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Featured GoAnimator: TheseStars - Hoot and the Yellow Canary

TheseStars
GoAnimator TheseStars is the November winner of my GoAnimate, Get Featured in TET's Blog contest. TheseStars has had her account with GoAnimate since April of 2010 and in that time has amassed 965 followers and published 21 animations.

TheseStars chose to feature her animation Hoot and The Yellow Canary, saying...

I choose this video to be featured in this article for several reasons. The first being that I strongly feel it is my best production thus far as an armature animator working within the GoAnimate Studio. The second reason for my choice is that I would like to share this particular spotlight with the other people who contributed to the success of the production. And lastly, I choose this video because I strongly believe in the message the story line serves to tell others. That they too can create a little magic in their own life.
This video production tells the story of how I literally found a yellow canary on the same day that I told a canary breeder in a pet store that I would, "one day have a Yellow Canary when the time was right".
To this day, it blows my mind how the events of that day unfolded. You see, the timing was perfect. I had an extra bird cage since I was travelin' with Ginger my pet cockatiel and kept an extra larger cage at my other home in New Jersey. 
Anyway, I figured since the story was going to be about birds, I would use my HOOT, the owl character and his side kick Stick figure to advance the story. But I was strugglin' for a storyline to introduce the canary. Which I feel silly about now because the best stories are the true stories. 

Watch TheseStars' animation below and then read about her inspiration and challenges in creating the video.

HOOT! and The Yellow Canary by TheseStars on GoAnimate


Inspiration

The overall inspiration for this video production had some very magical and extraordinary events surrounding it right from the start. So, I'll tell you about them and start from the start.

 The original inspiration came when GoAnimator EnjoyingLifeinSeoul (otherwise referred to here as ELIS) noticed that I was sharing pictures and news updates with friends and family on Facebook about the Yellow Canary that I found on my front lawn in New Jersey. It just so happened that ELIS was in the process of teaching himself how to animate props and characters using the software program, KoolMoves. ELIS asked me if l would like to have a yellow canary animated to join my other original GoAnimate character, HOOT! the owlet that likes to play around with anagrams. Of course, I was thrilled, and said, "absolutely".

Main Challenges

It was on March 2nd 2013 that I first saw the yellow canary come alive for the first time. So now I had this wonderful little moving canary who could dance, talk, close his eyes, fall over in his food dish, and of course, just stand still. The problem was, as I mentioned earlier in this writing, was that I was strugglin' for a storyline to use him. You have to understand that in my head I knew the video would have to be a great production because someone put all this effort into making this character for me. I knew I had to honor that time with something special. I had nothing.

So now time is still passing and it's now June, and I still have no idea how to introduce the Yellow Canary. No idea how I was going to make ELIS proud of his work. Then enters Gypsy Grass, the music. Written and performed by Shawn Gonzales.

Blues Musician Shaw Gonzales is an acquaintance who I had met in November 2012 through New Jersey Hall of Fame Blues Guitarist, Dean Shot while doing some promotional work for a night club.  The quick back ground story on Shawn is that he played slide guitar on one of Johnny Lee Hooker's last recordings before he died. It's now July.

Shawn sends me a link to hear some of his new original music that he just upload online. In just a few short notes, BAM! I knew instantly what I was going to do with the Yellow Canary. I was going to tell the amazing story on how I found him. And I was going to use Shawns' Gypsy Grass to do it. It was the music that sparked the initial inspiration to sit down and start the process in the studio. And it was the music that revealed to me how the story line would flow. Now I had two people to make proud. ELIS and Shawn. The pressure was mounting.

Since I wanted to use all of the music, which was 5 Minutes and 32 seconds in length, I now had time to play around with another story line, besides the true story of finding the canary, to make the work more fun. And who better than to give a story line too, but too my other alter ego personality, Stick Figure. I love setting him up for trouble, and I needed the time filler.

I didn't ask Shawn Gonzales' permission to use the music until after the video was complete. I figured if he heard my amazing true story being told alongside his own original music, that it would be easy to get his permission. So that's what I did. On May 18th, I presented the work to Shawn Gonzales asking his permission.

Yes, I did all that video production work, prop making, and story writing to his music knowing the whole time that there was a good chance he would say, "sorry, I would prefer that you didn't use my music". But thankfully, that's not what happened. This was his response, 'You have no idea how special that was for me. Thank you for such a wonderful experience Renee. I lost my bird "Brutis", of 12 years only 9 months ago. He looked very similar. It was so well done. I would be proud for you to show this to anyone. Thx again for even considering using my music in that way.'

 So besides the amazing story of finding the canary on the same day that I told someone I always wanted a Yellow Canary, is the finding of the music that immediately sent the story rolling through my head was written by someone who had his own personal and touching truth about a bird. Does life get any more uncanny than that? I don't think so.

 I believe the content of the production and the story behind it, could help others learn two things, 1. That they too could drum up some of their own magic in life if they just believe in the power of their own thoughts and words. And, 2. Allow a piece of work to have its own place in time for when it's ready to be, ---don't rush anything that doesn't come easily. I'm not saying you shouldn't try over and over to get a prop right, or a scene right---your should work hard on it, you should probably make several and choose the one that fits best, what I'm saying about story line is don't rush the telling of a story ---especially if its not flowin out on its own.

In the end of it all, I think I made a production that all three of us could be proud.

Here are two more funny things about this production. There is more truth hiding inside the scenes that no one yet has ever noticed. The first is with Stick Figure when asked by HOOT!if he, 'read the script'. Stick figure replies, "don't tell anyone Hoot, but I usually wait till the last minute". It's true--- very rarely do I stick with a script. I rough one out to give me a start, but than the story itself takes over and well I let it go its own course. 

And lastly, there is something in the video that no one ever noticed. It's the name on the directors' board prop I made. Kent Seehem. You can't see him. He is hiding behind my character Thesestars, who I also only give you a cutoff shot of, because I am trying to make it feel like a real studio production getting ready for the big introduction of the characters and the entrance of the Yellow Canary. Thought I'd give this a mention before signing off, and wishing everyone Happy Animating while following your own true stories.


If you've enjoyed TheseStars' work then why not check out more of TheseStars' animations on GoAnimate.

Runner up Featured GoAnimators for the month of November included:

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