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Interactive video lesson plan for: Hilt and Shaft

Activity overview:

I never spent any time thinking up names for my films. The first one that popped into my head was used. This film was the sole exception. I agonised for ages over the title for this one, and came up with dozens. Eventually, I settled on one, which without doubt was my worst ever. Out of loyalty to my childhood self, however, I have not changed it for YouTube, and you see here the opening titles in all their embarrassing glory.

"Prax Warrior 2" was one possible title, as this was another film of the same type. This one, however, was massively more ambitious. Whereas I made Prax Warrior with just two Action Man figures, after I won a film award and had been on telly, suddenly all my friends at school started admitting to having Action Men and they lent me theirs (by stealth - shoving them in my locker before anyone saw us), so now I had a cast of many.

The more astute and discerning viewers will spot that the first half of this film is more exciting and coherent than the second, and that the quality of animation tails off a bit towards the end. This is because I was part-way into the film when I was sent down for a two-year stretch at a boarding school where there were strict no-animation rules, and I had two evenings to try and finish of the film in a hurry. I had planned so much, and so much went to waste. At the end of this video, you'll see shots I took (that pain me to view) of the dozens of shields and helmets and weapons that never got used, because while I was away at the school, they all got thrown away.

There is in this an amazingly complicated shot, and I'm not entirely sure how I did it. It has suffered somewhat from the poor tele-cine transfer. In the background, too dim to see properly, are 1/72nd scale figures moving about on a hillside. Closer in, a drawbridge is rising, and a portcullis lowering. Three Action Man figures slide down the drawbridge and two make it under the cullis, and then fight some more figures with plastacene faces making them look like trollkin. Closer in again, other trollkin rush back and forth close to the camera, and a few missiles fly around. As you might guess, this took a fair few hours to shoot.

I'd love to get back into to animation one day.


Tagged under: Prax,warrior,animation,action,man,castle,fight,battle,sword,shield,super,8mm,film,super-8,lloyd,fantasy,runequest,glorantha,trollkin

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