This project is inspired by a really stupid question that has occupied religious scholars and philosophers since the Medieval times: “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”  This question was hotly debated for centuries and a story is told that the defenders of Constantinople were preoccupied with the question while the Ottoman Army scaled the walls.  The question currently is a metaphor for wasting time on debating topics of no practical value.


In groups of three, you will check out a field recorder from the Cage.  You will then find an isolated, quiet spot in which to have a conversation.  The Tower Conference Rooms of Conway Hall are good locations, as well as the lounges.  In this location, you will have a conversation as a group of three and record it on the field recorder.  The conversation must last at least twenty minutes long and the topic will be a set of open-ended questions given to you at the beginning of class.  The open-ended questions will be inspired by the infamous, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”


Once you complete the conversation (make sure everyone speaks), you will take the results into the studio and load it into ProTools.  You will decide together what excerpt to take.  Create a 30-40 second soundtrack.  You can use sound effects if you wish.  You can chop up the audio as much as you want, or if you got a usable take without too much editing, great for you, too!  This soundtrack will then serve as the dialogue for your Claymation.  


Start to think about what kind of clay figure will serve to represent you.  Draw some ideas out before molding the figure in clay.  Also, decide what kind of backdrop will be used for the animation.  We can use cardboard, wooden dowels, glue, tape, and paint.  I will also want to have a title screen with the name of the piece and the collaborators.  You will make the title screen with markers on paper.  You will use the copy stand for the title sequence, taking top down shots.  You must use a combination of long, medium, and close-up shots in the Claymation.  Don’t make the movements too complex.  Be economical, but don’t make it boring.  Use a combination of variety and repetition.  Finish the conversation soundtrack on the first day.

Things to Keep in Mind…

  1. Stop motion animations with clay and misc. objects

  2. Use DSLR Camera

  3. Set to the conversation from the first day of class

  4. Top down set up on copy stand for hand drawn title sequence

  5. Create characters.  Moving eyes and lips are effective.  Close ups of eyes and lips are great, too.  Remember to be economical but not dull. 

  6. Making objects transform can be magical.  Make things grow or shrink.  Make them change colors, melt away, fall apart, mold back together.

  7. Use a variety of shots: close ups, medium shots, long shots.

  8. Zoom in and out?

  9. Maybe use depth of field with the DSLR? Try different lenses for different shots?

  10. Not too much detail on background.  KIS method: Keep It Simple. More attention should be paid to the clay figures.

  11.  Make it strange and unexpected.  Make it weird.  But don’t make it so weird that it is unintelligible.  

Alien Topics. New Media 2 Claymation. 2018

Is It Random?.  New Media 2 Claymation. 2018

Aliens.  New Media 2 Claymation. 2018



In groups of two or three, you will create a stop motion animation of 1) parables by the author, Franz Kafka, or 2) short plays by the author, Kenneth Koch.  As a group, you will choose which story/play you would like to animate.  You must create a script and a storyboard for the animation.  You must create hand drawn and painted cut outs and backdrops.  They do not have to be complex.  They can be as simple as South Park.  You will use the Copy Stands and the DSLR Cameras.  You can do this in the 352 Classroom in Conway Hall, the Photo Lab in Fulton, and/or 333D in Conway Hall.  If you have your own lights and tripod system, you can do it anywhere.  I want: original or copyright free music to be used, original voice overs, copyright free Sound Effects, a Title Sequence, and credits with names.  The animation should be between 3 and 4 minutes long.  

Kafka's Song of the Sirens.  New Media 2. 2018

Franz Kafka's Song of the Sirens

Proof that inadequate, even childish measures, may serve to rescue one from peril. 

To protect himself from the Sirens Ulysses stopped his ears with wax and had himself bound to the mast of his ship. Naturally any and every traveller before him could have done the same, except those whom the Sirens allured even from a great distance; but it was known to all the world that such things were of no help whatever. The song of the Sirens could pierce through everything, and the longing of those they seduced would have broken far stronger bonds than chains and masts. But Ulysses did not think of that, although he had probably heard of it. He trusted absolutely to his handful of wax and his fathom of chain, and in innocent elation over his little stratagem sailed out to meet the Sirens.

Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing has never happened, still it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never. Against the feeling of having triumphed over them by one's own strength, and the consequent exaltation that bears down everything before it, no earthly powers could have remained intact.

And when Ulysses approached them the potent songstresses actually did not sing, whether because they thought that this enemy could be vanquished only by their silence, or because of the look of bliss on the face of Ulysses, who was thinking of nothing but his wax and his chains, made them forget their singing. 

But Ulysses, if one may so express it, did not hear their silence; he thought they were singing and that he alone did not hear them. For a fleeting moment he saw their throats rising and falling, their breasts lifting, their eyes filled with tears, their lips half-parted, but believed that these were accompaniments to the airs which died unheard around him. Soon, however, all this faded from his sight as he fixed his gaze on the distance, the Sirens literally vanished before his resolution, and at the very moment when they were nearest to him he knew of them no longer.

But they--lovelier than ever--stretched their necks and turned, let their cold hair flutter free in the wind, and forgetting everything clung with their claws to the rocks. They no longer had any desire to allure; all that they wanted was to hold as long as they could the radiance that fell from Ulysses' great eyes. 

If the Sirens had posessed consciousness they would have been annihilated at that moment. But they remained as they had been; all that had happened was that Ulysses had escaped them.

A codicil to the foregoing has also been handed down. Ulysses, it is said, was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate could pierce his armor. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent, and opposed the afore-mentioned pretense to them and the gods merely as a sort of shield.

Kenneth Koch's Happiness.  New Media 2. 2018

Martha Colburn Stop Motion Animation Workshop Fall 2018

In the Fall 2018 semester, New Media 2 students were required to attend the visiting artist workshop of Stop Motion Animator, Martha Colburn.  Martha Colburn is a filmmaker and artist. She is best known for her animation films, which are created through puppetry, collage, and paint on glass techniques.  She also makes installations and performs her films with live musical performance. Yet music and film have always shared a deep connection within Colburn’s work.  Her work is collected by MOMA, LACMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and SFMOMA. After the workshop, New Media 2 students completed the remainder of the stop motion animation as a group project.

Martha Colburn Workshop. False Enlightenment.  New Media 2. 2018 

Project Three: The Expressionist/Surrealist Art Movie


Each person/group will create a short Art House movie.  This movie will be a science-fiction/suspense/horror/expressionist/surrealist type of movie.  Each student will be given a broad set of parameters regarding: 1) specific camera shots and 2) certain After Effects tools/techniques that will be required to be used in this project.  These broad parameters, this set of givens, will then be interpreted/personalized in great detail by each individual artist and/or group.


Inspiration for Project Includes These Expressionist and Surrealist Films: 


• Robert Wiene: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

• F.W. Murnau: Nosferatu (1922)

• Many Ray: The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice (1929)

• Luis Buñuel/Salvador Dali:  Un Chien Andalou (1929) & L’Age d’Or (1930)

• Luis Buñuel:  The Exterminating Angel (1962), Simon of the Desert (1965),

   The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), & the Phantom of Liberty (1974)

• Jean Cocteau: The Orphic Trilogy (1930-1960)

• Maya Deren: Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

• Kenneth Anger: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) & Lucifer Rising (1970-


 • Jack Smith: Flaming Creatures (1962-1963) & Normal Love (1963)

• Gregory Markopoulos: The Illiac Passion (1964-1967)

• Sergei Parajanov: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965) & The Color of

   Pomegranates (1969)

• Alejandro Jodorowsky: El Topo (1970) & The Holy Mountain (1973)

• Stanley Kubrick: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

• Terry Gilliam: Brazil (1985)

• David Lynch: Blue Velvet (1986), Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Lost Highway (1997),

   & Mulholland Drive (2001)

• Steven Soderbergh: Schizopolis (1997)

• Matthew Barney: Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) & River of Fundament (2006-2014)




TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS:  These lessons in After Effects and Motion encompass all of the parameters of the project.  You can stich things together however you want.   You can order things in any way that you see fit.  However, you must first write a script and create a storyboard for your project.  It must include a variety of shots, including close-ups, medium shots, and long shots.  It must also have one or more: tracking shot, zoom shot, rack focus shot, canted frame shot,  panning shot, and shot/reverse shot.  It must have a combination of hard cuts and cross fades.  It must have a title screen and it must have credits.  You must use copyright free music and sound effects, which are to be found online provided by Salisbury University, or you can create your own.  It must use all of the After Effects lessons above.  The project must be between 3-5 minutes. 


CREATIVE REQUIREMENTS:  The sky is changed and the world is different.  You have had a part of your body removed, or you have lost something that was part of yourself.  You are searching for what you have lost.  You will meet different people on your journey who will point you in the right or wrong direction.  You will go through different dimensions, or dreamscapes.  These strange worlds can be real or imagined, something dredged up from the subconscious or something that is breaking through into the real world.    You will wander strange places, pass through hallways, passageways, doorways, try keys to strange locks, walk up and down stairways.  You will be searching for this lost part of yourself.  You will ask people if they have seen it. You will search high and low for it.  Will you find it and become whole again?




DH Lawrence “Sick” 1929

I am sick, because I have given myself away.

I have given myself to the people when they came

so cultured, even bringing little gifts,

so they pecked a shred of my life, and flew off with a croak

of sneaking exultance.

So now I have lost too much, and am sick.


I am trying now to learn never

to give of my life to the dead,

never, not the tiniest shred.


Stephen Crane “I saw a man pursuing the horizon” 1895


I saw a man pursuing the horizon;

Round and round they sped.

I was disturbed at this;   

I accosted the man.

“It is futile,” I said,

“You can never —”


“You lie,” he cried,   

And ran on.


Stephen Crane “In the Desert” 1895


In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,


And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;


“But I like it

“Because it is bitter,

“And because it is my heart.”


Neil Young “Lookout Joe” 1975


Remember Millie

from down in Philly?

She took my brain

and forgot my name.

The woman you were with

was about the same

She took your money and left town.

The Black Balloon. Allie R. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018

You Are Beautiful.  Fatima I. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018

The Mask.  EJ M. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018

As part of the Surrealist Movie, there were many lessons, lectures, and tests with special effects in After Effects.  Here is a sample of a few of the tutorials:

Color Range

Touchscreen Sky.  Ty K. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018

3D Tracking

The Hallway of my Mind.  Fatima I. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018


Followers and Leaders.  Ty K. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018


If Time Froze.  Ty K. HD Video 1920X1080. New Media 2. 2018