Excerpt (For the entire article, click here)
When he was 11, Zachary L. Wong ’16 started doing stop-motion animation with Legos. Since then, he has tried a variety of styles, combining both live-action and animation. One of his animations is about a homeless man who dreams of being an airplane pilot.
“More of my recent stuff is very character-based,” Wong says. “I’m very interested in trying to portray things as realistically as possible. I don’t bring in too [many] fantastical elements.”
Creating even short pieces like Wong’s four-to-five minute clip about a homeless man, however, is so labor-intensive that it can be difficult to balance with school work. “Animation is such a tedious and time-consuming process,” Wong says. “During the school year, I usually write and set out the storyboard.” Wong then creates the actual animations during winter and summer break.
While some animators work off an already existing script, Wong fashions his own, generally thinking up the title first. “[The title] serves as the premise, and as soon as I have that, I start animating, and I kind of flesh out the story as I go along,” Wong says, “[It’s] very mercurial…very organic.”
The process of creating an animation also requires an understanding of the many different elements that go into a short clip. Much of Wong’s knowledge is informed by his childhood experimentation. Through stop-motion, Wong learned how to convey mass and gravity. Through painting and drawing, Wong learned how to become a good draftsman. All of these lessons, mixed with an understanding of movement and motion, gave Wong the tools he needs to create his works.
“Animators are the best filmmakers that are out there because on a day-to-day basis, they deal with movement,” Wong says. “If you reduce film to its basic elements, it’s just about capturing movements.”