The Box

My film “The Box” was created during a module called Independent Practice at Plymouth University.

The main idea of this project was to develop a critical reflection of mass media use in a society which is constantly influenced by the unfiltered perception of moving images.

Producing the film took me quite a while. In total probably one month. In the following I want present you the recipe for an animation film like this with all the special ingredients I used.

1. You need an idea!

Every project needs to be based on an exciting idea.

My main idea was to create a connection between media arts and media and communication theory by Vilém Flusser. The focus was laid on how especially the mass medium television can bring changes to the thinking and acting behaviour of human beings.
The film shows how the perception of television can set a recipient to a rather passive state.

2. Materials you will need:

I didn’t just want to use plasticine for the film as I really enjoyed experimenting with different art materials.

Therefore, I decided to combine different animation techniques and use all art stuff I could find in my room.

3. Think about the structure of the plot

The story of the film consists of five different parts which are expressed by chapter division in the film.

  1. Exposition, the character is born. He is shaped and changes form before he finally reaches the state of his actual shape.
  2. The Rising Action is set in a nature environment. This scene is full of exciting discoveries. The main character is fascinated by nature and wonders about it a lot.
  3. The Climax happens when day after day, the main character becomes passive watching TV.
  4. During the Falling Action the conflict between the main character and his antagonist the TV heats up. The main character experiences a nightmare which scares him a lot.
  5. Finally, as a Resolution of the conflict the main character turns the TV off and leaves the room.

4. The main character

I sketched a lot and finally decided on a roundish shape with a flat bottom which was in my eyes the simplest and most practical one to work with. It seemed like a good idea to shape a head and body in one. I could still create easy movement and express emotions.
I really wanted to change the facial expressions of the character as I thought that would be the best way to create sympathy between the actual viewer of the film and the protagonist. Therefore, I not only created one character but six versions of the same character.


5. The settings

During the production process, I was really looking forward to create the different settings.

First, I sketched them and then I tried to find material to paint or built them. Especially the living room setting was a real challenge. Every setting expresses a different mood. The birth place for example is purely white without any distractions for the viewer. The focus was meant to be completely on the character. This setting consisted of cardboard painted with white acryl colour. As a comparison to this really simple setting the nature setting is colourful, interesting and there are fascinating things happening all around the main character.

This project required a lot of patient and strong nerves but during the whole production and post-production process I had so many opportunities to express my creativiy. It was fun and exciting. And I am definitely looking forward to expanding my knowledge and skills in this field of media arts.

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