In keeping with my Christmas themed blogs I thought I would take a look at the well known Christmas stop motion TV movies!
In the 1960s a company called Rankin/Bass Productions started putting out stop motion Christmas specials for NBC. You’ve probably seen at least of few of them. All these years later they are still shown at Christmas time. The Year Without a Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jack Frost, The Little Drummer Boy, etc.
As far as animation goes, they are not the most beautifully animated movies of all time. Honestly, the animation can get quite clunky in some spots, and yet they are still beloved, they are still shown on TV every year. Why is that?
Entertainment, story, and characters are more important than beautiful animation. There I said it. As much as I love beautiful animation if you don’t have a good story to back it up nobody is going to remember it.
The reason these movies are still remembered today is not because of the animation itself, but because their stories have heart and their characters are memorable. (Although I give massive props to this company and anyone who does stop motion animation.)
Take a look at this clip from Jack Frost:
This isn’t a clip I would go back to study animation, but I always remember this clip from the movie because it’s amusing, and it shows an interesting side to the villain of the story.
And then there’s this sequence from The Year Without a Santa Claus:
The animation isn’t as fluid as it could be, but…. I don’t care because it’s such an entertaining, memorable part of the movie!
So, keep striving to get those beautiful arcs and believable weight, but the next time you sit down to make an animation remember that if it’s not entertaining it won’t be memorable!