Vote! A Claymation Mini-Film
For many of us, the months leading up to the 2020 election were laden with anxiety. In the face of so much hostility and distress, I wanted to contribute to the (virtual) conversation in a creative, friendly, and uplifting way.
I decided to make a claymation that featured animals, encouraged voting, and avoided any sort of antagonism. My dad (who has a quick, playful mind à la Tove Jansson or Roald Dahl), suggested incorporating rhyme. From there, it all fell right into place: A wordless short with cheerful animals voting in different ways, featuring music from Charlie Chaplin. I storyboarded each scene, developed and built each character and set, and then did the painstaking work of the frame-by-frame animation, shot on my iPhone with a stop-motion app.
I posted the video on Instagram, and was blown away by the response. It received over 2,670 views, and was re-shared by one of my favorite illustrators and creators, Wendy Mac, among many others. It felt meaningful to spark a bit of joy and delight during such a dark and heavy time.
To form the skeleton of the first animal (the bird), I used unwound paper clips, which it turns out are quite inflexible, especially once covered in clay. Upon a dab of research, I learned that stop-motion skeletons are in fact called armatures, and there’s a type of wire that exists specifically for building them. In addition to making this great discovery, I gained a better sense of how to incorporate still shots and different angles to create more visual variety without requiring additional hours (and hours) of animation. For me, so much of the charm of stop-motion comes from the power of subtlety and minimalism.