Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
â€œThe Miserable Monkey is Miserable No More.â€
In February of this year, Prospect Art Teacher John Morgan began a multimedia club for fifth graders. The clubâ€™s goal was to conceptualize, write, design, animate, and produce a short film. The club (called the â€œProspect Elementary Renaissance Kidsâ€¦because they can do it all) spent the last 5 months doing just that, and the result is their first animated short film, â€œThe Miserable Monkey is Miserable No More.â€
The students began by brainstorming possible topics for their project. Once a general theme and plot were carved out, students began creating concept sketches. The characters and landscapes that would become central to the film were fleshed out through hundreds of quick drawings and discussions between club members. While this process was taking place, other students were simultaneously devising the lyrical and melodic framework for the song that tells the Monkeyâ€™s story. Over the next few weeks, Mr. Morgan took the themes and lyrical motifs suggested by the students and cobbled together the song that you hear. The students, as well as Mr. Morganâ€™s band, Kachina, spent the next couple of weeks recording their new song.
Once the song was completed, principal film work began. The students employed the â€˜Stop Motionâ€™ technique of animation. Stop Motion animation is achieved by taking a series of still photographsâ€¦in the Miserable Monkeyâ€™s case, around 4,700 photosâ€¦to create the illusion of movement.
P.E.R.K. met every Thursday afternoon for 1.5 hours, as well as other random times throughout the semester. Each week, they would shoot anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds of usable footage. By the end of filming, students were operating every aspect of the production independent of Mr. Morganâ€™s guidance.
From shooting to software to hands on animation, the students had truly learned to â€˜do it allâ€™.
Mr. Morgan would like to thank all of the parents, teachers, and administrators associated with this effort., as well as a very special thanks to Mr. Casey Cromer. Mr. Cromer is a childhood friend of Mr. Morgan, and the duo has been producing wacky videos under the â€œFrench Licks Filmsâ€ moniker since they were in the 8th grade. Without the patience and effort of Mr. Cromer, none of this wouldâ€™ve been possible.
Please donâ€™t hesitate to share the Miserable Monkey with your friends and family, via this website, or by linking directly from YouTube. Enjoy!
The 2010 Prospect Elementary Renaissance Kids are:
Written by: John Morgan
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 by Cindy Ginger