Friday, February 09, 2007

Southern Circuit tour day five - Karl Staven

Southern Circuit tour day five. Columbia, South Carolina. Before leaving Clemson I visited David Donar’s graduate animation production class. The class was working on a group project and they may have wished they hadn’t invited me in retrospect. Not because I tore their film apart, I didn’t. They had a solid concept, good modeling and lighting, and the animation moved fairly well. It’s just that they were so far along in their process that the suggestions that I made to add some additional character development and questions about some of the motivation of the actions (why is the little boy stomping on the cereal box that contains the toy that he wants?) would necessitate alterations in timing and animation that they hadn’t planned on. Such is life. Just when you think you’re about done some Yankee comes along and questions you. Ah, but what is a Yankee? I may be living in Philadelphia now but I spent my formative years (2 through 18) in Georgia.

It was good to get involved in a dialogue about a film in process and I hope I was able to offer assistance.

Drove down to Columbia from Clemson and found my temporary housing for the night. A brief exploratory walk around the hotel environs left me with a muddy shoe and a long scratch on the back of my leg. Headed over to the Nickelodeon Theatre and met Andy and Larry in their basement office. Larry was excited about an upcoming meeting he had to attend so Andy was left in charge of babysitting the visiting filmmaker.

After a beer and some tasty crawfish we headed over to the cinema for the screening. The Nickelodeon is a small but friendly theater. They serve alcohol in addition to the standard fare and are looking forward to (given a board of trustees approval) a move to a larger venue with two screens.

Not a large turnout at the screening but the attendees were engaged and actually laughed at films that were supposed to be funny (the Clemson crowd was pretty silent; they may have been smiling but they weren’t emitting humorous noises). Several folks came up afterwards to talk and a few actually purchased copies of my dvd.

Afterwards Andy and I walked over to a local pub to have an additional beverage. Andy pointed out the prominent statue of Strom Thurmond next to the state capitol building where the engraving on the side was changed to alter the number of his children from four to five and to add the name of Essie, the segregationist’s child he fathered with an African American maid that was only revealed after his death.

Fascinating. I knew of the facts but not the statue alteration.

Thanks to Andy and the Nick for their hospitality, and the kind woman who lobbied on my behalf for inclusion in the Southern Circuit tour who handed me additional information and purchased a dvd. I’m sorry that my brain wasn’t able to hang onto your name. Just so you know, it usually takes me a full semester to commit the names of all of my students into long term memory.