The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – “The Illusion of Life”: Animation and Character
R1A 003 | CCN: 26034
Pamela Leandra Weidman
Location: Dwinelle 262
Date and Time: TU, TH 11:00am - 12:29pm
Animated films love to represent their own processes of animation. American cartoons stretching from the 1910s through to the present insistently show off their new techniques and technologies; their labor-intensive modes of production; and their artificiality. Above all, they make a spectacle of their “illusion of life”—how they can start with a blank page or a simple, still line-drawing and end up with a character in motion.
In this course, we’ll use these films to explore broad theories and questions about character, with implications beyond the idiosyncratic tradition of American 2D cartoons. We’ll think about how artworks depict and define ideas of personality, type, the human, life, and the artificial, as well as how they resist and rework these categories. As we analyze how these cartoons stage self-reflexivity, this class will similarly stage a self-reflective attention to how we view and analyze films, read theory related to character and animation, and formulate our own ideas and arguments in discussion and in analytic papers. This course will give special attention throughout to writing, which, like the production of these films, is a continual, collaborative practice that blends labor and art.