Saturday, August 7, 2010

Grim Natwick Film Festival

To celebrate Wisconsin Rapids' native, Grim Natwick (lead animator of Betty Boop), Wisconsin Rapids held a Betty Boop festival August 5-8. Part of this festival was the Grim Natwick Film Festival for WI aniamtors. My two short films, The Arctic Shoulder and Barnyard Mayhem, got into the festival so I got to spend the last two days hanging out with the other filmmakers.

It was a really great experience and I got to meet a lot of cool animators. Most notable was Nina Paley, creator of 'Sita Sings the Blues'. She married the film and completed this feature length animation in 3 years by herself. It was quite inspiring listening to her talk.

Here's a break down of the weekend:


-Luncheon: Got to sit down and have lunch with the rest of the filmmakers and some of the Betty Boop festival committee. Betty Boop herself even made a brief appearance! It was great meeting the fellow animators, half of which were from the UW Milwaukee.

-Nina Paley Panel: After the luncheon we made our way to the Cultural Center where Nina Paley had an exhibit going on. It featured stills and painting from 'Sita Sings the Blues' as well as some of her comic strips. The panel included Nina Paley, David Farmbrough (filmmaker), Frances Auld (academic professor), and Cathy Meils (festival director). The discussion centered around 'Sita Sings the Blues' as well as the free culture movement which Nina Paley is heavily involved in. She released her film for free and there are no restrictions on it. She welcomes people to do whatever they want with the film. The only money she makes from it are through donations and merchandise. She's been fairing quite well that way. For more info on her film, visit the website:

-Film Festival Screenings: The screenings happened in two parts, one section for the UW Milwaukee animators and a second section for the rest of the local animators. It was cool to see everyone else's films; a lot of stop motion pieces which was neat. After the screenings, there was Q&A sessions. It's always interesting listening to filmmakers talk about their work!

-'Sita Sings the Blues' Screening: Watched the film which is a musical, animated interpretation of the Indian epic the Ramayana. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Nina Paley. It's quite the beautiful film. Very nicely done. After the screening, I chatted with a couple of the other animators who's work was shown in the festival. Nina Paley came out and said, "Hey animators!" and talked to us for awhile. Pretty cool.


-Round Table Discussion: Seriously the highlight of the festival for me. All the filmmakers at one table discussing animation was totally awesome! I didn't do too much talking but it was fascinating listening to everyone else talk. Nina Paley had some great things to say about the industry as well as the owners of Believe Animation studio in Green Bay. Robyn Van Ert who produced the film NONAMES participated as well and talked about the making of her film. Frances Auld was there too. She had some very interesting things to say as well. The passion for animation was so apparent throughout the whole 2.5 hour discussion. Great stuff.

-Grim Natwick Museum: During some free time, I stopped by the museum to check out some of Grim Natwick's drawings; quite inspiring I must say! Stephen Worth from the ASIFA-Hollywood was there talking about Grim Natwick's life and animation. I wish I could've listened to him talk all day! He knows so much about animation and is quite insightful!

-Film Festival Screenings: Another set of screenings followed by Q&A sessions. Afterward, I had a nice chat with Tina and Darren from Believe Animation. The goal of their studio is to bring animators back to WI. I always enjoyed listening to them talk about their company. You can tell how passionate they are about it.

And thus, ended my first film festival experience! It was a wonderful time! I left inspired and ready to rock this Senior Project! Bring it, MCAD!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Barnyard Mayhem Take 2

Just in time for the Merit Scholarship competition, I decided to revisit my short film from last semester and finally finish it! I added an extra scene and addressed some continuity issues that popped up. Some textures were revamped and I ended up using Maya's Physical Sun and Sky for the lighting. My professor wants me to do a HD render of it at some point, so I want to touch up just a couple minor things before I'd do that.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MCAD Animators

A Silent Film for my Intro to Film class. The only requirement is that it had to be a diary. I chose to do a diary of sorts on animators here at school. Brought a camera along with me to the computer labs to capture the moments that happen. Some are a bit exaggerated, but all a good representation of the life in the computer lab. Focused working is broken up by random moments of silliness and frustration as well the need to act out a scene to analyze the movement and help out friends.

So here's an insight into where I spend the most time and with whom.

Sound will be added on the next assignment.

MCAD Animators from Hannah Strenger on Vimeo.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Our latest Storyboard assignment was to board out a commercial for any product of our choosing. It had to incorporate some sort of Rube Goldberg machine or at least flow smoothly from one thing to another. I went on Rube Goldberg's site for some inspiration and found out there is going to be a competition to make the best Rube Goldberg machine that will dispense some hand sanitizer. I decided to run with that theme for my commercial.

Purell Hand Sanitizer is the only clean aspect of this commercial. Everything else has a sort of 'dirty'/sketchy feel to it. I wanted to contrast the styles to differentiate the machine with what hand sanitizer is all about, keeping things clean!

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Stole From My Kin! Final

Here's the final version of my entry for the January 11 Second Club. Didn't get done in time to submit, but wanted to finish it up anyway.

Now I'm moving on to the February sound clip. This one will be a fun challenge! Animating some swing dancing! Determined to get this one done by the end of February.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Decided to post my Storyboarding assignments. Our first assignment was to storyboard out a Gag Cartoon. I decided to go with a bird getting revenge:

Our next assignment was a Reverse Storyboard where we picked a scene from a film to storyboard out. The goal was to analyze the camera angles/moves and light of the scene. I, of course, did a scene from Up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You Stole From My Kin!

In my Advanced Animation class, we are able to decide what we want to focus on animation wise and create our own projects. I decided to participate in the 11 Second Club monthly competition. I figured having a new sound clip to animate to every month will give me some good character animation practice... and hopefully some strong pieces to add to my demo reel!

This is the one for January. I know January is over now, but I loved the sound clip too much that I wanted to animate to it even though I wasn't able to submit it in time.

I roughed out the animation and lip sync last week. This week I'll go through and flush it all out and make it pretty! Will also be exaggerating some poses more and pushing the actions a bit more. I'm having a lot of fun with this sound clip and character. :)

NOTE: The sound may seem to be off from my animation for some reason. It all lines up in my Maya file. I swear!