Have you had a chance to read the latest Gazette issue? In the Alumni Profiles section, you’ll find an interview with Dan Markowitz EAS’11, the Digital Media Design major who recently won $10,000 for his “animated aquatic action-adventure” Board to Death.
Markowitz told our senior editor, Samuel Hughes, that when the call came in he “thought it was a prank at first.” But there was no joke: Markowitz had won the top prize for an “Action” video in the Vidi Entertainment Online Student Film Festival.
Here is his winning animation:
And here is Markowitz’s summary of the inspiration behind it:
“I enjoyed stop-motion a lot, so I wanted to do something in that medium for my final project. My room is covered in bulletin boards and whiteboards with rubber bands and pictures and strings and things pinned to them, so I settled on doing something with a bulletin board pretty quickly. Initially I was going to animate with Post-it notes on a board, but I realized that rubber bands wrapped around thumbtacks was something I’d never seen before.
For the story, I decided on using fish because they can be made from really simple shapes, and the rubber bands would let me do lots of squash and stretch and other fun animation techniques. I was trying to think of an ending that would involve one character reaching out of the board—literally “thinking outside the box”—to do something. Originally I had a story about two jellyfish on different bulletin boards trying to reach each other, but I figured that a chase would be more dynamic. The idea of one character using scissors to cut the other one’s rubber bands came pretty quickly after that.”
In addition to his videos, Markowitz also draws comic strips. Since 2004, he has often used Glass Half Empty to reflect issues and themes from his own life—first as a high schooler, then a college student and now a post-grad. (Recent topics include the new Facebook Timeline, robots and things to do in a heat wave.) In 2009, Markowitz launched a second series, Fickle Theatre, which he describes as “more surreal and less character-focused than Glass Half Empty.” Here, Fickle Theatre presents “The 2011 Awards for Stuff Awards”: