Shelob Attacks!

Group shot in front of the set of Mordor

Our 2014 summer series of mini camps kicked off with the Lego LOTR project, Shelob Attacks! In four six-hour sessions, students (age 10–12) made a lego version of a scene from the Lord of the Rings where Frodo gets attacked by a giant spider, Shelob.

We imported the original footage into the animation software which broke the scene into 15 frames. The students made the set with Lego, tissue paper, aluminum foil, and wool, although many clips were shot in front of a green screen. They then recreated the footage with Lego, frame by frame. It was not an easy task for kids their age, but they persevered!

Animating Lego in front of a green screen
Animating Lego in front of a green screen

In order to let out their creative energy, they also made their original Lego animation on the side, which was the opposite of the slow, controlled main project—it was wild, fast, and furious!

Making original animation on the side
Making original animation on the side

We used Dragonframe Stopmotion and Canon DSLR T4i to capture the footage, which was edited after the camp in Final Cut Pro.

clay, Lego, music video, pixilation

Our First Music Video!

We have our first music video, Sugar. It was commissioned by the groovy pop/rock band, Spiral Up Kids. It is composed of animation clips made by 7 artists—Damon Wolf, Gideon Schwartz, Dante Hutchison, Hayes Terzia, Suika Sono-Knowles, Diggy Lessard, and Harrison O’Clair, ages 10 to 12 (at the time of production).

Some of the clips were made during an after-school program at Woodstock Day School two years ago, but many scenes, like the Lego band and most of the claymation, were conceived and created by Damon and Gideon, the creators behind our most popular video, Star Wars: the Brick Wars. We had an intensive marathon of two full days to make the clips, tuition for which was covered by the commission. It was Damon and Gideon’s first paid job as artists!

This project caught an eye of an independent record label based in Seattle. I cannot disclose their name yet, but we may get more commission for music videos. It will be an exciting way to provide scholarships, or for young artists to get paid for their creation. Stay tuned.

Lego, Uncategorized


Our fifth session was meant to be just a simple introduction to Lego animation, which turned out to be a gross miscalculation on my part. Two boys showed up with their entire Star Wars collection, and a storyline to make an epic movie. They ended up spending a total of six hours shooting, and four additional hours editing and adding sound. They chose to continue with their Lego clip rather than try claymation for our final session.

Here is the clip they made. Even four hours of editing was not enough to finish it, so I added non-crucial sounds. I know there are many sounds in the clip that are not exactly right, but that’s not their fault!

From this experience, we’ve learned that it is unwise to include Lego in this introductory course. From now on, it will be its own workshop. Stay tuned…