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Unique Interview: Director/animator Robert Morgan explores the darker aspect of his craft in “STOPMOTION”


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Mar 22, 2024
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What led Robin King to turn out to be your co-writer?

Robin’s only a actually good outdated pal of mine. We went to highschool collectively, and he’s acquired expertise in stop-motion animation as properly. He additionally comes from an performing background and a filmmaking background, so he discovered the idea attention-grabbing. I’d written a few therapies alone that weren’t actually working, and I requested him to have a look at them as a result of he’s a author as properly, simply to offer me suggestions. And his responses have been so good, I simply stated, “Do you wish to write the script with me?” I’ve identified him for many of my life, however we’d by no means written collectively earlier than, and it labored very properly. Bringing Robin on board massively improved the story, I imagine, and actually made it coalesce.

Did you pursue any key themes out of your quick movies within the narrative of STOPMOTION?

No, not consciously. Perhaps simply the truth that the visceral look of the puppets is analogous, however within the function it’s way more overt and made very literal–that they’re product of meat and viscera and issues like that, whereas within the quick movies, you don’t fairly know what they’re. However normally, Robin and I simply kind of adopted the logic of the story. It’s barely completely different from the shorts in the truth that it’s a few human fairly than a puppet, so it’s a bit extra grounded in actuality. Basically, after I make my shorts, I don’t consciously attempt to create a type of through-line and use themes repeatedly. I simply do what I’m occupied with, actually.

I might assume that for this movie, you had extra money however much less time than whenever you made your shorts. Is that appropriate?

Just about. I imply, there are two phases to the animation capturing. The primary was all of the scenes the place there’s stop-motion and stay motion co-existing in the identical body. So when animated characters are interacting, strolling in direction of a live-action character, or for instance the puppet strolling up onto the mattress–all of that, as a result of it needed to be composited precisely, was performed whereas we have been capturing the stay motion. For instance, we had a reproduction of the bed room constructed, so we had two variations of it: one which was simply a part of the set, and a precise reproduction that was raised off the bottom with a entice door so the animator might are available, after which these two photographs have been lined up precisely and composited afterwards. I used to be capturing the live-action stuff, and we had an animation group doing their factor on the identical time. All of it needed to be very rigorously coordinated to verify every part matched, so it might be joined collectively later.

As soon as all that was performed and we completed the shoot, the second part was me alone, creating all the film-within-the-film scenes. So Ella’s movie, and Ella’s mom’s movie with the cyclops puppets, the stuff you see on the laptop computer screens–all that was performed afterward by me, and I might shoot whereas we have been modifying on the identical time, and I might shoot the animation based mostly on what we have been placing collectively. And, you recognize, modifying and filming two stop-motion films on the identical time whereas modifying was fairly a problem. And also you’re proper, it was extra money however much less time. Precisely that.

The movie emphasizes what a solitary craft stop-motion could be, so how was it working with a a lot bigger crew on this movie?

I liked it! There are two sides to the filmmaking course of: One is the very solitary stop-motion work, which is normally simply me in a room alone for weeks. After which the opposite aspect is the live-action stuff, the place it’s a way more collaborative course of. I like each of them, really, and the enjoyment of constructing STOPMOTION was attending to work with wonderful folks, and cuing them into the wavelength of the movie after which giving them quite a lot of freedom. I do like being stunned by what different folks convey to a undertaking. So with Aisling, for instance, we talked in regards to the character of Ella beforehand, however more often than not I simply let her do it, as a result of what she was bringing was a lot extra attention-grabbing than me simply dictating to her. After which we’d simply regulate it.

So I really like that scenario of organising this type of playground and seeing what different folks contribute to it, after which having the ability to reply to that. It may be as a result of after I make my stop-motion movies, I’ve to actually do every part. I’m lighting it, I’m animating it, I’m performing it, I edit it. So it’s very nice to produce other folks are available and convey one thing else that I wouldn’t–selecting the best folks after which having them shock you with their concepts. Like Léo Hinstin, the cinematographer, utilizing his cinematographic thoughts to give you issues that have been higher than what I might have considered, as a result of he’s solely fascinated about his craft, whereas I had to consider every part else.


How tough was it to discover a little one actress who might deal with the function of Ella’s younger muse?

That was Caoilinn Springall, and she or he was found by George Clooney for his movie THE MIDNIGHT SKY. She doesn’t communicate in it–her character is mute, I believe she says one line of dialogue in it–and she or he had a really, very particular presence in that movie, however this can be a very dialogue-led movie. We noticed quite a lot of ladies, as a result of that was all the time going to be tough; it’s a really pivotal function and we didn’t need that stage-schooly type of efficiency. I needed somebody who was playful, and for the character to not be an excessive amount of of the creepy little woman. She needed to be cocky and humorous and charismatic and energetic and stuffed with creativity. She’s kind of an amoral, artistic spirit, actually.

I spoke to Caoilinn on Zoom, we did some checks the place she learn some strains, and there was one thing about her the place I believed she was cute, however might additionally go somewhat bit chilly on the identical time. She she’s very managed in her efficiency, and when she got here to the set, she was an absolute professional. She knew all her strains, she understood blocking, she corrected me on continuity. I requested her to do one thing somewhat bit completely different for one of many takes, and she or he stated, “Nicely, I can do it, however you recognize, the continuity shouldn’t be going to be the identical, so simply be sure you’re going to be OK with that within the modifying room.” I imply, she was actually saying stuff like that. She’s a complete professional, and she or he and Aisling collectively have been simply nice, a extremely good double act.

Do you might have any initiatives at the moment within the works, stop-motion or in any other case?

I lately completed somewhat music video which is a stop-motion factor, and I’m growing a brand new function that has sensible results in it, however it’s not stop-motion. It’s a bit early to say an excessive amount of about it, although.
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