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Interview with Mattzilla Duron, Art Director, Sculptor, and Puppet Fabricator of "The Tin Woods," Stop Motion Short Film About Oz's Tin Woodman's Origin Story

“I had just started listening to the audio books of the Wizard of Oz series and the Tin Man struck me as the most tragically interesting character,” Mattzilla Duron—a sculptor, mold maker, prosthetic makeup artist, and twelve-year veteran at Laika—tells Stop Motion Geek about the moment that sparked his most recent project: The Tin Woods, a short film created in collaboration with photographer and videographer Nick Boxwell, which—based upon author L. Frank Baum’s Oz series—tells the origin of The Land of Oz’s Tin Woodsman. “My sculpture was of the Tin Man mid-swing, frozen in time. A sad ‘Oh no, I’m stuck but still alive’ moment. He was that way for over a year before Dorothy found him and freed him. It really struck a chord with me. How awful it would be to not be able to die, and frozen and aware of everything around you?”

Shortly after creating it, the product of that moment’s inspiration—Duron’s Tin Woodman sculpture, which he created nearly five years ago, birthed from that sent…

Interview with Norman Yeend – Director, Animator, and Co-Producer of Ident for "Aquaman" Director James Wan’s Production Company, Atomic Monster

“At the time he made contact, he was working as an assistant to James Wan on the film Aquaman,” Norman Yeend—a thirty-year veteran in the stop motion industry as a director, animator, and model maker—tells Stop Motion Geek, describing a moment towards the end of 2017 when he got the call from his friend, coworker, and fellow Australian, Craig Sinclair, a producer, who pitched to Yeend what became his next labor of love—one which checked all the right boxes for him to stoke his passion for classic, practical-effects movie monsters and their delightfully fun flavor of mayhem. “James had mentioned to him that he was keen to re-create his company logo using primarily stop-motion and miniatures, and Craig figured he knew just the guy for the job.”

For Yeend there isn’t a pivotal moment he can pinpoint when his passion for stop motion was first ignited, his love for the medium instead one which slowly grew from his youth, the earliest roots of which began with his childhood fascination wit…

Interview with Tim Allen, Key Animator on Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs"

“The Wes style of movement has a simplicity & a more experienced animator has to learn to not put in the little tricks or flair that they may have used animating elsewhere,” Tim Allen – an animator whose career spans decades and includes credits on prestigious projects such as Shaun the Sheep, Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, The Flying Machine, Creature Comforts, the Oscar®-nominated films My Life as a Zucchini, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the Oscar®-winning short film Peter & the Wolf – tells Stop Motion Geek, describing the metamorphosis his animation style underwent on one of his most recent projects – Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, currently available on digital and set to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 17th. “The Wes style is direct & clear,” he goes on. “I take the old stop motion phrase & embraces it: ‘Less is more’.”


Although the “Wes style” is something of a “back to basics” approach to stop motion – in the sense that the animation sty…

Interview with Carlos Bleycher – Scriptwriter, Content Consultant, and Story Editor for Children's Oriented Animated Programming on Netflix, Discovery Kids, Disney xD, and Cartoon Network LA

“The most important thing for any genre are the characters,” Carlos Bleycher—veteran scriptwriter, content consultant, and story editor, with numerous credits spanning animated and children-oriented content in his native Spanish as well as English for the likes of Disney xD, Cartoon Network LA, and Discovery Kids—tells Stop Motion Geek. “That’s why it’s so important to have strong characters that feel real, and then use your premise as an ‘excuse’ to flesh out their personalities, dreams, fears, everything.”

After getting his start in the industry writing for sitcoms, Bleycher—inspired by the “countless hours of watching cartoons” he consumed as a child along with a healthy dose of ambition—made a conscious shift towards writing for animated programming aimed at children—an oft-snubbed dimension of scripted programming. To Bleycher, however, respecting such an audience is his highest priority in creating his work.



“I think an audience of children is the most critical and sophisticate…

Interview with Renowned Stop Motion Director and Animator Barry Purves

“I worry that animators strive to recreate reality, whereas I think animation should liberate us from reality,” Barry Purves—critically renowned film and theatre director, scriptwriter, stop motion animator, and author of celebrated books about and lecturer on the art and craft of the medium—tells Stop Motion Geek, in a snapshot articulating a philosophy that’s colored his approach to performance in theatre and animation, embodying a theme recurring throughout our interview: of finding himself in a unique season of reflection upon his career thus far, and the legacy in the wake of which he’s already left behind.

“Not just in the movement,” he goes on, “but in the storytelling, the use of colour, and sound, and so forth. I find ballet and opera and theatre to sometimes be so painfully honest and truthful—and, yes, they are not realistic in the slightest. I think this is about being aware of the limits, the process, and yet that something transcends the technique. I love how in galleri…

Interview with Mark Smith, Director and Writer of Stop Motion Short Film, "Two Balloons"

As I sit, listening to Peter Broderick’s moving composition for piano More Of A Composition, I close my eyes and envisage an enormous funnel cloud skimming across the crystalline face of an ocean – the skies are murky and unusually dark, lightning crackles, spider-webbing across the darkened skies before then vanishing, and still, after its gone, an electricity continues to hum in the air and I simply know that it’s going to soon strike again. And as the scene presents itself to me, I suddenly feel something similar to what director Mark C. Smith felt when he saw the same image as he sailed to a small island called Grenada along with his wife in a timeworn sailboat. For him, in that moment inspiration struck, and the idea suddenly came to him for his heartfelt stop motion film, Two Balloons. For me, I open my eyes and feel as I did the instant Two Balloons faded to black – as if I’ve just woken from a stunning and beautiful dream, one I immediately mourn not being able to see again f…

Interview with Marie Lechevallier, Animator and Collage Artist on Psychedelic, Cut-out Stop Motion Music Video for Parker Bossley’s "Chemicals"

“With Chemicals being a fast-paced and spontaneous project I had to keep the creativity flowing and to be constantly open to new ideas,” Bristol-based stop motion animator Marie Lechevallier tells Stop Motion Geek about her latest contribution to the medium – the psychedelic music video for Canadian artist Parker Bossley’s debut single “Chemicals” made in the cut-out style of stop motion, on which she was the sole contributor next to animation director Joseph Wallace. “That’s also an advantage of cut-out animation and the use of magazines – you have to be inventive with what is in front of you,” Lechevallier proceeds. “I like that kind of project – it’s really fun.”



There’s no question that Wallace’s and Lechevallier’s senses of fun and whimsy and passion for their craft come across in the final film. It, both literally and figuratively, imbues each and every detail of the film, adding a certain, palpable sense of youth and vibrancy to the surreal, make-believe reality of Chemicals –…

Interview with James Wilkinson, Writer and Director of Stop Motion Short Film "Billy Whiskers: The Mystery of the Misplaced Trowel"

“I think it must have been early Aardman stuff that first got me interested in stop motion,” filmmaker and animator James Wilkinson tells Stop Motion Geek, identifying the traits of his influences in animation that fashioned his own cinematic sensibilities, and were, at least in some small way, part of the genesis of his latest film—the charming, funny, and gorgeously realized noir spoof, Billy Whiskers: The Mystery of the Misplaced Trowel. “The gentle English ambiance and humour were so appealing to me as a kid and I just wanted to try and replicate it!”

First seen as a youth, Wilkinson’s stop motion inspirations made a lasting impression on him, giving him a passion for the medium that initially took shape as a hobby. As an adult, that passion stayed with him, fueling his studies of film production at university. After graduation, it blossomed into a fully-fledged career as the Managing Director of Tentacle Media—a Staffordshire-based animation studio he co-founded with two member…

Interview with Zélie Durand, Director and Animator of Stop Motion Short Film, "Sahara Palace," Incredible True Story of Loss, Dreams Unfulfilled, and Middle Eastern Cinema

“The only things my grandfather left behind were dozens of 35mm film reels in my grandmother’s basement, which ironically took up a lot of space compared to the fact that nobody seemed to talk about him, and that he was noticeably absent of every family album,” Zélie Durand, a French director and illustrator, tells Stop Motion Geek about the very personal tragedy that inspired her most recent film, Sahara Palace – a transcendent, nine-minute long stop motion short film that realizes and further explores the greater themes of an unproduced film script entitled “Sahara Palace,” as well as the life and legacy of the script’s screenwriter: filmmaker Hedy Ben Khalifat, Durand’s grandfather, a man she never met.

“I was not allowed to touch the reels,” Durand continues. “When I started to ask questions three years ago, my uncle gave me a suitcase he inherited from Hedy, telling me he had no idea what was inside. Right after that, I spent a week alone reading the three versions of Sahara Pal…

Interview with Bradley Slabe, Co-Director of Stop Motion Love Story, "Lost & Found" (Part 1/2 of Interview with "Lost & Found" Directors)

The true essence of art – a reflection of life itself – is very much akin to the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi-sabi”: it’s imperfect, impermanent, and, at times, profoundly...incomplete.

It is both at once a fundamental truth, and, curiously, more often than not, a thing incredibly hard to acknowledge, to make peace with. Yet perhaps our resistance is justifiable, for once we admit that the world is full of unknowns – unknowns that aren’t ideal, that aren’t perfect – we are just as soon confronted with the actualization of a deep, intrinsic, and very human fear: the fear of a future full of...unknowns that aren’t ideal, that aren’t perfect. Yet it’s the confrontal of that fear that is the most terrifying reality of all, for the moment we make peace with it we have just as soon have acknowledged that our paths in life aren’t in our own hands, or something we can control – a terrifying reality, yet one that’s nonetheless fundamentally true.


Yet, in art as in life, it is in this very plac…