Fairy Tale Final Project Notes

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vplh4ioWnk&feature=share


Workflow

Story:

I started out with the fable of King Kacor, a fat cat who gets kicked out on the street, and by manipulating other animals gains food and shelter. First, I put this story in human context, so instead of animals, humans were the characters with animalistic features. I also added some changes to the story, such as his mother kicks Kacor out, then he starts to look for people to manipulate on Tinder. This way the moral would have been something like no matter what, if you are smart or can outsmart people or use people, you won’t have a problem in life. I didn’t really like the moral of the story, felt it too far from me. So the final version of the story ended up being a guy dumped by his love, and then he goes on Tinder to look for someone to ease the feeling of loneliness. I liked my final story the most because of a couple of reasons: 1, it’s simple, everyone understands the story clearly. 2, I think many people feel like this today, lonely and let down, and sometimes they just don’t see the beauty in life because they are so focused on the negative part of their life.

Cut-out stop motion animation:

I wanted to do a stop-motion animation because I’ve tried it last semester, and wanted to try again with new challenges. My last animation was more abstract, so I wanted to create something more straight-forward that is easy to understand – even without words. I think paper puppets are the perfect choice for this, because even with their appearance they can convey any sort of message. In this case, I wanted to create a world where the viewer can imagine him/herself in it, there is no difference between people. To trigger imagination they don’t have clothes, colors, distinct body feature, not even face. And not last, they look very neat. They are also two dimensional, but I tried to place them in a 3D world. I have an Ikea puppet, what I did was positioning it the way I wanted my puppets to be, and measured the length of the limbs. So while in theory I had one puppet, that one puppet had at least 3 pairs of legs, and two sets of arms/hands. On the pictures there is the “prototyping” process and the final composition.

 

I used white paper to see the shape first and just when I was satisfied with the result used the good paper. This way I barely used the black paper, which is good news for my future animations.

The shooting went pretty smooth, thanks to the closet room, I could basically finish the shooting over the break, so the editing part left for the last two weeks, which was doable. Apart from my story board, I like to sketch up movements, to see how many frames it should be to get a smooth result.

Problems with the shooting was that at first I didn’t set up properly, edges I didn’t want to be in the picture was hard to remove, so after one or two scenes I changes the camera distance and angle. Another problem was the battery changes, if the battery died in the middle of the scene, I had change it and it meant the image will move.

The editing part was fairly simple as well, again the story board made my job much faster. But Premiere Pro crashed at least 10 times, which was very annoying.

Things that made the process easier:

Color Matte
Prototyping: first with regular white paper to see if the shape works(so I don’t waste the good material)
Copy-pasting effects
Ikea puppet-to observe what and how can be seen from the perspective

Problems:

Wrong Camera Set Up
Battery change: pictures moving
Premiere Pro Crashing 10x

Extra Reading #3

Assignment: Chapter 3: Breaking the Disney Spell

The power that oral stories or even written stories with a lack of illustration have is imagination.  Despite being the same or even similar in plots and descriptions every story can be imagined completely differently by every person. Whether it is the same person reimagining the same story differently each time or different people imagining the same story- everyone applies the descriptions and morals on their perspective of reality.

With the addition to any illustration one limits but also enhances the experience. It limits ones imagination  by “robbing the literary tale of its voice and changes its form and meaning” but at the same time could possibly though illustration create something that many did not ever conceive of. Stories, despite similar plots can resonate different morals and interpretations which is how it transcends to a large degree Social-economic disputes reaching a large enough audience to make it relevant. That being said, “it might be considered somewhat dimensional to examine all of Disney’s films as self-figurations, or embodiments of the chief designer”. By having a dominant visionary of express what the story ought to be, it limits to others from interpreting it themselves but this does not mean it doesn’t still apply itself to the masses because, “the images(scenes, frames, characters, gestures, jokes) are readily comprehensible for young and old alike from different social classes”. Depending on its creator it can “either bring about an aestheticization of politics  leading to the violation of the masses through fascism, or a politicization of aesthetics that provides the necessary critical detachment for the masses to take charge of their own destiny” which plays onto the previous extra credit reading about what moral and ethical responsibilities does an author have when creating a representation or in general a fairy-tale. That being said, the a reason why Disney was so effective according to this reads was the lack of ownership given to the artists and technicians to limit outside interpretations seeping into the overall story. Additionally, the story was more built on the aesthetics, attempting to capture imagination rather then reach a definite moral to be taught. The genre was turned into entertainment, and the fairy-tale was used as a “vehicle for animators to express their artistic talents and develop the technology” in contrast to being the driving force behind the animation.

I believe that Disney has shaped my generation’s impressions of fairy-tales as just entertainment, captivating us in these rigid worlds, however, like that of harry potter being cinderella in disguise, there is a new shift in interest for something outside of the box, enabling new creators to redefine the next generations interpretation of what the genre ought to become.

Extra Credit Reading #2

Assignment: read Jack Zipes “Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre: Chapter 3: Once Upon a Time – The Relevance of Fairy Tales

During the progression of class we were first requested to find a fairy tale that held significance to the us. After explaining the story we as a group then analyzed it in a way in which broke the story down to its key moments in order to determine what plot points were pivotal in being able to recreate the story but with aesthetic changes. An example of a re adaptation of plot points with similar story structure would be the example used in the reading with harry potter and cinderella. We also found what actions or take aways resonated with us the most in the story so when we recreated the story we would be able to adjust our adaptation to create similar moments that could incite similar take aways. This entire process took around 4 classes and was rather enjoyable playing around with and attempting to dissect and recreate a fairy tale and so when this chapter mentions that “the creation of the fairy-tale world, the mastery of the means of a form is not an aesthetic-technical problem, but rather an ethical one, the responsibility of the poet Vis a Vis life” I was rather taken back. I never considered or associated ethics with fairy-tales, through my child hood they were seen as childish and goofy which was fun but now applying a critical lens with asking the right question I find myself understanding fairy tales on a more intimate level. By analyzing the plot points, dissecting my take aways from the story and learning which questions are the right ones to ask if one were to look critically I find myself gaining appreciation for the art and history behind the stories.

Although questions are subjective, by attempting to understand:

“what does a writer hope to accomplish in using this genre to address children or adults? What responsibility does a writer bear when constructing utopian or dystopian alternatives to our contemporary world? Are writers of fairy tales unethical and irresponsible when they create false happy endings and delude us into believing that harmony is possible in our rapidly changing postmodern globalized war-torn world? Is it unethical to publish fairy tales in all their mass-mediated modes to make as much profit as one can by playing with our utopian desires?”

The questions in my opinion are just and attack the core of what we want to gain out of listening, telling,  or creating these stories in the first place. I have grown up as a millennial and by association have seen fairy-tales adapted into “pure entertainment and are trite retellings of tales”. Now learning of the original variations at a more developed phase and being able to understand the time and condition in which they are told I am fascinated behind their evolution which the previous chapter went into detail on. Regardless, I find myself asking a lot of question about my adaptation for class, whether it is ethical or not, whether I am designing for myself, for adults or for kids. I find this reading important because it makes me question my intent. Every line, plot point, and character/location creation must be created with a meaning now beyond the general ” I thought it would be (generic adjective)”.  Diving deeper in questioning my actions as a creator I could not but resonate with another line later in the chapter. “Among the ways we try to know the world and ourselves in relation to our environment, we have used and continued to use fairy tale as a metaphorical mode of communication”. This medium like any other genre communicates some messages better then others and so finding a message and adapting it to fit the medium or using the medium to create a message are despite simple ideas- core to whether or not my story should be continued or ended. I will attempt to apply these question and line of thinking to my final but I am aware progress is needed and so one cannot think too deeply behind everything, however, many things can be mindfully placed instead.

Extra Credit Reading #1

Assignment: read Jack Zipes “Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre Chapter 2: The Evolution and Dissemination of the Classical Fairy Tale

Presented with the various theories behind the creation, dissemination, and evolution of the classical Fairy Tale I could help but not become fixated on the idea that the the existing stories that the mass populous know or heard about are dictated by “men who controlled those channel”. That there are other stories that “failed to receive official approval, either explicit or tacit, which was an indispensable prerequisite for being memorialized in literature”.. I believe from a general perspective of the world stand point that things survive the test of time due to some aspect about it that makes it resilient. That the stories we heard today were able to survives thus far through socio-economic classes, cross-cultural, and inter cultural  for the sole fact that they play onto humanity. Similar to the notion of polygenesis in Les Fabliaux (1893), the stories today play on the human condition which has made them relevant enough become preserves rather than claiming an authority had the power to selective choose which one is given the ability to do so. I acknowledge that in a historic stand point, literature and the transfer of information through a written text was a privilege and sign of social-economic standing and by association provided the ability for those with power to filter to some degree stories back then, however, they were still or could have still been retained with oral-story telling and survived time until the print and press. And again- with the creation of such a machine it was still a luxury despite reducing the barrier of entry for literacy and the creation and possession of books. I would argue that the stories we still hear today are not only based on their ability in execution of story telling and pushed onto others by societal norms but because they play onto something more.

For example, good marketing with a bad idea will only go so far. bad marketing with a good idea has far more potential and obviously it is ideal to have good marketing and a good idea, however, bad marketing with a bad idea will most likely go no where. So out of the 4 options, 3 of them still will have traction hypothetically and so I argue that as long as the stories had good bones and was applicable to enough people, it does not matter about outside pressures limiting its reach because it will still be able to live on in come capacity and when the limiting pressures forget or move on it is still a good idea regardless and will be found, even more so in our day and age where everyone is looking for new stories to tell- but in reality are telling the same stories but adapting them to current conditions.

 

 

Zipes Chapter 7 Reading Response

In “To Be or Not to Be Eaten: The Survival of Traditional Storytelling,” Zipes begins with a quote form The Body Never Lies which comments on the practice of sacrificing children, and how that used to be deeply rooted in our cultures and even now, it isn’t completely gone–it’s now in the form of having to respect and honor our parents without question. Zipes continues throughout the chapter to comment on the role of tradition in fairy tales. He argues that if we don’t question problematic traditions and ideals these stories are rooted in, then we lose preserving the imaginative vision and put our children at risk (reaffirming and teaching values that shouldn’t be followed).

The section that stood out to me most was when he talked about cannibalism and child abuse through Hansel and Gretel and Abraham. This was a fun section to think through because I realized I never once questioned the witch wanting to eat Hansel and Gretel. I just accepted it as “just how she was.” But when I was raised Christian and heard the story of Abraham, I remember feeling weird about Abraham. I know I was supposed to learn from Abraham and his courageous faith, but I was more horrified at the experience the son probably went through.

I think the discrepancy comes from two places: 1. Abraham was the actual father while the witch was a stranger–it seemed more acceptable for a stranger to want to be horrible vs your own father being okay with sacrificing your life. 2. The story of Abraham was told as a ‘real life event’ while Hansel and Gretel was clearly a story that takes place in another world. I understood Hansel and Gretel was telling me strangers are scary, but I also knew witches weren’t real, but the story of Abraham made ‘evil parents’ real.

Zipes delves into why Abraham was respected despite his obvious child abuse. He then brings in the aspect of patriarchy. In the interview with Mr. Feiler, Mimi interrupts Mr. Feiler to say the mother would have had a different approach, and that Abraham shouldn’t have been so quick to sacrifice his children. Again, this was an example of old traditions that should be reevaluated to make sure these stories don’t reinforce harmful practices and values, which I agree with. These values are instilled at a young age, and it’s important to provide love and nurture when they’re young.

Philip Pullman Reading Response Cha Mi Kim

Philip Pullman Rewrites The Brothers Grimm:

In this interview, Pullman talks about his process and thoughts on Grimm fairy tales and the role of morality in fairy tales. The general image we get when we imagine the Brothers Grimm collecting stories is through adventurous oral encounters, but in fact, they were academics. The reason it feels like they collected them through wild interactions is because they “are a sort of snapshot of something in movement.” I heavily relate to this characterization of fairy tales–even the ones I read, they feel like a story told, not a story read. Pullman also talks about how these fairy tales are driven by morality because we are moral beings. We want the good guys rewarded and the bad guys punished–a sentiment that makes me angry when stories don’t pan out this way (which reminds me of an article about why Korean Dramas are so popular despite it being predictable: people want to see the good guy on top and it’s satisfying to have your guesses confirmed). My favorite part about the interview was the difference in writing style. Grimm used a lot of adverbs but Pullman says he cut down as many as he could. I’ve only read fairy tales in Korean, so thinking about the style of fairy tale writing (which I haven’t thought of outside of Korean context) was interesting.

The Challenge of Retelling Grimms’ Fairy Tales:

Pullman writes about how the Grimms collected and rendered the stories, and how he interpreted the same stories. He talks about wanting to create the clearest versions of the most interesting stories, and goes through characterizations he deems important in fairy tale/story telling: conventional stock figures, celerity, absence of imagery and description, way of writing that isn’t text, and tone. Each all relate back to his idea of “clarity”: The characters are straight forward and one dimensional, timeline is sped up, descriptions are simple and limited, story is written as if it was told, and his last advice regarding tone: the most you can do is aim for clarity. The concept of “they are too easy for children and too difficult for adults” really rang true for me (and often how I feel about Dr. Seuss books). Growing up, I never considered these stories to be simple, or to “lack in depth description” because in my head, I have a very clear and detailed image of what I imaged these places to be (plated with gold, sparkling shoes, etc). But, now I think the focus of the story on the moral and less on the details of the imagery helped me create my own world (it didn’t occur to me until recently that my idea of a certain fairy tale might be completely different than someone else’s–unless we’re talking about a Disney movie).

Fairy Tales for the 21st Century| Asiya Gubaydullina| Reading Response

This week’s assignment was to read a chapter from Jack Zipes’ “Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre”. To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about this reading, especially considering the connection he made between fairy tales and capitalism. That seems either like a stretch or complete destruction of the fairy tales concept. Maybe it’s just me who doesn’t want to leave the magical fairytale land and involve myself in the overanalyzed the reality.

There were several things I highlighted in my kindle– things that I agree with and things that make me question my belief system. In the first place, my belief system was constructed on the unpopular “narrative exchanges” because Russian fairytales are not analogous to the popular ones like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and etc. Russian fairy tales are completely different from what I have learned later on. Therefore, it is hard for me to connect tales of Deathless, rusalka (mermaid), Baba Yaga, Domovoy and other with the concept of a direct relationship with capitalism. Obviously, I need to conduct more thorough research to back up my statement. However, as of now, that’s my theory.

I also highlighted this part since I don’t think it can be applied to the 21st-century society. The author talks about transformation of these fairytales. However, are the magical tales transforming in the 21st century? In my opinion, our canonical tales are ordered by *surprise, surprise*  Walt Disney. We already talked about his influence on the fairy tales in the previous classes, so there is no point explaining it once again. All I am saying, the stories haven’t changed since Walt Disney’s team animated it. When we talk about fairy tales nowadays, we talk about Walt Disney’s versions of them. We do acknowledge the existence of the “original” stories but still, we refer to Disney’s versions of those. Therefore, I don’t see how his versions “reflect changing values, morals, and politics” of our 21st century.

 

Zipes, Chapter 7 : To be or not to be eaten, The Survival of Traditional Storytelling

Response

The text highlighted something very interesting: that despite the ability of tales to mutate and transform, some traditional stories still exist to scare our children. The three people mentioned in the text seemed to have mixed views on the continued prevalence of these patriarchal stories, because they influence children to live in order to offer something to their parents, and these stories “have no verifiable foundation”. Although the text points out the absurdity of having to ‘sacrifice’ children in order to prove loyalty to God, these stories help us better understand the mindset of a people, as well as the comfort they find and the trust they place in a higher power. As we have previously read in class, tales and stories are comforting to people, and this is one of the ways that they stick with us through time.

One of the key points of the text is that it emphasizes the power of ‘word of mouth’. By this method, stories are transmitted from people to people, from culture to culture, and the one who controls this transmission of stories has a lot of influence on how people think as well as the manner in which people view their lives. Stories such as fairy tales help us understand our world, and shape how children think, thus, tale tellers have a lot of power. In my opinion, this is true because for example, the story of the Three Little pigs that I know of at present was told to me by my Father, and his version of the story is meaningful to me for what it contains and what happens, and knowing that all three pigs survived and helped each other shows me how close family bonds can be.

“Great writers and story tellers have always been transformers and translators”

This quote from the text was significant because it highlights the fact that there are no authentic tales, but that a good story teller will grab a hold of the traditional tale, but instead of telling it the same way, will remold it into a tale adapted to the present period. Another interesting addition to that was that the text mentioned that the story teller is “a thief” who robs treasures to give to the poor. This comparison suggests that story tellers appropriate old tales and then start telling it to other people, who will then repeat it to others. It could also suggest that we are all thieves as we all appropriate fairy tales and when we re tell them, we create our own versions of the tale. The text promotes that as story tellers and the ones who shape future children, we must engage with cultural traditional stories but keep them open and adaptable to how society is evolving and changing, so as to best prepare ourselves to think/understand the world in our own way rather than be scared by old tales. The text seems to suggest that it is better not to feed children with concrete stories or legends, rather in the story telling, allow them to make their own meanings of the tales and have more freedom in the way they can think about the world. It points out the importance of keeping an open mind in order to appreciate the positives and negatives in all tales.

From reading this text, I do agree that story tellers are of great importance and they are the ones who shape us, so it is a real skill to be a great story teller. The text also made me realise how stories are carried through the centuries and how some stories are still known to us, passed on to others by books, word of mouth, repetition, and it is impressive that it is still getting carried on generation to generation. The fairy tales that we are working to re interpret in the class fall into this category of transforming a tale to reflect changing values and politics of our society, and thus, it will be interesting to see how the fairy tales that each one of us create will spread.

Zipes Chapter 3: Breaking the Disney Spell

Zipes’s statemented that, “the literary fairy tale’s ascent corresponded to violent and progressive shifts in society and celebrated individualism, subjectivity, and reflection. Disney’s interpretations featured the narrative voice of the educated author and publisher over communal voices and set new guidelines for freedom of speech and expression. In addition, proprietary rights to a particular tale were established, and the literary tale became a commodity that paradoxically spoke out in the name of the unbridled imagination,” struck me as particularly interesting. Before reading all of the other assigned readings for this class, this statement would not have made any sense to me. Now, it makes perfect sense. The feeling that fairytales were belonged to the common people, rather than a particular author is part of the oral tradition. Who can own a story when no one has it written on paper? This reminds me of the Disney interpretation of the Lion King – particularly the song the Lion Sleeps Tonight. For a class I took two years ago, I wrote a paper on Disney’s unrightfully use of the “Lion Sleeps Tonight” in the Disney series of the Lion King. The song was originally popularized by the Tokens, who were only partially aware of the copyright that existed in Africa. Before then, the song was derived from a traditional African chant. Eventually, Disney was sued for use of the song when the real copyright belonged to the descendants of the original African band that copyrighted the song. Disney’s partially uninformed use of the song (they paid the Tokens for the copyright, but did not inquire further about who had rights to the song beforehand), contributed to Disney’s appropriation of tales and tunes from other cultures that they transformed into their own. By taking stories from cultures that belonged to the people and monopolizing on them, Disney does exactly what Zipes points out as setting new guidelines for freedom of speech and expression. Zipes goes on to reference Walter Benjamin’s Age of Mechanical Reproduction, which also details the transformation of copyright through time as technology allowed for easier reproduction.

It might just be that Zipes’s writing is outdated, but presenting the fact that a lot of Grimm’s and Disney’s fairytales follow a sexist narrative should not be an incredible revelation. Only in later films such as Mulan and the Little Mermaid, do women follow unconventional roles and break rules. I’m surprised Zipes did not focus very much on this topic, since it’s crucial to how Disney movies were perceived for so many years, and especially how they were seen as role models for young girls. Disney’s influence on the youth has to have inspired and informed children’s decisions for decades, which is something that Zipes fails to mention. The other thing that Zipes does not mention is how Disney adds audio to a lot of his fairytales. Musical pieces became essential to any classical Disney movie, and the use of song is one of the few times that many underdeveloped female characters do have depth. Is interpreting the story in song something that takes away from the original plot, or one that enhances it? I would be curious to know what Zipes thinks of the use of musical effects in Disney’s movies.

Zipes Reading Response: Evolution and Dissemination of the Classical Fairy Tale Cha Mi Kim

Zipes explores the origin of fairy tales, which reminded me of the “Everything is a remix” theme which is seen in all other genres. Having read many different variations of the same story from different cultures, I wasn’t very surprised, but questioning the assumption that fairy tales were spread orally was a bit new. Because I imagined these stories being passed down (esp because these stories were being told to children, who then would grow up and tell the same stories), I assumed it was an oral tradition, not a written one.

The idea of a story evolving to fit a situation/environment to induce wonder makes sense, and reminded me of Jiayi saying she didn’t know what a ballroom when it was mentioned in certain stories. Zipes says these changes make it difficult to pin down the ideological meaning of these stories.

He also makes a point about how our view of fairy tales changed. We often assume these stories are only for gullible people, but back in the day, everyone believed in magic. This doesn’t make them stupid–they knew to tell from probable and improbable, but they also had a connection to these stories, which is why these stories were able to survive for long. When the church came along, they recreated, then reclassified the “probable” and the “improbable.” And to make it “improbable,” they feminized it to dismiss the stories they didn’t want circulating. Origins of how things became feminized is so interesting to me, because even though fairy tales and these stories are considered “girly” today, men dominate the actual field (like many others).

He then examines the spread and effect of fairy tales in Europe and North America, such as the German translations of ‘”French” fairy tales. The most interesting note in these sections were how the Grimms initially thought they were doing a “German collection,” but later realized these tales were just pan-European with various mutual influences. I thought the story of Korean Cinderella was a very traditional Korean story because it had traditional Korean names, clothes, culture, and food in it, but it was just a variant of all the other Cinderella stories. In the twentieth century, fairy tales represented a more “idealized concept of childhood,” which is what I grew up with, and I can’t decide whether growing up with unsanitized versions would have been necessarily bad for my childhood.