On a Thursday afternoon in the University’s Still-Water lab in Boardman hall you can find Bruce Wilson, twenty-one year old senior student and New Media Major, hard at work on his capstone project.
An unnamed short animation, set in a post apocalyptic world revolving around the struggle for survival of an unlikely duo of a little girl and her happenstance protector Simon, an intelligent tinkerer and a staunch pacifist.
Bruce is a story-teller with a passion for the intricacies of world building and character arcs. Even when I was interviewing him he had books like John Truby’s Anatomy of a Story or K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs open on his desk for reference. When asked about why he chose animation as his medium to tell his stories he said that it’s because in animation you can do anything, you don’t have to worry about lighting, sets, or expensive cameras you would in a live action situation. The limitations of older story telling methods like film start to be chipped away at by growing accessibility of animation, allowing passionate people like Bruce an avenue to thrive in.
“All you need to get animation done is a 6$ Subscription to Toon Boom. And who doesn’t like cartoons?”
When asked for further details about his project and its development he explained the trial and error process any writer knows all too well.
“The first version, I didn’t like it. I put a lot of effort into it but the world just wasn’t coming together, but I really liked the main character. The second version it was the opposite, the world was really interesting to me, but the characters just weren’t there. But the third version brought the best together.”
Bruce lamented about how his initial plan after the story was decided, a full seven minute short film, was outside his current realm of plausibility. So instead of bashing his head against a seven minute long wall that wouldn’t crack, he shifted gears, determined to showcasing the best of his work in the shortest time he could. What has come from that is the makings of a short two minute video with the smoothest animation Bruce can ensure.
When asked what the most important lesson he learned while welding together his narrative and animation, he said something remarkably simple, it was to know when to stop writing and start making. There comes a point where any writer finds themselves entering an endless loop of edits and rewrites that crush progress before anything is really made.
“Stop the script writing, start animating, or I’ll be stuck in words forever.”
Bruce’s project is progressing well, and on track to completion. Lastly, when asked what he wanted to get out of this animation, he had this to say:
“What I want from this story, is something strong to put on my portfolio, something that shows I can start a project strong, and see it through to the end.”