Middle Tennessee State University

Tiny Circus spent the week at Middle Tennessee University, creating an animation with a group of about 15 college students. The group decided to make an animation that doesn’t fit neatly into the History or Trap categories. We centered in on the topic of fear, and the first day we recorded interviews asking people about their childhood and adult fears. After we listened to the hours of raw audio gathered, we discussed what we heard – themes and words that stood out – and created a short audio piece to be our film’s soundtrack, and guide the conversation of our visual story.

Figuring out what visual story to tell alongside the audio piece, and coalescing around the finer points of how each of us imagined it took many hours of discussion and hard collaboration sitting around a table – about 18 hours if you really want to know.

On Day 4, the animating began. Childhood object selection, shadow tracing, then shadow cutting, followed by animating the shadow movement required patience and precision, and at 11 pm when we finished the first half of the film, we decided to remake (i.e. simplify) our ideas for the second part. Throughout the epic day of animation, there was an exciting collective energy. We were working together, making something. 

Day 5 we brought the sound and images together. Editing as a group with the Final Cut file projected on a screen, we talked through various ways of arranging the images and how many moments of looking felt necessary. Sometimes it was hard to find words for why we liked one arrangement more than another, but striving for those words feels like a necessary challenge. 

Fear debuted at the MTSU Student Film Festival. 

[A special thanks to David Kamp, our documentarian for the week, who took many of the photos above. Keep an eye out for a short documentary of our week that David is creating.]