as I've told a lot of you guys before, I was inspired to do Stop-motion by the works of Ray Harryhausen. I saw a biographical documentary about him called the Special Effects Titan, and being a low-budget film maker, I thought to myself, if Harryhausen could do amazing creature effects without animatronics before CGI existed, why can't I do so today! Also, it's the digital age, which makes Stop-motion a bit easier than it was in Harryhausen's time! So guys, you want to reply to this thread and tell me what your inspiration was?
Hey, as a child of the 1980's I was interested in work made by 'Film-Fair', responsible for 'Paddington Bear' and 'HUxley Pig'. my 2 favourite stop-motion's!!! I made 'Zey The Mouse' inspired by 'Huxley Pig' animals living human-like lives!! :)
For me it happened in several distinct stages. When I was very young I used to love Gumby and Davey and Goliath, as well as of course the Rankin-Bass holiday specials like Rudolph and the Little Drummer Boy etc. Then a little older I discovered Harryhausen (very ashamed to report that, at that age, when I saw King Kong I thought of it mostly as a hokey old black and white movie with jerky animation, it wasn't until much later I developed the proper appreciation for the genius of it). Then when I was all edgy and 20-something (ok, probably more like 30-something) I discovered the work of Svankmajer and the Quays. So I got bursts of inspiration at all 3 ages, sweet innocent kid stuff, adventure time, and then cool hipster Euro-Mation. Hah!!
I'm from the generation that saw the 7th Voyage when it first came out at the theatre at the age of 11, which is just the right age to feel the wonder, but not be too critical. The Cyclops in particular made an indelible impression. We didn't have a TV then, so I never saw King Kong until a few years later. And I saved up and got an 8mm one-reel print of the dinosaur sequences in O'Brien's The Lost World which I watched with my second-hand projector, over and over. ( I never saw any of the Rankin-Bass specials, or Gumby or Davey.) I tried to do my version of The Lost World with clay dinosaurs, covered in hundreds of tiny clay scales which squished out of shape after a few frames, and eventually gave up because I wasn't getting anywhere near what I wanted. I never heard of clay animation until 20 years later.
Years later I got a second inspiration from the Cosgrove-Hall film and series of The Wind In The Willows. After working with moulds and foam latex for makeup prosthetics and other things, I realised I could get closer to the sort of puppets I had wanted to make in the first place.
I've also gotten a late wave of inspiration from eastern European animation. I have to thank Strider's posts on this message board for making me aware of much of it! In fact, the existence of this board has changed what was just me following a fairly weird pursuit not shared by anyone I knew or worked with to being part of a world wide community.
In my own projects I've mainly focussed on puppet films rather than live action with stop motion creature effects, but it was Ray's films which first made me want to create this magic myself.
You're right, many things are much easier, we can do compositing in our home computers which was very costly and difficult to do in a film lab way back then. We don't have to worry about the background plate degenerating by being re-photographed, or colours not matching like the ground under Kali in Golden Voyage. And we can see how our animation is coming along as we do it, which has made a huge difference - I've worked both ways.
The emptiness of solitude and the knowlege that most small talk only leads to more small talk. Stop motion filled the hole. You didn't need to talk, you could make characters speak for you. Same reason to love music. You get to play a role that isn't yourself.
Something you can do on your own was factor for me too... tried making a live action film with friends and a lot of others we roped in, after the first day's shoot we had trouble getting them to show up the next time. The lead character had to go to a wedding, then the next weekend someone else was out of town and another guy had to work... It bogged down and never got finished. A couple of us had put in a lot of time scouting locations and making props, too. But, with stop motion I could count on the whole crew being just as dedicated as I was, as I was the whole crew!
Same experience. We used to rent a full-size VHS camcorder when they were still pretty new. The silly comedy skits went pretty well, we'd just use whoever was there (my friend's house was a very sociable spot, lots of people there all the time) but when we tried to do something a little more ambitious, with a story, it fell apart. Couldn't get the same people on different days.
When I started doing stopmo I also found the whole crew was just as dedicated as me (like Nick said) but unfortunately I'm not as dedicated as Nick!
The desire to tell stories that reflect the human condition.
I spent a career in television, sculpting and creating make-up effects for live action stuff, often thinking I might be able to do something better myself. I looked into making stopmotion in the mid 80s, and simply could not afford the necessary kit/filmstock/processing etc etc. Svankmayer was the inspiration then.
I sort of missed the digital revolution as I was building a boat. Then a friend showed me how affordable the gear has become, and how one can create HD films for a tiny sum. That's the exciting thing, that the technology is no longer a brake on the imagination.
And I stumbled on a great story, and wanted to get back into the sculpting.....
Oh, and I have never forgotten the skeletons fighting Jason. Saw it at school on a 16mm print.
I have been trying to do animation (drawn) since I was a child.
I tried to build my own film projector along several years to draw my films. I designed eight or ten different models and systems but was unable to build them (aged around twelve years). Then, music crossed my path and I parked the issue of animation.
A lot of years after, while I studied computer engineering I tried it again, but... It was the time of 5 1/4" disks. Graphics in PCs was around 320x240 and you could see as screen was drawn pixel to pixel. Again had to postpone it. I went on drawing comics and writing tales.
And finally, when I became aware that computers could already do animation acceptably, then... I suffered an attack of laziness! (the years take their toll) and thought: Oh, my God! I have to draw 24 times the same thing every second! and draw exactly the same face when the character looks ahead and turns around so it looks the same person!
And if I do the face once and move it leaving to real world the worry about perpective? And it all exploded into my mind: that very old clay animation I saw on tv in my childhood (probably "Morph"), those moving puppets like King Kong, cyclop and the giant scorpion (Harryhausen, unknown name for me then), Svanjmaker and all those strange east films... And clearly saw that I wanted to do was stop motion.
Years and years drawing and trying animate cartoon and at least I ended up working as a photographer and sculptor . Life is strange...
We are in the middle of an animation class (my son and I), and I just fell in love with the process of making stop motion animation. The fact that I can do whatever I want (without having to deal with real live actors) is a great thing. I can create any background I want, I can make silly or scary monsters speak. It's up to my imagination. Very little production limitations (beyond my imagination). I love that. It's also somewhat calming.