Tiny Circus, Big Production at Ames School

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AMES, Iowa -- It's not every day students get to make a movie, using camera, and paper and scissors. That is the story this week as Lisa Teske's art students at  St. Cecilia school are making a stop action movie.  The group Tiny Circus from Grinnell is in town to help students learn two skills, how to collaborate with one another, and make a stop action movie.

The action started on Wednesday when the students were asked to lay down on the ground to form shapes for an animation, as a large group. On Thursday the students took paper items cut to build sets to go with the story they had written.  The paper characters were laid over a glass foreground and were able to animate in front of a static background. Another group shot an animation one frame at a time on the wall.  Cameras attached to the computer produced the animation one frame at a time.

"I think team work is an important thing, the idea that you can kind of trust your community, to finish this project together," said Katie In, a member of the Tiny Circus. In said the work of making stop action animation is time consuming, "it's not something that one or two people can do on their own, also not something that one or two people are going to take credit for," she said.

Tiny Circus is based out of Grinnell, and tours around doing workshops on collaboration and animation. Four members comprised Tiny Circus this week working with the St. Cecilia students. Last summer Tiny Circus also did a project during the Des Moines  Register's RAGBRAI ride across Iowa. The final 2-3 minute animation will be presented by the students to the school faculty and parents Friday evening.

"I'm learning how to make stop animation things," said Trent Hustedt who is a 5th grader at St. Cecilia.  "It's kind of cool how you put it together out of just paper," he added.
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