Home > 08/25/10 Student Screening > Aug 25:Welcome and Introductions / Student Screening

Aug 25:Welcome and Introductions / Student Screening

  • Remarks by Eric Furie .
  • Production 1 and undergraduate senior films.

Welcome back Party!

Located on the balcony of the second floor in the new building.


Please post a comment on the blog about one of the films viewed this evening.

  1. Jay Kim
    August 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Hung Hua’s “The Year Monster” showcased beautiful hand-drawn character movement as well as rich color textures. The chase scene had a very smooth camera pan contrasting with the fun, herky-jerky movements of the boy and monster. Also the music of composer Deon Lee really punctuated the tone of Hung Hua’s film — I felt that her piece was an overall success.

  2. epocalypse
    August 27, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi, this is Eric Pato, the kid with the rubiks cube.

    I really enjoyed the second to last film, I forget the title and everyone who made it, because I was a bit burnt out by the time, but it was the one with the little girl going to space in her box. What I really liked about the film was the character animation and timing (both in the animated and comedic senses). It made the film for me, and brought me into an aesthetic style that I initially thought I was not going to enjoy. The scene where the girl shakes off the cloud/sky repairmen stood out in particular.

  3. Yang Liu
    August 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

    The film about chicken baseballer was the most impressive one for me,(I believe it’s made by Shaun kim?) The drawing style was simple but the motion and camera setup were excellent and really funny. In the begining I thought it’s gonna to be a silly joke and expected, but the turnaround in the end makes the film much unforgetable after watching all the films. I am also impressed by how great amount of work it’s done within only one semester. It’s not just the effort making it look great, but also making the story work so perfectly.

  4. August 29, 2010 at 11:32 am


    • August 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      Very true!

    • September 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

      This is Chen Huang. I enjoyed the 2 hours time. I can barely remember the names. But I like the one which told about a little girl and a boy called fogman. In the story everyone has a mask. The the film has a lot of arbitary monologue making me felt comfortable to feel the character’s soul. It deeply touched me. 🙂

  5. Matthew Steidl
    August 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I really enjoyed Burak’s “The Owl who had a Wish Tied to Its Foot”, for both the image and sound were beautifully executed. I remember Burak describing his process for creating the yellow, “aged” look of his paper, and was amazed: he would dunk each page in coffee one at a time, and bake it dry. It seemed like almost half of the time it took to make the film was spent this way. But the animation didn’t seem to suffer at all; he developed a really smart, semi-straight ahead method for animating the movement from scene to scene that was both aesthetically pleasing and very fast (good for the 1 minute time limit). I can’t remember the composer’s name right now, but I think Burak’s film had the best music of all the production 1’s (the light, wispy wind instruments accented the sky/cloud environment so well I got chills!). Oh, and the story was excellent too (amazing that he fit all that in 1 minute and it made sense!) I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t make it into First Frame next year.

    • bkurt
      August 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Matt!! 🙂

  6. Louis Morton
    August 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    There were so many excellent films that it’s hard to pick just one to write about, but I’m going to go with the dueling Ice Cream cowboys by Justin, because of my own personal interest in stop-motion animation. I thought this film was very well executed and showcased what stop motion often does so well. The film built up tension rather quickly by very subtle movements and smart camera angles. In particular, I loved the shot of the hand hovering above the “gun” holster. Even though the characters stayed in one place for much of the film, I was still very engaged by their facial expressions and the editing choices (and the music helped a lot too). I’m very interested in how stop-motion films often have only one or two characters in the same setting that tell an engaging story through realistic movements and camera angles. I thought this animation did all those things very well.

    I loved the design of the characters and the bright color scheme. It

    • Louis Morton
      August 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Whoops, sorry that last sentence and word weren’t supposed to be there!

  7. Gregory Jones
    August 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I really enjoyed Wolf. The biggest draw for me was how three dimensional everything felt, especially the background. When the child went down that roller-coaster, I felt like I was traveling with him. The sense of speed, motion and draftsmanship were above and beyond what I thought I could expect from a student film. As a large fan of action in animation, I appreciated the frenetic pace of the entire adventure and absolutely wanted more. The amount of planning must have been intense, but the results show that it certainly paid off. Good job!

  8. Jordan Hansen
    August 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    It is so strange to write this about my classmates’ films but I suppose that I will be called upon in the future to do so again, so I better get used to it. I’m sorry but I’m not sure on the spelling but Zakia’s piece is quite remakable. The movement of the characters is hypnotic. I’ve liked this piece since I first saw it conceived in storyboards. This piece is a prime example of animation’s ability to express movement more beautifully than any other medium. That being said, the final composite could use a bit of polish. Besides that though it is a very nice piece that I imagine will do well in the festival circuit.

  9. Shaun Kim
    August 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I enjoyed “four seasons”. The film reflects each season’s color and characteristic quite well, and the quality of entire film is consistent from the beginning to the end. The pace is a little bit too even but well-developed layout makes me not to lose my attention to the film. I was impressed by rendering of lighting and coloring.

  10. August 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Rachel Jaffe’s film was my favorate. I have seen some of her original paintings on a small piece of glass, which is absolutely awesome. We all know how hard to accomplish such a beautiful visualisation under the camera. Even some scenes are out of focus, her film still provide a very unique aesthetic sensibility. For example, the icons in her film are quite mysterious, such as the mobius looking box frame. Aslo the way she edit her film is quite interesting. It’s like shifting between extremely under control and out of control….so beautiful image, very good color sense and unique editting. Wonderful piece. Go Rachel! Want to see more.

  11. Burak N. Kurt
    August 29, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I think all of the films were good in their own way as they were made with passion, a specific artistic vision and lots of hard work. Therefore it is really hard for me to pick a favorite and I don’t feel that it is necessary either. That said I felt grad films were conceptually more solid and to the point but that is probably because some things do really develop more with age.

    • August 30, 2010 at 9:01 am

      Hi Burak- you don’t need to pick a favorite. You can write about any one of the films.

      • Burak N. Kurt
        August 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm

        In that case I will write about Justin’s film ‘A Dish Served Cold’. Not only the detail on the set and puppets were fantastic, the style and cinematography was spot on with the story. And even though the 16mm camera had brought technical limitations I believe that it also added to the western look of the film. He also did some subtle animations very well. Like the other comment here, my favorite piece of animation in this film is when their hands were hovering over the guns, well, the horns.

  12. August 30, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I believe it was Yang’s film which listed (if I read correctly) motion capture in the credits. I’ve been wondering how and at what point the motion capture was used. I take the term to specifically refer to directly using motion data to drive a rig… maybe it’s used more loosely here, perhaps for rotoscoping? The only part that looked like it could have been polygonal was the street lamp – I’m also curious if any of the film was actually done in 3D. Regardless, some of the backgrounds were beautiful.

    On another topic, the one with the cardboard space ship was simply adorable. I’m pretty sure everyone with human emotions liked it.

    • Yang Liu
      August 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      I took a class in motion capture so I took the chance to utilize the motion capture process, to help drawing my characters. I know the outcome doesnn’t look great and I was a bit dissapointed too… however, I basically just rotoscoped the 3D characters(mocaped) performance.
      There are reasons for doing that: 1, im a really bad character animator, it took me forever to animate after the intense effort on backgrounds; 2, using 3d camera(in Maya) can position my characters in the exact right place(a lot of BG have unusual angle so handdrawn characters are difficult to control in perspective); 3, It is fun doing it;
      Regarding the backgrounds, It’s a mix of different things:3d models,photographs,and photoshop painting.

      • August 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

        That sounds like a really good way to do it; 2D character animation is not my thing either. I probably would have gone with flat stick figures before going through all that, though 😛

  13. Linda Liao
    August 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I thought it was nice that the USC animation department gave every student a chance to show their school projects on a large projected screen. I don’t have a favorite piece in mind. Most of the films reminded me of anime cartoons and MTV mock ups.

    • August 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Linda- you don’t need to comment on a “favorite film”- it can be any film you would like to discuss. I think we screened a huge variety of work representing many different styles both in design and structure. Hopefully some of them connected with you. You could also discuss your own film if you prefer!


  14. Juan Camilo Gonzalez
    August 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    MFA 2, you guys did a wonderful job in production 1. It’s was impressive to see all the different films excelling in their own style. The senior thesis films had more ups and downs for me, but there is one that for some reason got stuck on my head. The last film on the program by Jee Yoon grabbed my attention with an interesting style to render the drawings, beautiful animation and some crazy angles and transformations. I remember watching it in the process and then I thought that the story was too occult. So I was gladly surprised how it all got resolved and both the dark theme and simple story came across successfully. It’s a real pleasure to watch this technically graceful animation delivering a film with weight.

  15. Javier Barboza
    August 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    The film that caught my attention had stop motion and draw on film technique. It had grate use of draw on film. I like the narration of the film by a 14 teenager year old girl. The iconic references of mountain of products and consumer consumption, and what an American teenager must go thought in today’s world. This film stood apart for me for because of the topic and content and the animated style.

    • August 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Javier,

      You are referring to Maria Sequeira’s “Frozen Food & Fireworks”. Very creative and powerful!


  16. lilboots317
    August 31, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I was very impressed by all of the films screened last Wednesday. It was so great to see such a wide range of stories, styles, and techniques. Choosing only one film to discuss is really difficult, but I would have to go for Zakia’s film “US:Moving Variations.” The fluidity of movement of the characters in this film was really wonderful. Zakia really captured the beauty of the human body in motion, which is very challenging to do. I enjoyed the use of hand drawn animation as well because I love seeing the hand of the artist in work.

    • Sheila M. Sofian
      August 31, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Can you please register with your correct name so that I can give you credit for your comment?

      Excellent observations!

      • Cecilia De Jesus
        August 31, 2010 at 10:29 pm

        Sorry about that. This was posted by Cecilia De Jesus. I’ll make sure to register under my full name for the next post. Thanks.

  17. Justin Connolly
    August 31, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Since I have already had the opportunity to discuss my fellow 2nd year’s films and congratulate them on their success with Production 1, I have decided to comment on the undergraduate thesis film that I found most memorable. Zakia’s “US: Moving Variations” was a breath of fresh air for me and I found her film appealing on many levels. First, her character animation was beautifully choreographed and extremely well executed, while still maintaining an expressive feel that most commercial character animation tends to lack. In addition, Zakia’s sense of motion and her timing made for an elegant and entertaining piece of visual music. Furthermore, the subtle color changes in the backgrounds was a nice addition to the lyrical dancing figures, which reminded me of Ryan Larkin’s “Walking”.

    Great work! I look forward to seeing what Zakia comes up with next.

  18. Lisa Chung
    August 31, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Justin Connolly’s Stop Motion short was one of my personal favorites. The characters and set design was very fun. I loved how the story unfolds from what it appears to be a western film into a comedy about ice cream/paletas vendors competing for business….a wonderful twist. The use of cottons + feet to create the mad rush of kids was creative and comical. I personally enjoy films where little or no dialogue is used because of the unique challenge in conveying a feeling/intention through a shot/expression rather than with words. In this animation, I was able to read the characters’ expression the whole time and knew what they were thinking without a single word spoken. The great part about films without dialogues is that it becomes universal. Hence, a wider audience can enjoy it. Well done!

  19. Ryan
    August 31, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    It was nice to see all of the prod 1 films again It seems like a long time ago that they were done. I think the strength of the collection overall is the wide verity of styles and approaches that they all have. I am looking forwarded to seeing where the 1 years go with their films as for the seniors I agree that Zakia’s work stood out it had a great attention to detail in the movement a sense of style in its approach and felt like a complete idea seen threw.

  20. Miguel Jiron
    August 31, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I have to say there were many shorts that I found very impressive, and for different reasons: for timing, or character anim, visual style, etc. But the one that sticks out for me is S. Kim’s short with the chef, chicken, and baseball. Not only was the animation done really well, the staging and whole design of it was really professional looking. In its character design, sense of timing, and tone, it really reminded me of Sylvain Chomet, one of my favorite animators. It really captured his sense of caricature and “non-cutesey” cartooning, with the jagged violent knives, angular noses and sharp chickens. Kudos!

  21. jovannatosello
    August 31, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I was happy to see work from the earlier years. There were some wonderfully animated pieces. In general, I noticed a great deal of the films lacked a cinematic feel. As animators, it’s easy to get lost in the animation and forget we are all filmmakers. The emphasis of a lot of these films seemed to lay more heavily on getting the animation done than putting together a full film experience -as if the projects were distracted by their large, ambitious stories.

    I find it important to remember that there’s a seductive rhythm in cinema. A kind of magic that draws us, as viewers, into a temporary reality. We forget we’re sitting in a theater, and we forget we’re watching a film.

    Did anyone else feel the same way?

    • Juan Camilo Gonzalez
      September 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

      I sort of see what you mean but I would be curious to hear as to what you refer as cinematic feel. Taking it from a purely technical idea of cinematic, I think some of the films effectively constructed believable worlds in which I felt immersed by the use of cinematographic techniques. The most ambitious in this sense was Matt Steidl’s film of the kid being chased by the wolf. Then, Shaun’s film about the the chicken was constructed very traditionally, but then very effectively creates a world of chaos and drama through the use of rhythm between fast and slow motions, fast editing and combining a wide range of different shots between extreme close-ups (the eye of the chicken) to really wide shots like at the end in the baseball field. The Tianran’s comment about Rachel’s film reflects on a less traditional approach to cinematic construction of a film.
      But my feeling is that you are referring to it more conceptually because you use the word “feel”, to which again I would invite you to tell us a bit more of what you refer to as -cinematic feel-. I really like your comment and applaud that you jump in and try to make the discussion more dynamic by presenting problems you find in the films. Keep it up like that.

  22. Maria Sequeira
    September 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I really loved Shaun Kim’s baseball chicken animation! Every time I watch it, I discover another detail of a character expression or a funny moment. He did a great job of capturing the simplicity of the UPA style of animation by creating line drawings on a single color background and emphasizing the main characters through spot coloring certain parts, like the cheeks. His dynamic camera placement created an exciting action sequence and really created a sense of depth and a sense of place with very few lines and background imagery.

  23. September 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I was really inspired after watching the projects of my fellow Cinematic Arts classmates because I was able to imagine what I would be able to achieve a year from now.

    The last film stood out to me because of how successful it was in spite of not coloring in everything. Using color selectively helped me to focus on the plot, characters and dialogue. The scenes were drawn well and could stand alone with or without color.

  24. September 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Watching the undergrad thesis film was interesting as I was able to see what was possible and what wasn’t possible using Flash. Although, at times the figures looked flat I was amazed at the range of emotions that are possible to express using the program. I use flash occasionally but never attempted a polished project using the program. It will interesting to use it again knowing a little more about what it is capable of.

  25. Brandon Lake
    September 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I really enjoyed viewing all of the student films during last weeks class. I found myself most more interested in the Production 1 work because I would eventually be taking the class and I wanted to know what was expected of us. I couldn’t help but notice that he majority of the pieces were done in 2d. As a primarily 3d animator, I was wondering if that was a stipulation of the class or just a preference of that particular class. When thinking back about all of the shown pieces, I have to say that one that stood out to me was Alienation. Though it is not really my style, I’m always interested in the methods of limited animation. For instance the use of sounds and visual design in Tell-Tale Heart by Ted Parmelee makes it a film that I can’t help but enjoy. It may also be due to the engaging story by Poe, but I still feel that the experience was greatly enhanced by the image. I found myself thinking back to this short when watching Alienation. It was a pretty effective use of the minimal approach. The static blue background and the use of basic outline presented a theme of absence and emptiness that helped push the touching story. Some more time could have been spent on some of the design aspects of some images, especially the image where it looks like the character grew back his legs instead of gaining prosthetics, but overall I was impressed.

  26. Linda Jules
    September 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I greatly enjoyed seeing all of the films, but there was one that stuck out for me the most: The animation with the “dry eyes” and the giraffe (sorry I forgot the title). Not only was I thoroughly amused by the story, but I was also much impressed by the use of sound to enhance the “hallucinations” experienced by the main character. After class I walked up to one of the 3rd year grad students to see if it was her piece because I was so sure that the animation style matched her…and guess what? She said, “Yes!,” it was her piece. I believe that all animations contain a unique fingerprint, and that somehow animators can be uniquely identified by the way they are reflected in their work. Although this film was left un-credited, I was still able to recognize the maker!

  27. September 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    As many other writers have noted, I was also impressed by the range of work in the screening last week. I consider this a real strength of our program. Great work!

    One of the films, among many, that stood out for me was Yang’s undergrad thesis. I was particularly impressed with the incredible detail in the backgrounds. I’m looking forward to seeing his work progress as my classmate. I am also curious to hear how you (Yang), might develop your approach to sound in the future, as I felt a poetic sort of stream of consciousness approach might be compelling. For example, I wonder what falling snow sounds like for you. I suppose I’m curious to see your sense of visual acuity directed toward your work with sound.

  28. Sheila M. Sofian
    September 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Is this Laura Cechanowicz?

    Thank you!


  29. Rachel Jaffe
    September 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Rather than solipsistically devoting an entire paragraph-and-a-half to an apologetic self-denunciation of the dubious artistry of my own production one, I should probably just commit to proverbial paper a handful of non sequiturs and spectatorial impressions alike. Skipping right over the production ones*, I might as well leap ahead (in an admittedly arbitrary fashion) to the senior thesis projects, none of which I’d had the privilege of viewing in their respective entireties before.

    Of this flock of wildly disparate films, I will aleatorily select “Silent Voices” to be the object of my semi-public musing – partially because I so keenly recall screening its roughly rendered animatic during one of last fall’s seminar classes, but (in shamefully large part) due to the fact that I genuinely enjoyed the tailored tone and story-specific stylization that features so heavily in the piece. The images – to say nothing of the subtlety of the variations they underwent as the film’s convolutions of audiovisual ambience unfolded – were, I felt, singularly well-suited to the atmosphere that the student-filmmaker had decided to portray.

    Also – on a solely visual level – masked magistrates are, well – it must be stated, yes? – amusing. (If it hadn’t been so terribly inappropriate, I would have snickered.)

    *Which, I fear, I’m wholly capable of judging objectively (even in retrospect).

  30. Allen Yau
    September 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Since the last seminar was my first chance to watch undergraduates’ completed thesis films, I will focus on commenting their thesis films instead of my awesome classmates’ one of a kind production ones. I’ve enjoyed Yang Liu’s “Four Seasons” a lot. His film reminds me the super-delicate style of a Japanese animator, Shinkai Makoto. I like the approach that Yang managed to present the frames and compositions – great mood and visual elements. Also Yena’s film, the one about a little girl’s dream in searching of his spaceman father, impressed me a lot. This film is a cute and well-told story from the angle of a little girl’s fantasy. I am really looking forward for Yang’s & Yena’s future works.

  31. Michelle Yang
    September 15, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Wow, it was a real treat to see the thesis films from the undergrads and Production 1 films from the 2nd year MFA students all in one night! I think I got a better picture of what kind of animation people have been working on in our department and I was really surprised by the diversity of the work!

    It’s really hard to choose only one film to talk about, so here are three of my favorite ones:
    -“Gift”: I was really impressed by this film. I thought that the story was simple and the execution was great. I loved the character he designed, it’s amazing how he used simple geometry shapes to create such interesting characters. I also really liked how he didn’t color everything in the picture, I thought that the style was very clean and fresh. It’s a funny story with a good rhythm and tempo.
    -“Before the Storm”: The illustrations on this film was amazing!! The lines were so detailed and the colors were very bold and bright. There really was a magical and fairytale feeling to it. I was wondering if the animator used any motion reference to animate the movements of the characters?
    -“The Year Monster”: I really liked the story of this film, because it’s part of
    my culture so I feel that I can really relate to it! I liked the colors and textures that she used and I love the fact that in the end of the film, the child found out that it was just a dream (or nightmare).

    Great work everyone!! 🙂

  32. Kim Cagney
    December 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    As I was a bit late to the showing last year and missed a couple of the films, it was definitely nice to see all of them this time. I especially enjoyed The Owl with THe Wish tied to its foot, for the highly stylized art and simple, myhtology-based(?) story.

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