Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Making Things 1: Putty in their Paws

You know how it goes, right? They lure you in...
They ply you with strong drink...
They show you a good time,
treat you like a big star...
and then the next morning you wake up with an empty wallet,
and a tiger in your foyer.
And y'know what? I'll do it again next year! Woohoo! :D Yes, congratulations and a big froggy amphibious air-kiss to the fine folks at the New York International Children's Film Festival for once again putting the FUN into FUNdraiser in the most delightful way with the second not-precisely-annual "Get 'Tooned!" Adults-Only Cocktail Party/Claymation Workshop!

 The wallet was empty because they gave it to me and I haven't gotten around to filling it up yet; once again, by the point in the evening at which they asked for donations above and beyond the ticket price, I was feeling too warm and fuzzy to resist. They were giving away these really neat bookbags as a thank-you gift for additional donations; the book bags were recycled from the big, colorful vinyl cloth banners they hang around the city to advertise the festival and they were very, very cool but I was going to pass on that because between working in publishing (where there are a lot of giveaway bookbags floating around looking for homes) and doing swim support (where the schwag bags are always these great little nylon drawstring bags), I could have a side business running a SoHo bag table on my lunch hour. When I said I didn't need a bag, though, they mentioned that they had wallets, too, and that's something I've been thinking about getting ever since a friend gave me a really nice purse for Christmas. My old one was falling apart - the new one is a hundred times nicer than the old one, which was a cheap street-stand knockoff,  but it's just enough deeper that cards and cash get lost in the bottom of the pocket where I put them  and I'd been thinking a wallet would help in the finding of things. When it turned out that the wallets were made out of Secret of Kells banners (boy, did I love that movie - still waiting for the Seal Wife one that was supposed to be the studio's next production!), well, SOLD. So that's how I woke up with an empty wallet the next morning.

 The tiger is about 3.5 inches tall and claims to be harmless, although there was a suspicious scene that took place midway through the evening...

he swore he just found the guy like that, though...
Once again, half the fun was seeing what all the weird and wonderful characters that were created.

Here was most of the cast of characters.
There were some interesting differences between this one and the first one. I don't know if it was because last year (or rather 2010) was the first time we did this and  none of us attendees knew what the NYICFF folks had planned for the evening, or if it was because I got there a little bit later this year and people had already settled in, but last time, I'd been seriously entertained by watching all of these grownups (including myself!) walking into a roomful of colorful clay, all for us to play with however we wanted to - I think a lot of us had a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights moment as we tried to remember what it was that we used to do with this stuff.

This year, I got there a little bit later and didn't see anywhere near as much hesitation, but there were a number of us there for the 2nd time and I think most of us who'd come last year came with some thoughts of what we were going to do this year. I was personally wavering between a tiger, a penguin, and a stumpy little monster - could've gone either way but the first clay that caught my eye when I walked in was a lovely tigery orange, so that's what I did, and I thought he came out rather well.

Pre-prep prize, though, definitely went to the repeat attendee who brought wire armatures for her characters, this year, plus props. She's a design instructor and has access to something that I'd heard of a few years ago as being in development, but had no idea actually had come into existence - a 3-D printer! That's right - she designed a wire-frame version of this director's chair using a CAD program - and then she hit "Print". And there you go, one toy director's chair, right there in my hand!
Definitely raised the bar for the rest of us next year!

 One more noticeable - and fun - difference from last year? A lot more interaction between the participants and our characters! If you watch the last one, it was pretty much set up that each of us did our own little scene with our own one or two characters -
 This year, there seemed to be a lot more team efforts - partly from people who came as a group, like these friends -
This Nessie-meets-rocketship scene was a husband-and-wife team effort -
And this guy came up with a chase scene that involved I think it was five different characters, including my tiger.
I'd originally thought I was going to just do that while I waited to do a solo thingy but by the time we were done we were all totally cracking up at the playback, and I'd had my tiger do just about everything I'd planned for him to do, and I just decided that was enough for the evening's production!
After the animating session was over, there were brownies with ice cream and hot fudge sauce and a little more time to talk, laugh and take pictures of each others creations,

After that, they showed us a great set of shorts that had been produced by the kids in their workshops. There were 3, all very good and very different. My favorite was a combination of stop-motion and live action called "Daydreaming", with a teacher saddled with a classroom full of young Walter Mittys, who tries and tries to rein in their daydreams, until at the end she finds herself falling into the blissfullest daydream of any of them. The kids acted, directed and handled the animation and it was just wonderful.

After we finished watching those, the forms for additional donations were passed around, and then it was on to the grand finale of the evening, a preliminary rendition of our evening's production, "Channel Surfing". Last year's premise was "The Auditions" - this year, the idea was that all of these little scenes were being seen as a person was channel-surfing on a TV set.

 Heck, if TV sets had that many channels of pure silliness, I might even go get one - it came out well!

Can't wait to show you the final version, we should be getting it any day now.


Harry said...

Love the tiger, and I have read about the 3D printers would love to see one in action.

bonnie said...

Thanks! I would love to see a 3D printer work, too, it was fascinating just seeing the product, but I still can't picture how it works!