written by Mike Brent
Ok, you’ve found this fantastic site and maybe been reading for a while now, and you’re itchin’ to jump in and ask some questions so you can get that stopmo epic underway. Here are a few simple guidelines to help minimize problems that we see all too often, and that can be easily avoided with a little foresight.
1) DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST
All too often we get asked simple questions that have been answered over and over again on the message board. To avoid looking like a clueless noob and raising the frustration level, start by looking through the appropriate forums or here in the Newbie Guide. It gets updated frequently, so check back now and then. And there are answers available outside of these hallowed black pages as well... remember, Google is your best friend! There are also a lot of excellent books available that any serious student of animation should track down and read.
2) GIVE ENOUGH INFORMATION
It’s hard to help when someone just asks “how do U animate water?” (that’s one of the frequent questions)... it would depend on several factors. We need to know what kind of film you’re wanting to make... is it realistic Dynamation style stopmotion comped in to real settings, or stylized claymation? By water are you referring to a stream from a garden hose, an ocean, a swimming pool? Do puppets need to interact with it, or is it just a background element?
Also please let us know what kind of setup you’re using... shooting on film, using a DV camcorder with a framegrabber, or maybe a digital still camera? You can save us all a lot of headaches, and get much better answers, by filling in the details.
3) DON'T DEMAND
This message board is a community of people who share a common love of stopmotion animation. Many times someone can help you find answers to questions that are stumping you, but no-one is required to. Just like in the real world, it's all about playing nice. It's very annoying when someone demands help by saying something like "Just tell me if you know" or "HELP ME PLEASE!!!!". IT'S ALSO VERY RUDE TO USE ALL CAPITOL LETTERS!!!! This is the online equivalent of shouting, and no-one likes to be shouted at. It's fine for emphasis occasionally, but please don't leave your CAPSLOCK button on!
4) COMMON COURTESY
This is not your little brother's message board!!! We do not tolerate flaming or pranks here. many of our members are professionals, working on films like Corpse Bride and Curse of the Were-Rabbit among others. Not only do they give sound advice, but in some cases people have found their way to industry jobs through the networking they've done on this site. Don't let your poor judgement ruin your reputation and chances of employment in the future.
Ok, that about covers it. Keep these simple guidelines in mind and we’ll all get along just fine. Now go get ‘em tiger!