approaches to the horror genre. We take a look at the different styles between Japanese horror stories/movies and Western.

Japanese vs. Western Horror 

  • Western story: plot is moved forward by the character’s goals
    • Episodes are steered by subgoals that the protagonist needs to accomplish in order to conquer his/her main goal and the successes or failures of that character in meeting those goals determine the outcome
  • Japanese story: guided by a series of actions and reactions that lead a character to a thematically significant resolution.
    • Causality rather than conflict
    • Stories moved based on character actions (or actions outside of the control of the characters) and the motivations are often irrelevant or not elaborated upon
    • 2 types of paths:
      • Action and reaction structure
        • Character’s own actions and the universe’s reactions to them drive the story to a conclusion that may or may not have anything to do with character goals
        • Creates a sense of helplessness in being subjected to an uncaring reality
      • Complex action and reaction structure
        • Where character goals come into play; usually the antagonist’s goals that drive the story
          • a bad character has a goal path that comes into direct conflict with the protagonist, setting events into motion that lead to an ending
        • The conclusion:
          • Japanese story ends with “events and/or emphasis”
            • Can conclude with plot events or end with “emphasis” (it just ends)
              • Emphasis of the virtues or ideas displayed in the story
            • Western model ends with a resolution
              • Ends with pronounced belief-based morals
            • The viewers must sympathize and be able to imagine themselves in the plight of that character
              • A series of actions and reactions begins to unfold around them that puts these characters in peril
            • Initial action starts the character’s journey
              • Something they do themselves or an action by someone (or something) else that directly affects them
            • Structure of Story: kishotenketsu
              • 4 act structure that contains:
                • Introduction: of topic, setting, characters, etc.
                • Development: elaboration
                • Twist: changes way all the info is perceived
                • Resolution: answers the questions raised by the twist in a way that situates the story’s plot
              • The twist changes the paradigm and makes the prior events scary when before they were innocuous

Kishotenketsu examples:

The Licked Hand

Intro (起): A young girl is home alone with only her pet dog for comfort.

Development (承): She hears on the news of an escaped convict and becomes frightened. She is too scared to go to sleep without letting the dog lick her hand from beneath her bed.

Twist (転): When she awakes she discovers that her dog is dead and has been the entire night.

Conclusion (結): She finds the words “HUMANS CAN LICK TOO” written in blood.

Resource: http://www.tofugu.com/2014/10/30/the-skeletal-structure-of-japanese-horror-fiction/

HIM’s Halloween Rules Video!

When the STORYTELLER tells us the rules of Halloween for The Legend, we can look at references from theme park ride’s safety instruction videos that are funny and entertaining, such as:

  1. Crash Dummies from Back to the Future Ride

*starts at 4:50

2. Itchy and Scratchy from the The Simpsons Ride

I’m thinking ours can be more like the Itchy and Scratchy one where we have a cute little happy trick r treater who keeps breaking each rules and dies horribly!

-Clay-mation(?) Will give it a weird and funny look.

Alternative Twist Endings: Nimmy’s Curse (Versions 1,2, 3)

  • STORYTELLER tells the story of how NIMMY’s family has to do this every year as he tells the story to his friends, but never reveals it’s his family that has to do it. NIMMY grew up to be his great-great-great-greatx1000! grandmother and now every year the entire neighborhood is spared of this tradition and only NIMMY and her family and all that come after her children are to endure it.

Version 1 (chosen version)

STORYTELLER checks his watch after the lights on the street go off and he rushes home. He unlocks the door and closes it. He is greeted by his family who stand in a row, wearing masks of his face on them. They hold their heads down and way from him in shame. His mother sobs softly. He looks on shocked. There is a knock on the door. He turns to the door and captures his reflection on the nearby mirror. He looks exactly like NIMMY with candy all over his face. He realizes the bag of treats is empty. He has no treats to present to HIM. He looks at his family who are now looking up in fear as the knocking continues. He begins to cry, accepting his fate, puts on his mask, and hesitates before slowly turning the knob. The End.

Version 2

The entire family wears NIMMY masks and costumes. THE STORYTELLER looks at his family as they stand in a row, nods, and places the mask over his face. He gets in between his two siblings. Holding up his bag of treats he realizes there’s a hole in it. There is a knock on the door. He looks up to the door in panic. He looks from side to side at his family. They stare back at him in fear. The knocks continue. He starts to walk toward the door, but the mother holds his hand to keep him from walking any further. The father sobs and shakes his head to the mother. She hesitantly lets go of THE STORYTELLER’s hand and begins to sob softly to herself. THE STORYTELLER begins to sob to himself as he sees this happen and walks to the door. He turns his head towards the mirror. He puts the mask over his head slightly and looks into his reflection. He looks at his tired face and looks at the deep dark chocolate color around his mouth. He smudges it off with his arm and continues to stare. He puts on his mask and we see the NIMMY mask with similar chocolate stains around the mouth. We hear the mother’s cries. He walks to the door once more, pauses, and twists the doorknob. The End.

Version 3

Simply see THE STORYTELLER walk in, put on the mask, and stand in line with his family. There’s a knock on the door. He goes and answers it and we see HIM’s silhouette from behind looking in at THE STORYTELLER and his family as they honor him wearing the NIMMY costume. The End.