Learning Contract Meeting

I met with Richard and my second marker, Susan Turner, today to review and sign my learning contract. Susan began by informing me that she is not of an animation background and asked me to briefly explain what stop motion is, which I did. She also got me to explain why I was interested in basing my project on stop motion animation. I told her that I’m a relative newcomer to animation and that I’ve been learning it through a digital medium and how I now wanted to regress and learn the principles from the ground up and how stop motion provides me with a means to do so. Maybe I didn’t put it exactly like that but she got the gist.

The fact that Susan is not associated with animation is of benefit I feel as I can deliver a more rounded and self-contained project. I will have to explain the principles of animation and stop motion. I will be writing this Literature review with a view to educate a non-animator in the art of stop motion so that they fully understand what is involved in the process of stop motion film making and the anthropomorphising of an inanimate object.

Susan had some very useful advice for me. She began by saying I should be prepared to receive no reply to my ‘interview’ emails. I told her that I did expect it to be difficult and that the project wasn’t in any way hinged on the outcome, or not, of the emails. Richard had a great suggestion on this topic and suggested that I contact some of the Dublin-based animators when I will be home over the Christmas period. Between now and then I will contact people like Brown Bag and let them know the nature of my project, the dates when I am available and hopefully I will be able to contact somebody during that time.

We talked a little about how I should be organising my time and agreed that creating a Gantt chart should be my next task. Though I prefer to work with the mindmapping technique, the Gantt Chart will stamp a deadline to all the ideas and give me a more definitive structure to my tasks.

Both Richard and Susan had read me second draft of the learning contract prior to our meeting today and had made some notes. Among the typo’s there were some amendments to be made. I was to change my statement of turning in a  ‘literature review’, implying a fully completed body of work, for a ‘draft literature review’, allowing for changes to be made in the second semester. Richard feels that I should be aiming to turn in more pre-production work for the short film in the week twelve report. This should include a definitive story outline along with the storyboarding etc.  They both mentioned that I need not go into too much detail with the topics involved and to stay focused on the scope of the project.

As we discussed the nature of the final deliverable, it was suggested that I have an idea of the human characteristics/ emotions that I want to instil into my inanimate object and use that as a point to work backwards from. I like this idea and will try and develop some ideas to create this kind of anthropomorphism. I love that word.

Susan also added that in order to gauge whether I have been successful or not with my animation I should conduct some form of user testing. I considered this idea and decided that if done in the right way it could add more weight to my final deliverable and its respective report. She had some reservations about the five minute pitch for the animation. Richard informed her that it had been halved from the original ten minutes, and that he felt it was achievable. In any case, I have included a caveat by writing it will be ‘about’ five minutes in length. This allows me anywhere between 3 and 7 minutes I reckon.

It came as a relief to discover that Richard had had a quick look for journals and published papers on this topic and came up with little results. Both Susan and Richard understand that most of my research will be conducted through published books and other online sources.

Once the meeting with Susan finished, Richard quickly showed me the Portal website which contains an abundance of journals. While there are few out there, we did happen on some which might be of relevance to my literature review. I need to access this site through the university’s server if I want to avoid paying for the articles, which I most certainly do. I voiced my confusion about the ability to reference websites such as Stop Motion Animation. If I deem them to carry weight, Richard said, then it is okay to use them in the literature review. This comes as a relief as there are plenty of useful websites out the re that I have already learned a lot from.

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