Stop Motion Storytelling

We, at Ahimsa Media, have so much respect for the patience and attention to detail required of stop motion storytelling! I recently had the opportunity to view an educational display of props and characters used by Laika Studios in some of their very popular feature films including, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Coraline, and their most recent release, Kubo and the Two Strings. With it taking approximately 5 years to complete an animated feature of this genre, you can imagine the journey involved, and the effort to keep the story fresh and engaging for those working on it.

Coraline props

Coraline’s house from the movie Coraline. This is the actual model used during production, as are all the others shared here.

 

Laika Studios stop motion

A scene from ParaNorman. Look closely at the details of all the tiny props. Each one is made by Laika team specialists. We were shown a video of a tiny lamp being made using real glass blowing techniques and very steady hands!

 

Kubo and the Two Strings

This is a working set from Kubo and the Two Strings, notice the lights which add authenticity and shadows. A stop motion film has more depth to it, because there actually is depth with the characters being in real constructed rooms.

Laika has mastered the blend of technology with the age old technique of stop motion by utilizing 3D printing to create replaceable character heads with expressions more realistic than has ever been done before. A main character, such as Norman may have a face made up of over 78 individual pieces, with thousands of those needed to produce different looks. The protagonist from Kubo for example, has 66,000 face pieces for a total of 48 million different possible facial expressions. You may be starting to see why it takes so long to complete storytelling on a project like this. Just the 3D printing alone takes years to complete, with it taking so many hours for each piece.

stop motion character faces

A few of the removable character facial pieces from Kubo and the Two Strings depicting different expressions.

24 facial expressions are needed per second of filming, with an equal number of photos! No video is ever taken, an entire movie is made up of over 5 thousand images alone. Laika does also masterfully blend CGI elements to make wires disappear or add rooftops to buildings that had to be open, plus some necessary special effect needs that come up.

stop motion

This boat from Kubo and the Two Strings has over 200,000 hand glued paper leaves on it. Not sure why the security guard is so sheepishly hiding behind it!

Knowing how long it takes to complete one of these storytelling projects has us wondering how many stories are in the works right now that we can look forward to in the next 5 years! Can’t wait to enjoy them with our enlightened knowledge of the craft.

Jumping Photos: A Tutorial Video

taking jumping photos

We once did a professional photography session to get some fun jumping photos of our family. A while back, when were all at the beach, we decided to try our hand at it because there was a little ledge of sand that we thought would help make us look like we were jumping higher. It turned out to be really easy to photograph and we got some amazing shots! Jumping has now become our family’s signature way of capturing scenic memories. It’s contagious too! People who pass us while we are taking these photos want us to photograph some jumping photos of them too, on their own devices!

So that you can enjoy such an experience as well, and have a new way of capturing memories and telling your stories, I have created a tutorial video to demonstrate just how easy it is.

Warm up those leg muscles and get ready to catch some height and add an element of creativity to your shots. Really though, you don’t need to have any athletic ability to do this ~ just have fun!

Peace Fund Radio ~ An Interview With Lori on Technology and Education

Our own Lori Yearwood answered a call from actor Adrian Paul and next thing she new she was putting on her educator cap, technology cape and flying down to LA Talk Radio to do a one hour radio show for Adrian’s charity The Peace Fund! Ok, she calmly accepted the offer to converse with Adrian on the topic of technology as it relates to education today, and being that she works out of our LA office, she drove 10 min to meet him for his Peace Fund Radio Show.

Peace Fund

Ready To Jump Into Action

Adrian, best known for his role as Duncan McCloud on the Highlander Series, founded The Peace Fund to focus on small, under-funded and hard-working charities who are determined to make a positive difference to the lives of children living in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Every Wednesday he hosts the Peace Fund Radio show discussing relevant current topics with expert guests and featured heroes who are making a great difference.

Peace Fund Radio

On air

The content of Lori’s show flowed like a great conversation discussing whether technology in our school system is beneficial or detrimental to our students.  Listen to a recorded archive here:

How might you have chimed in with your thoughts on some of these topics?

  • Teachers’ abilities to implement technology
  • Technology being used as a bandaid solution for underperforming schools rather than hiring more teachers
  • Should all schools receive equal technological resources?
  • Effects of technology use at home
  • Students losing creativity and the ability to solve problems on their own
  • The continuing pattern of grand educational movements that always dwindle out and disappoint

Please feel free to comment below with your own thoughts and experiences, we’d love to keep the conversation going.

TEDxWarsaw Talk: Erica Speaks on Transmedia Character Development

Erica

Erica in Action

 

Our own Erica Hargreave was fortunate to enjoy an enriching experience as she spoke to a group of enthusiastic storytellers at a TEDx event in Warsaw.  Now we all have the great fortune to enjoy what she shared!  Both entertaining and informative, Erica created a mini storyworld right on the stage as she enveloped different characters to demonstrate her unique brand of transmedia character development, and the permission we must allow ourselves to be creative.

 

 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

The Stories Our Superpowers Tell

We’ve all said it many times when trying to get through a difficult situation; “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” We have all been able to call on inner strength in different moments, but what if there was something challenging in your life bigger than just a moment?  What would your inner strength be capable of developing then, and where would it take you?  Most importantly, what great stories would you have to share as a result?

Photo Courtesy of BK

Photo Courtesy of BK

Realwheels Theatre is exploring this in a community storytelling project, #SuperVoices.  They are inviting storytellers who self-identify as having some form of disability to share with them in written, pictorial or video form, their superpower.  Everyone is invited to engage and benefit from the inspirations that are so often sparked by stories so bold and honest. Being that this is a digital project, they are hoping that even those with limited mobility will be able to participate.

In some cases a superpower is an exceptional talent that emerges, as in the case of Stephen Wiltshire, who is known as the human camera.  In the video below you can see Stephen fly over Rome and then draw everything he saw down to the exact number of windows on buildings.

In other cases, superpowers are a new sense of intuition or knowledge that becomes heightened as self awareness blossoms into new capabilities.  One of the #SuperVoices participants, @freeandclear1, is able to smell toxic chemicals and avoid them as a result of migraines.  One of the most powerful stories shared so far in this campaign is by Lynnthargic, who wrote a very poetic blog on all that she is now able to see. It is simply titled, Superpowers.

If you would like to share your superpower, please do so with the #SuperVoices hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or by posting your story on the WheelVoices Facebook page or G+ Community. You may also email it to Realwheels directly at: realwheelstheatre@gmail.com. Tell your story using your own preferred technique; photos, videos or written word.

Garden Sketch, A New App For Garden Lovers

As we are approaching Autumn, your garden is probably finishing up quite a round of transformations as it went from buds, to blooms, to full Summer glory, and now an Autumn harvest! This is where the creative genius Maija Leivo and Ian Herring comes in. Inspired by their own gardening experiences, they have created and recently launched Garden Sketch App, an interactive iPad experience that lets you plan out your garden design strategy now to have an even more delightful, invite everyone over to enjoy your garden kind of story for next year!

Essentially, the Garden Sketch App is a planning tool where you can plot out various arrangements if you are looking to transform your garden space, or if you find yourself with a yard you’ve never tended to before and you need to dream up some ideas to transform it into a beloved garden.  Once you enter the dimensions of your space, you can map out as many different designs as you want, making your time spent on this App almost as Zen-like as gardening itself.  You really are creating your own storyworld that you get to live in through next year’s growing season! We’d like to illustrate the technology for you in a before/after scenario.

BEFORE.  You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property's dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

BEFORE. You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property’s dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.  In our case, we’d be accompanied by a good book to read or notebook to start crafting one of the many stories that wanders through our imaginations.

The technology of this App over the old paper/pencil method gives you more freedom to create, move around and delete. For a full tutorial on how the above garden was created, visit the Garden Sketch site.  There are also great stories coming out of Maija’s and Ian’s own garden, which you may enjoy checking in with on their blog.  Like most gardeners, they enjoy sharing information, tips, recipes, and chatting about horticulture in general.  Join in the community love on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

The Collection of Happiness Stories Continues

We always enjoy working with the Vancouver Theatre Company, Realwheels, and one of their latest quests has been particularly fun for us.  A short while ago we launched a campaign with them to find out the different things that make people happy. This was done in collaboration with OneStory, the video interview App.  Realwheels was curious to know how different people define their identity regardless of physicality by showcasing the universal concept of happiness and obstacles.

OneStory has proven to be the perfect place to collect people’s thoughts.  You can see what is there so far by visiting the OneStory site.  The different ideas of happiness are simple and inspiring, and everyone’s honesty with regards to obstacles is sincere and refreshing.  Here I am getting in on the action:

We’d like to know your story and have you add your voice to this project.  Interview your friends while you’re at it.  After all, someone has to hold your iPhone to interview you, why not turn it around on them? There are two questions we’d like you to answer, that will then be stitched together to form a seamless spot.

1. What is your name and what makes you happy?

2. Is there an obstacle to that happiness?

To do this you simply need to download the OneStory App for free on your iPhone or iPad.  Once you open the App you will see different categories of interviews.  Feel free to give a listen, people have some really interesting things to say! Our topic is found within the Featured interview topics, as well as within the Health related topics.

OneStory App

When you are ready to record your interview click on the red record button with an image of a camera on it in the top right corner of the screen.  Scroll down and select ‘What Makes You Happy?’ Press Next in the top right corner and then enter the name of the person who will be speaking.  Press Next again and then press the button that says ‘Record Answer’  when you are ready to answer the first prompt.

Share your story through your feeds using #WheelVoices and enjoy being a part of the Realwheels community where everyone has a story and everyone has a voice.

Exploring Happiness ~ OneStory Together with Realwheels Bring You a #WheelVoices Campaign

This week marks the launch of a digital video campaign rooted in storytelling. We are thrilled to be participating alongside the innovative creative geniuses of OneStory, and the collectively inspirational group at Realwheels.

Realwheels is interested in your views on self-identification.  How do you define and articulate your identity? They are exploring the sources of identity that are universal among all people, regardless of physicality.  In order to gather and share as many different view points as possible, they have collaborated with OneStory, as it is a grand interview style sharing platform.  Anyone at all who is interested is encouraged to either be recorded or record themselves answering two simple questions:

  • What is your name and what makes you happy?
  • What is the obstacle to that happiness?

Everyone’s videos will be available for viewing on the OneStory App, but you can also join in the fun by sharing your own and other people’s videos across your social media feeds with the #WheelVoices and #DisabilityArts hashtags, and by following and engaging with the #WheelVoices and #DisabilityArts hashtags on your social media feeds.

As an example, here is Realwheels’ Lindsey Adams’ OneStory on What Makes Her Happy …

 

 

You can record your story directly on the OneStory App, which is a free download.  Simply:

  1. Download the free OneStory app to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch;
  2. Create an account and verify your email address;
  3. Click on the campaign or topic “What makes you happy?”;
  4. Click on the camera button in the top right corner;
  5. Enter the name of the storyteller and answer the questions in the interview;
  6. Change the title of your video; and
  7. Press ‘Post’. The link will be delivered within minutes of completing the interview.

Also, as of last night, you can now also create OneStories directly from your computer! Here are the instructions for recording yourself on your computer:

1.  Go to the Realwheels campaign page at: http://www.onestory.com/campaigns/what-makes-you-happy

2. Click on the ‘Share your story’ button

Step #2 Click on the 'Share your story' button

Step #2 Click on the ‘Share your story’ button

 

3.  This will launch a pop up window that offers two options for story capturing. One is to download the iPhone / iPad app from the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/onestory/id605376655 or the other is just to click on ‘Start Recording.’

 

Step #3 Chose your option for capturing your story

Step #3 Chose your option for capturing your story

 

4. This allows the user to record directly from their computer, no app or interviewer required. After ‘Start Recording’ click on the ‘Continue’ button and then ‘Allow’ the program to have access to your camera and microphone.

 

Step #4 Recording directly from your computer, no app needed

Step #4 Recording directly from your computer, no app needed

 

5.  Then simply wave to camera and be cued with a countdown to start recording your first answer with the OneStory Recorder. After completing that you will be given the option to choose to watch, re-record or move onto the next question (which you may have to ‘allow’ permissions for once more).

6.  Once you are finished recording your answers, you will need to create an account or login to an existing one and then you can automatically upload your edited video to OneStory.com

7. Spread the word and share your OneStory videos, along with others you find inspiring, through social media using the #WheelStories and #DisabilityArts hashtags.

We are really looking forward to the stories that unfold!

Canada Remembers

Thanks to Thomega Entertainment and their Canada Remembers Documentary Series, we are reminded every year at Remembrance Day of the importance of this day, and the importance of taking the time for some quiet reflection of the freedoms and safety we enjoy, thanks to those that have faced unimaginable horrors on our behalf.  Tony Towstego has taken the time to help the Veterans to share their stories, before we have lost them, reminding us how important it is to thank these soldiers.

 

Canada Remembers Documentary Series

Thomega Entertainment’s Canada Remembers Documentary Series

 

For us, these stories have touched our souls and impacted our conscience that much more profoundly, as we spent weeks poring over the videos in the making of Educational Guides to accompany the Canada Remembers Documentary Series. That, and with our travels through Roamancing, it is continually driven home for us just how very fortunate we are that our Veterans and present soldiers have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. As a result, we feel it is important on Remembrance Day to both Remember and to Act.  What I mean by Act, is to get out and thank a Veteran or Soldier, and / or to share with our youngsters the importance of the day – Lest We Forget.

This Remembrance Day, Thomega Entertainment has shared with us their latest Canada Remembers Documentary on Henry Beaudry, the Story Keeper  …

 

 

You can also catch their 2011 Canada Remembers: Festival for Heroes on City TV Saskatchewan TONIGHT at 11 pm …

 

 

Thank you Tony for raising our conscience and awareness for Remembrance Day, and for sharing the stories of our Veterans and Soldiers before they are lost forever!

UNWTO Travel & Media Conference: #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Presentation

For those of you that sadly could not be with Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market and I at the UNWTO Tourism and Media Conference last week on Egypt’s Red Sea, here is a slide share of our presentation on our #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Demonstration.

 

 

With any luck, we will also get our paws on the video that was shot of our presentation to share with all of you too.