I based my short stop-motion animation film off of the poem, “On Gut,” by Ben Jonson. This poem speaks about “Gut” as if he were a character, and how his gluttony fuels another sin, such as lust. I decided the basic premise would be some sort of character eating himself into a situation that showed some form of lust, which I decided would be the lust for power.
Since the poem had a fairly dark tone, I decided I wanted to offset this with something light or childish. I originally chose clay to work with, as I felt that it was easy to manipulate and it would convey a light tone. However, I found that clay was actually a fairly difficult substance to manipulate in one place. For example, if I tried to adjust the eyes, I might cause indentations somewhere else on the face. And since I also wanted there to be a crowd of other characters in the film, I had to keep changing every individual for each shot. Ultimately, I decided for the sake of time that I would work with stuffed animals instead of clay.
The stuffed animals proved to be easy to manipulate, but also rigid enough that I could move them without their entire structure changing. I chose he setting to be on top of a laid out towel in my living room. I could control the levels of natural light in that room the easiest, and the towel allowed for me to have a good idea as to which stuffed animals I had moved all ready prior to each shot. For the main character, I chose a large monkey puppet, and I used dog biscuits for the food. I felt that the monkey was the closest representation of a human while still being an animal, and since it was a puppet, it had a mouth ideal for eating the dog biscuits. The dog biscuits were easy to crumble, and I could crush them to make it seem like the monkey was actually chewing them up.
The greatest difficulty I encountered came from having to worry about balance and gravity. Many times stuffed animals would fall over. Moving the monkey’s arms also proved to be challenging. To fight this, I was able to use needles and safety pins to hold parts up and stick things together. Despite the difficulties, I found the stop-motion assignment to be a fun and gratifying way to show a film.