There was a front page article in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal about the brickfilm community. Brickfilms is a general description for any film made using LEGO bricks, and most of these shorts employ a stop-motion animation technique. For more information about brickfilming, see the definitive online resource BrickFilms.com.
I wish somebody would do a more in-depth exploration of all the new animation filmmaking techniques that have emerged as a result of today’s abundance and accessibility of digital technologies. Thanks to new ideas like Flash, Machinima, and brickfilming, there are more people producing animation today than there have ever been in the history of the art form. There are easily thousands, if not tens of thousands, of creators who are currently making their own animated shorts. Granted, in most cases these animated pieces are unable to transcend the novelties of their techniques and truly resonate as films, but the simple fact that there are so many people producing animation independently is a notable paradigm-shifting moment in the animation world.
It used to be that animation was the realm of specialists. Even a couple decades ago, an amateur would have to make a significant investment in resources to produce anything. Today, however, any 9-year-old can create animation using the laptop and digital camera in front of them. To my mind, this mainstreaming of animation production is one of the most exciting developments that has happened in years. It has yet to pay off in any appreciable manner but I can’t help and think that with so many young people knowledgeable about the animation process, good things won’t come from it.