the-battle-of-poetry-(2)
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HKU_SPOUSE

12 March 2005

Yester-three-days-ago I told about my new concept for an animation about clowns and that I was about to take it to the teacher. Today I tell you that -again- he attempted to drag it into the shredder. I managed to salvage most of the parts, but concessions had to be made. I'm more than upset about the way it happened though.

For some reason it's the clowns that bother the teacher. I don't know the exact why or how, but he can't seem to wrap his head around the idea that it's a story about a clown. What does this clown stand for? He asks. Nothing, it's a clown. Sometimes a clown is just a clown. But why is the clown not happy? Look, we've been living in a postmodern culture for the past thirty years or so where the common view on clowns has shifted from them being innocent jokesters to the most horrible monsters fathomable. I think that nowadays it's more of a clich? to make a clown evil than to make him happy. Clowns are synonymous for masked creatures that hide scarred souls and sometimes forked tongues. My depressed and addicted clown is a saint compared to most of them out there.

But it's not really the clowns that mattered most. It's the fact that the idea I have didn't fit into the standard mold. It's too experimental. It uses movie conventions (,,Why would you do that? This is animation.'), it doesn't have a tight narrative and it uses the loose psychological frame of an individual who goes through a process of growth/deterioration. It's not a Loony Tunes gag-cartoon, nor does it have a deeper social meaning, nor is it a metaphor for an aspect of life. It's just a clown, just a personal story with a personal touch, with themes that interest me. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

It seems to me that the teacher, though obviously good of will, is too careful with us. He wants us to only make safe cartoons with lowest-common-denominator storytelling and things that fit into the mold that he has in his head. Anything outside that mold is risqu? and experimental, and has no right to exist. I think it's a bad way to teach if you take fifteen minutes to bash every single aspect of a concept when the student has no idea what you're talking about. How can he see the error of his way when he hasn't experienced the flaw firsthand? There are things to be learned through jurisdiction and theory, but I'm of the opinion that there's even more to be learned from stumbling down and getting up again by yourself.

He should allow us to take risks. Being a student means that you don't always have to target for making the perfect animation. I think this movie will kick ass, he doesn't. He sees flaws, I don't. I'm totally open to the statement that there are things wrong with my idea, in fact I know that. But I also think that I'm not going to learn a single blasted thing if I only take the safe route and never get the chance to come across a tripping stone
myself. He should indulge us in our weird experimental ideas. So that we'll really learn the craft. Grinding our concepts into generic pulp to fit the mold isn't a smart way to teach. Allowing us to make our own mistakes and learn from them is.

Roderick.