[-empyre-] Christopher Sullivan thoughts

christopher sullivan csulli at saic.edu
Sat Feb 20 13:40:59 EST 2010

Hi everyone, as the week draws to the end, It has been an interesting mix of
thoughts and ideas. One thing that I wanted to talk about before things draw to
a close is my hopes for animation, and my thoughts on a pedagogical side. 
             I feel that the independent animated feature is going to increase
exponentially in years to come (just hope I get my film to screen before it is
a infinite pool) I do hope that these new films will not be plagued with the
remakes and adaptations that are now overtaking Hollywood. Besides Charley
Kaufman, who is getting original scripts produced?  Even Wes Anderson’s 
(another script writer) Incredible Mr. Fox, is an adaptation, again Charley
Kaufman prophetic, in the writing of Adaptation. 
             So the thing that we independent animators have to do is create
works that really take advantage of the qualities of animation that set it
apart from live action film, and particular for the west to catch up with some
of the cinematic chances taken in the east “for instance, Paprika” or the
highly disturbing Mindgame. Fringe feature anime is politically very
conservative in particular with gender politics, and I am not even talking
about being queer enough, I am referring to the heterosexually conservative,
and completely fraternal in the sense of the internal mind; men imagining
fantasies of women.   But these films are very sophisticated in regards to
filmmaking. How they play with time, how they create and destroy characters, in
constant sates of death and resurrection. So I hope that We as filmmakers can
get the backing to create innovative films that challenge audiences not as
people going to see animation, but going to see demanding cinema. See you in
the trenches.
         One other thought I wanted to bring up is whether you think that
animation is really a good tool to teach artists how to think. I have debated
this for years because of its very slow turn around, and the literal amount of
idea stuff that a student can handle during their studies. Every successful
student I have had, has had other outlets to plow through and discard ideas, be
it photography, comics, performance, live action films, writing. I have never
had an exclusive animator that I feel really used their time in school fully. 
I learned more about making art in my early twenties in school doing
performance than doing animation, though my artistic identity as an animation
artist via grants awards, employment, solidified at this time as well.  I am
pondering these questions; Is animation a medium that condenses other artistic
experiences into a less temporal vision, but not the best generative medium? Is
it a good intellectual teaching medium? Of course this is about matters of
degrees, as I do believe my students grow in my classes, but they do grow
What are people’s thoughts? 

Christopher Sullivan
Dept. of Film/Video/New Media
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 so michigan
Chicago Ill 60603
csulli at saic.edu

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