Vote for Flick Book Studio!

Chase Small Business Grant: Vote for Flick Book Studio! from Flick Book Studio on Vimeo.

As the demand for our classes keeps growing, I’ve been looking for ways to expand our studio,  make it more accessible at lower tuition, and offer scholarships. Then I found out about the Chase Mission Main Street Small Business grants. This grant would certainly bring these goals within reach. If you have a Facebook account, please take a moment to vote for Flick Book Studio!

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announcement, collaboration

FBS and Hudson Valley Seed Library at Philadelphia Flower Show

Hudson Valley Seed Library Seedy Shorts Contest Trailer from Flick Book Studio on Vimeo.

We are so excited to be a part of the Philadelphia Flower Show in the booth of the Hudson Valley Seed Library! The theme of the flower show this year is cinema, so Ken Greene of HVSL decided to turn their booth into an animation station! On the outside wall of the booth, they will be showing winning entries from the seed animation contest. The clip above is the open call for the contest that I made with Ken last year.

We’ll post more photos from the flower show as they become available.

puppets, work in progress

A Million Ways to Be Snazzy

A Million Ways to be Snazzy from Flick Book Studio on Vimeo.
Our second camp was the OK Go project, a.k.a. A Million Ways to Be Snazzy. This was an ambitious project—a stop-motion animation remake of OK Go’s  first hit music video! (In our original announcement, we were going to use Here It Goes Again, but we soon realized it was REALLY ambitious.) We took the first 47 seconds of the video and broke it up into short (3 to 4 seconds long) segments, and grouped them into three different animation techniques: puppets, pipe cleaners, and pen and paper drawings.


Bryce and Lion cutting out material for puppets' costumes.
Bryce and Lion cutting out material for puppets’ costumes.

We began by making the puppets, made of wire armatures, clay heads, and fabric clothes. The puppets had magnets in their feet which held them upright with another pair of magnets underside of a base plate. The students gave each puppet a name—Mr. Snazzy, Snuffleufagus, J-Dubs, and Johnson (from left to right in the photo above).


Sets of changeable clay hands for the puppets
Sets of changeable clay hands for the puppets
Pilar and Zephyr gluing fabric to puppets.
Pilar and Zephyr gluing fabric to puppets.

We also used pipe cleaners, one of our favorite materials, and used a downshooting set up, with a camera secured on a copy stand pointing down. This freed the animators from the fight against gravity, but every character had to be on the same plane. We shot them against a green background so that we could layer the footage in different sizes in order to create depth. Zephyr and Bryce worked as a great team to create both segments of pipe cleaners.


Bryce and Zephyr animating with pipe cleaners.

Drawing animation was tedious for Pilar, a great artist who made the first drawing section, because she took so much care in her drawing and added many details. But the result was worth the effort! The second section was done by Lion, who, once he got the hang of it, breezed through the process since he simplified the drawings into outlines.


Lion and Pilar drawing on animation paper, fixed with animation pegs.

The four students took turns in their roles (director, two animators, tech control) in animating the puppets. It started out with ease, but as the moves got complicated, we found our puppets were a little too tall to animate freely. The magnets, too, were not the easiest to handle, and by the time we got to the third section of the puppets, they got so frustrated they had to take a break.


The team of four animating puppets in front of a green screen.
The team of four animating puppets in front of a green screen.

We then realized that this was a bit too ambitious a goal for four 6-hour-sessions. Instead of being too frustrated trying to make it work, they decided to make a behind-the-stage scene, where the puppets were taking a tea break. They are so resilient!


Mr. Snazzy et al. taking a tea break
Mr. Snazzy et al. taking a tea break

In the end, we did not make all the animation to complete the 47 second segment, but we loved the project so much, we decided to continue with this project. This is now a work in progress—instead of compositing the puppets into the background, I decided to leave the green screen as is, with gloved hands and all, for this stage. As our project progresses and add more footage to the video, our animation will improve, with new puppets, more techniques, and materials. The final music video will reveal the students’ progress as it advances, creating something of a mini-documentary. Stay tuned!




Teen Video Lab

Footsteps from Flick Book Studio on Vimeo.


Our summer camp series ended with Video Teen Lab at Kingston Public Library. I was invited to teach a video class in this fantastic library in Kingston, New York, so I combined live action video with stop-motion animation in instruction. The results were incredible. We had eleven teens working in small groups producing four distinctly different videos, but equally creative and original.

“Dungeon of Horrors” took a full advantage of the creepy basement of this 120-year-old building.


My hope was that the students would use the entire library to their advantage and showcase the open and lively nature of this place. Boy did they accomplish that! They used every corner, from the cellar to the garden to the lobby, all without disturbing other patrons. People actually got a kick out of Lego animation taking place right in front of the elevator.

Hand vs. Book uses hands as characters—a real Youtube material! The creators had so much fun voice recording to the footage.


The best thing was that the camp was offered for free, since the program was funded by New York State Council on the Arts. This is why I am hoping to offer more classes through other organizations, since the small size of our operation does not allow for scholarships.

“Spy Kid 2: the Library Edition” combined a great Lego animation with live action video in a big spy and villain chase through the library.


I often say that in teaching, I learn more from my students than they learn from me, but this was specially the case with this camp. Children and youth never cease to amaze me with their creativity and persistence. In just 5 days of 4-hour-sessions, they planned, shot, and edited short videos of their own. All I had to do was give them the tools, show them how to use them, and off they went. This lab was a perfect way to end the perfect July.

Production still: Footsteps