One thing that I noticed that comes up from time to time is stop motion vs. what they call "real" animation.
This comparison puzzles me. Stop motion IS real animation. It is the same concept as drawn animation or CGI animation, only it is done with photographs instead of 1's and 0's or pen and paper. It's just a different medium for making objects appear to move on their own. I have already talked about my frustration with people who think stop motion is a medium for children. I wonder if that is what stems this attitude of exclusion. In my opinion it is way cooler than drawn animation. For one thing, I feel it is way more difficult. The same amount of work is put into each frame. When you are doing drawn animation, if you draw it in the picture it happens, no matter what. You can make anything happen. You don't have to follow the laws of physics.
When you make a stop motion animation, not only do you have to figure out how to defy physics with every shot, but you also have to make it look like you aren't. You not only have to build or find every piece of set, every prop, every piece of clothing, but you also have to figure out how to make them look like they are moving naturally. If your protagonist is kicking a ball, there is so much more that goes into it than just drawing the ball moving and the foot kicking. You have to make that ball suspend in the air long enough to take the shot, then you have to do it over and over again until you have your entire sequence. And the whole time you have to keep track of where the protagonist's foot is, how the grass is or isn't moving, what is in the background, where the lighting is, where all fingers and pieces of loose clothing of the animator is, all to make sure you get the perfect continuous flow. Stop motion isn't just the art of drawing. It is carpentry, sewing, model making, physics, photography, storytelling, lighting, problem solving, science-ing.....it is an amalgam of crafting, science, technical, artsy mayhem.
I have always been a storyteller. As young as six years old I used to tell long winded ridiculous stories about things that weren't true to anyone who would listen. The more absurd the better. As an adult, I can think of nothing more fun than telling those absurd stories in a medium that challenges my mind and my skills. Not only do I get to solve the problems of how to make the little things work, I get to solve the problems of making it all work together to tell a complete story.
Stop motion is a very underrated craft. I wonder if the drawn animators have rejected it as legit because they are jealous. While they are stuck behind a desk, I get to work with my hands. While they are agonizing over color choices, I get to solve a physics problem. While they are using the same scenes and only moving one part of a picture, I get to live in my set. And the end result is the same.....a hopefully amusing and pretty animation for everyone to enjoy.
It warms my heart to see the influx of stop animation that has happened in the last few years. Coraline, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mary & Max, Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas....all exceptional movies done in this wonderful medium. This year, 2012, we have Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (I use the UK title cause I like it better), Paranorman, and Frankenweenie are the few I am aware of currently. There is a film festival in Montreal dedicated solely to stop motion. I am surprised at how many established film festivals are adding in categories for animation and stop motion. We are becoming more and more mainstream (be that good or bad).
Don't worry, drawn animators who have a chip on your shoulder about stop motion. There is room for all of us. :)