A First Burst of Sound

If I have the correct understanding of the term “needle drop,” the definition comes from not too long ago when people listened to vinyl records, before CDs and digital files became the common form. To provide some variety and spontaneity to the enjoyment of listening, if you were to take the arm of the record player, move it towards the centre of the album, and drop the needle, you would listen from there on, not knowing exactly where it would land. If you had friends there with you, they would cheer with joy and would agree this is a good song.

I might not have the definition right and I may be taking my liberties with the meaning but it works for me. I will use it as an analogy for a way to start an initial blog post, to offer a starting point, dropping in midway through a project already in progress, one that, of sorts, is already spinning round and round on a record player.

I like to think of this web site as a kind of shop window. I will place objects on display for people to see. From time to time, I will rearrange the display and place new things in the window. I have a diverse collection on hand to share. Each object is meant to prompt thoughts and associations.

If this is a storefront, you can see what’s immediately in the the window, as things are set near the glass facing the street. If you were to hold your hand to the side of your face, to block the sun from your eyes and shade the light and lean in you might be able to see farther inside, and notice a workshop, with material and tools scattered around a well-used table. Looking even further towards the back, you might get a glimpse of living quarters, including a small kitchen and toilet facilities, where the proprietor lives. Among his possessions are an eclectic assortment of things from the process of making and results of undertakings, products to show and comment on.

These first items are from SLIP, an animated film I have been researching, developing, and producing.

A page from my sketchbook with early sketches and a detail of the protagonist, Stahling. I have had a particular design in mind for the film, which is represented to some degree in the drawing: flat, bold lines, stylized details. I continue to work with this look and will share more iterations soon.

Early sketches of where the story takes place. It is meant to be an urban neighbourhood, with street-level shops, apartments above, and row houses nearby. We see a small park with a fountain. In the vicinity is a community centre, pool, and public library. Not far away is a school and fire station. The topography inclines. A recent thought is that the neighbourhood is in a watershed and a stream makes its way through the park. I haven’t decided if it will replace the fountain as a main feature of the public space. Trees and vegetation will certainly be there. A natural ecology is important.

The dramatic climax of the film will take place on a street car, as it travels through the neighbourhood. This image is of a prototype model of a seat for the car. I am developing a design method that will involve three-dimensional sets that I will then composite and layer with drawings and cutouts. I will make further posts in the future, to detail the results of this research.

These images are pieces of an illustration that I made using scratchboard. It too is of an urban neighbourhood, inspired by observations of locations in the Cambie Village and Main & 16th sectors of Vancouver. I have tried to find ways to integrate etched print design and production as a workflow for SLIP. There are aspects that I will proceed with, other methods still need to be worked out.