Thursday, December 15, 2016

First Scenes/First Reactions!

Halfland begins to move with Eliya Eizerikova's generous artistry and technical help.  I never thought I'd be able to actually animate. I mean I always assumed I would, but after Eliya came and started me off, I now think I never would have without her! 

Russian-born filmmaker, Eliya Eizerikova, flew herself here from her home base in Israel to help me with Halfland (!) She stayed for a month (!) and we animated together each day as much as possible (!)
[Don't read this*, Eliya]  *She gets embarrassed when I gush over her.
She is an extraordinarily talented and giving person, clearly. She listened to me talk for 400GB, she endured me hitting the camera tripod with my foot out of nerves. She taught me how to light without sunlight. She showed me what it looks like to edit footage on a laptop like a tornado, faster than I could follow, she'd craft these scenes together.

She loves the project as much as I do, except Eliya has a terrific director's eye for seeing how a desired action could be shot that gives it more texture and interesting movement. And a courageous approach that will never hesitate to take action.

"The secret, Shelley, is not to know, but to try--and see whether it looks good."

She faced many limitations; my feeling un(never)ready, the Rana puppet being heavy and stiff, there being very little space around the giant set in this bedroom. Her military officer training and stop motion course instructor experience came in handy with me. She simply had no tolerance for any excuses. Sky not ready, pin it up. Puppet won't stand, rig it. Fish tail won't fit under the plastic water, cut it. It was FANTASTIC! Exhilarating to actually be shooting after so long! Doing whatever it took.

She was, in each moment, so gracious and supportive. You'd have to imagine what it's been like having an intelligent, multi-lingual, beautiful, fun and funny, kind, talented, patient, advocate, stop motion, director, videographer, editing, professional appear at your door from another country and volunteer to help make your dearest dreams come true.  She refused any offer of compensation, so pure is her desire about this. What can I possibly say.

I sent the link of her rough cut above to long term friends, family, followers, and fans of Halfland as sneak peeks. Some of their excited reactions follow below. I thank each of them for waiting so patiently for something to happen here. I am convinced nothing ever would have moved in Halfland had Eliya not been so moved to come and help.

Throwing some love back her way... Can't wait to animate more thanks to her!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!  Shelley, it looks amazing!  What an awesome surprise at the end of a mildly crappy day :) Rana is beautiful, she reminds so much of my mother-in-law, R's grandmother Bella!  J said the same when she watched it with me.
Everything is absolutely gorgeous!!  The sets are amazing, I loved Rana's little ear animation, and how you handled the water.   I can't wait to see more <3

I watched this like five times it is so delightful so thrilled to see Rana and I love her ears oh my god she's so darling the water the water the splash, the spider, you know I adore every little detail. The mushrooms the cabin the porch I miss it all so much so wonderful to see it again.  I'm so proud of you, very very proud of you, good work! Thank you!
Love you,

(ee!) congratulations,

OMG how precious. How in the world did you do the water? Loved the butterflies. Loved the front door. Loved it all. And it made me miss Constance! So much fun those times!
Love you,

What!? That is beautiful!! I just got the chills. :-D Congratulations! Hooray for Eliya! I'm glad she turned up on Halfland. I REALLY love the foreground elements. Keep it going!

How magical! The intricate details are charming and captivating. The work to create each little piece amazes me. I love the butterflies in her hair, the spider web, the weaving and her eyelashes. Bravo! Well done. I look forward to seeing more. xxx
Hugs to your creative soul!

♥️ to see it come to life

Dear Shelley: That is so wonderful, I’m very happy for you. I love what you have so far.
Love, R

Wow Shelley!!!!!
How exciting!
Congratulations :)
I love it!  The camera moves and lighting look so pro. The colors are beautiful and how exciting that your gorgeous details shine through :)
Great job with the water too!
Wow wow wow!
Can't wait to see more!!
Thanks so much for the peek :)
Big warm hug,

Super exciting stuff!!
Thanks so much for sharing... it's looking great!! 

Pure magic to see it brought to life like that!!! And even with music and little dust motes (or insects maybe?) drifting around out of focus! Who is this person helping you with it - have you written about her on the blog? I'll check on that. The name sounds Eastern European, which would be perfect. 

I love it!!!!  What a thrill to see your vision come to life.  I'm soooo happy for you.

Vaowwww... This is sooo beautiful!! What you have done here is just so amazing. Thank you very much for sharing this clip. I could not help crying seeing the first shots... I know how much you have put into this film. Every single detail in those scenes are well thought and created by you. And now it is coming alive. Bravo my friend!! I knew it was going to be amazing and now it is becoming real.
Love & peace, Y

Rana finally comes to life! GO SHELLEY!!


  1. Woah! I am so excited to see it coming to life!

    1. Woah! Woah! I bet you are, Enui, so long you have been waiting! HA! Thank you for sticking it out all these years. I'm thrilled to share this progress with you.

  2. Gorgeous! Like I just fell into a fairy tale. instantly in love with it, congratulations and very well done!

    1. Welcome, Gee! Now that's the kind of comment I most love, that you feel as though you've fallen into someplace fairy or folktale-ish. So glad to hear this! Thank you!

  3. Wow, I haven't looked in for a while, and look what I've been missing! Love the first scene. Animation is good (I was a bit worried about that). And the direction is assured - If that is Eliya's doing, all of us who have followed Halfland can echo your thanks to her - it deftly introduces Rana and the first glimpse of the mermaid in the stream, and it does justice to all your atmospheric details without holding up the narrative.

  4. NICK! I am so thrilled with your seeing the clip and responding so generously! These were literally my first ever moments pushing a puppet of any kind. I hope to improve as I go along, of course. And the direction becomes more and more interesting as I go as well. Getting used to making it my own, like the building was, applying myself to crafting the moving scene in time.

    Eliya saw the little I've made after she left and was very kind to say she loved it even more than what we shot together. She miraculously gets at a visceral level what I'm trying to create here, a folktale come to life.

    I will likely reshoot the scenes in the clip above, simply because making them helped me see what I want even more than before.

    Eliya's wise advice to me was to NOT reshoot them now however, but instead to push forward fast, making as many little scenes as I possibly can to get a momentum.

    And then I got sick.

    Ok, thankfully better now and getting right back to it!

    Having you watch and advise makes all the difference. Thank you! xoxox

    1. Anything clever or good in the clip was all Eliya. I NEVER EVER EVER would have even attempted the walk with Rana. Are you kidding me?! I was going to gloss over that with some sort of jump cut! HA!

      I wanted the rack focus from the web to Rana weaving but NEVER EVER EVER would have asked Eliya to attempt it for me--she saw the shot and went it herself, brilliantly. I understood rack focus to be extremely math based and difficult to execute. But Miss Eliya doesn't f-around or make things hard, she is a true artist with a ton of video directing experience, as you can tell.



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