Nursery Ryme


Norman McLaren is, and has been one of the most awarded filmmakers in Canada’s history of film making.  Without this man animation and filmmaking would not be as advanced as it is today.  Born and raised in Scotland, McLaren went to Glasgow School of Fine arts where he studied set design.  In the early 30’s he was working as a cameraman in Scotland and England; however, in 1936 he traveled to Spain, where he began filming the Spanish Civil War.  From there, he came to the US for a time, but then moved to Canada in 1941 to work for the National Film Board (Imdb).  While there, McLaren worked on many projects, but in 1942 it became his job to recruit new art students to the program. Norman McLaren has become so well known, mainly for his pixilation work.  Pixilation is a style where real actors are used as stop motion objects to make a clear scene.  McLaren’s most well known work, in which he used this style is, “Neighbours.”  The motions that McLaren was able to create using pixilation were more clean and smooth than any artist in this field could get them. In the animation I created, I chose to use McLaren’s pixilation technique because I found this style fascinating, and wanted to try to form a work similar to his.  I attempted to plan out how many shots it would take to move the body to create a smooth, slow shot, or how many it would take to create a quicker shot, where it would appear that the picture was more rough, depending on how I wanted the picture to be perceived, and how I wanted the viewer to react to the scene in front of them. As much as I tried to execute my plans in the way that I thought was appropriate, there were many obstacles that made achieving these goals difficult. One of the main obstacles that developed into a problem was the actors.  It was difficult to get them to move in the ways and directions I wanted them to, to create the correct feel for the overall shot, or how subtly or extensively I wanted them to move in between each shot. Although it was difficult, I believe that one of my biggest successes was in executing fast motion in comparison to slower motion.  When the idea was for the actors to be moving slowly, for instance, when they were at the table, I had the actors move slower, and more subtly in between each shot; however, when the scene called for quicker movement, such as when they appear to be fighting, I would have the actors move faster, and more extensively in between each shot.  While these scenes became, what I believe to be the strong points of my work, it was, without a doubt, one of the biggest struggles that I had to overcome; however, I am glad I was able to experiment with this pixilated style, and learn all the difficulties and struggles that McLaren undoubtedly also had to go through to create his well known works.

Caden Prince

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