Moments in Motion

A Durham Wharf Foundation Residency Project by Rory Waudby-Tolley and Zoe Payne

This project aimed to bring people together to share stories and memories through the medium of animation. The group consisted of pupils from Surrey Square School in Elephant and Castle, their teacher Matt Dean, and three women from a residential home on the same street as the school.

The project opened up the physical process of film making in order to explore personal experiences of ‘time.’ Alongside the animations, drawings and cut-outs the group made, a great outcome of the project was the relationship that formed between the children and adults which has continued after the project through more shared events.

Session One: Fireworks

The first session established that animation is the succession of frames and that as directors we can control the timing of an animated moment. The group played ice-breaking games and discussed fireworks, particularly the noises and displays they had seen recently. This became the starting point for a ‘Mexican wave’ of firework actions and noises, and a way of discussing rhythm and energy. It also showed how each person’s small input contributed to something bigger, like an animation. Each participant experimented with rhythm, continuity and energy by making a simple exploding animation.

At the end of the session the participants were invited to think about a moment that had felt like an ‘explosion’ in their lives: a moment of excitement, happiness, sadness, surprise. This became the emotional core of the project.

Session Two:  Moments Moving in Timelines

Rory and Zoe introduced a game called ‘conducting’ where a participant could dictate the pace, speed and loudness of each person’s call or movement to show how animators have the power to control all aspects of their films.

The participants were very excited to watch their animations from the previous week. They discussed some of their individual ‘explosive’ memories and began drawing out this moment as a sequence on films strips.  Rory and Zoe encouraged the participants to think about pace and timing as much as possible and helped them to create impactful moments that matched their experience. An animation station was set up to test out the sequences. Afterwards the work was carefully filmed so it could be shown at the start of the next session.

Session Three: Music and Moments

The session began with the group viewing the moments from last week and seeing how beautifully different each one was. Rory and Zoe encouraged the group to share their ideas about about how each moment might be extended or developed. After this, the group experimented with instruments to compose a small soundtrack for their animation.

Session Four: Stop Motion Collage and Soundtrack Interviews

In the fourth session Rory and Zoe introduced Collage Cut Out as a method of animation, giving the participants another way to convey their moment. During the session, an interview station was set up with Hayley (another RCA animator) so she could interview each participant and record voices to accompany the animation.

Session Five: Stop Motion Collage Soundtrack Interviews

During the final session the group finished their moments, with Rory and Zoe ensuring that everyone had completed all aspects of the film-making process. Rory and Zoe compiled the final film, and it the group got to see it at a special screening a few weeks later.