Project Proposal 2.0

Working Title:

Don’t Have Nightmares 0.1

Aims and objectives:

The project will be investigated using experimentation and research. Part of my research will come from a questionnaire which will provide me with qualitative data.

Aim: To create a psychological piece of work using a rotoscope animation technique which will explicate the theme of fear and how our emotions can be evoked by objects, visuals and sound.

Objectives: Investigate developments of rotoscoping in it’s infancy stage (Max Fleischer) to the work of modern day directors such as Richard Linklater. Research developments in the animation industry which employ synthetic realism (reality effects).Explore innovative techniques in which art work has been projected to evoke fear. Research artists using various mediums that have used iconic imagery to promote their own work and the consequences. Explore expressionistic films (Germany 1920s) which has influenced contemporary horror film.

Issues: Does taking and reusing original artwork inhibit or facilitate creativity? Will this trend become more prevalent in the future? Will this create a schism between original and copied art?


Historical: My context is fear and the aesthetics of psychological fear in a film narrative. Regarding the horror film genre, as the subject matter is very broad, using selected iconic horror films scenes, I will investigate techniques and methodologies directors have employed in order to create ‘that frightening scene’.

I will also examine how fear has been used in order to create awareness. This could be in a pictorial advertisement, a television commercial or a public information film.

Contemporary: Classic horror built a foundation for contemporary horror. Horror films that we see today are very influenced by the classics. The contemporary uses familiar attributes which make the horror genre a cliche. Even with the advancements in film graphics and digital effects, why has the contemporary horror film lost it’s appeal over the past few decades? From a selection of 5 horror films made since 2000, I will try to answer this question analyzing contemporary trends within narrative and innovation in graphics and digital effects.

Theory: I will investigate the attraction of fear in horror film genre. I will consider questions such as  Why do horrific visuals disturb us yet perversely appeal to us? Why is animated horror viewed as a popular entertainment only for children? I need to look into horror genre theoretical areas. For example, sensation seeking and dispositional alignment. Research neurologists (Freud), philosophers (Aristotle) and film theorists (Zilmann) to gain a more theoretical understanding of fear psychology.


Animation/Film process: I will need to analyze footage and scenes from selected iconic films. The selected scene will be roughly 1 minute in duration. The footage will be edited then converted in a media encoder to a FLA file. The FLA file is then inserted into the software. Each frame of the footage will be drawn onto (rotoscope technique) using a Wacom tablet and pen. Artwork considerations: Style of character and background drawings, duration of animation, visual effects, colour gradients, using texts, blurs and explore alternative rotoscoping techniques and styles.

Sound process: Using a digital sound recorder, ambiance sounds such as wind, water, birds, traffic, crowds of people will be recorded in the UK and Japan. All other soundbites can be downloaded from websites such as A collaboration with an experienced sound designer has been arranged for December. The collaboration will involve experimenting with sound effects (isolated sounds, foley sounds etc) to more technical areas in the sound process (sampling , reverb, timbre, transients etc).

Sculpture process: Test drawings will be screened on a 24″ monitor. The sculpture will mimic the interior of ‘the iconic frightening scene’ either in representation or as an abstraction. Box and rectangular maquettes using various materials (polystyrene, plastic, vinyl, wood, paper, wire ) will be constructed. Transparent objects in the form of PET bottles, glass bottles, broken glass, fish bowls, coloured plastic cups will be arranged inside the maquette. The process is then photographed and filmed. The experiments will provide me with visual concepts and considerations regarding, projection, lighting and scale. I have a provisional symposium arranged with scenic and prop maker Torie Nimmervoll next month.

All aspects of the methodology process will be recorded on my blog. However, it is will be important for my blog not to become cluttered. By developing clear links, I will be able to add theoretical, technical and practical aspects of my blog to ensure organization and coherency.


It’s difficult to pin down (at the time of writing) how my project will evolve at this stage. This is partly due to the number of mediums which will be used in the process. I would imagine the rotoscope animation, sound design and the context are more likely to feature in Project Proposal 1.2 . However, my aims could be to create a 40 second public information film raising contemporary issues. For example, anti-social behavior in social media. My practice may involve filming something animated with unpredictable movements such as insects, reptiles or gold fish (unharmed, of course).

Work Plan (while at work)

I don’t have a systematic work plan as my work (E.F.L. Teacher) conflicts with the course structure. Most of my productivity will be during terms when I am not teaching. I have to stay positive. I understand that I am at a disadvantage and yes, it very frustrating (like my feeling now) though I have considered strategies to turn my disadvantage into an advantage. For example, research methodologies (surveys and collaboration). I can get qualitative data from my work colleagues. I work with people who are currently practicing artists or have creative backgrounds; musicians, painters, performance artists, documentary film makers, fashion writers etc. I can openly discuss my project in order to gain stimuli, alternative view points and inspiration.


Horror Film and Fear Theory

Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in modern horror films- (1992) Carol J Clover

The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart- (1990) Noel Carroll

Dark thoughts: Philosophic Reflections on Cinematic Horror- (2003) Daniel Shaw

Horror! – The definitive companion to the most terrifying movies ever made- (2013) Kim Newman and James Marriott

The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain- (2009) Daniel Gardner

German Expressionism

From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film- (1947) Siegfried Kracauer

German Expressionist Film- (1982) John Barlow

The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt- (1969) Lotte Eisner

Scholarly Articles

Understanding the Popular Appeal of Horror Cinema: An Integrated-Interactive Model-(2004) Glen Walters

Double Take: Rotoscoping and the Processing of Performance – (2008) Kim Louise Walden

From Shadow Citizens to Teflon Stars: Reception of the Transfiguring Effects of New Moving Image Technologies- (2006) Lisa Bode

Understanding Animation-(1998) Paul Wells

Digital (Visual) Culture & Sound

Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres- (2010) Andrew Darley

Cyberpop -(2006) Sidney Eve Matrix

Meta-Morphing: visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick Change- (2000) Vivian Sobshack

Digital Art- (2003) Christiane Paul

The Language of New Media-(2002) Lev Manovich

Designing sound-(2010) Andy Farnell





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