1 Feb 2011

Solving problems with The Mascot (1933)

The first animated short  in a row I looked more into and will use as a reference for problem solving, and solutions for approach towards my own animation, is The Mascot, by Vladislav Starevich (1993)


The animation is highly stylized with limited range of expressions. Nonetheless it appears, the puppets are acted in a very expressive manner, in order to balance out the lack of it because of the way puppets operate.
I noticed also the economy of animation: all seems to move in their turns (apart from crowd scenes where everyone/everything moves) . That also helps to direct the eye to constantly shifting center of attention. 


Majority of shots appear to be long takes using a steady camera which  faces the action directly from front: this creates the theatrical feeling, as if the audience is watching a play, a puppet show happening in front of them .  Though for contemporary audience it may bring boredom if overused. 

Also almost every action is followed by a reaction shot of main characters, I‘d interpret, this helps to achieve audiences connection with main character. As if we are thoroughly engaging with the puppy and at the end audience is well familiar with the main character, so feels happy for his successes.  

Sound Track
The Animation uses both a diagetic and non-diagetic sounds, where the music plays as a “voice over” – defines each action, change of mood, new elements  (characters or objects which entered the shot in a notable manner ) with  likewise a defined sound effect.  
I found that even if the action wasn’t followed as thoroughly, the music plays as a prompter, making the intended idea also obvious to the audience.

To recap and make links for my transcription project:

1.      The animation could be stylized and in a way overly expressive in order to convey ideas using a model (the constructed bird) which seemingly has a limit to its expressiveness
2.      Animating “in turns” ( avoiding to “move everything)  both is economical and helps direct viewers eyes as desired
3.      It is best to use long takes modestly as it generates the feeling of actually seeing everything happen live in a play ( what helps to reach better engagement) though can be found unentertainingly too long  if overused .
4.      The risks of using solely diagetic sound is that it might be unclear what the story is about as it takes greater engagement to understand the turns in the story solely from what is shown, whereas  with the use of additional sound effect the action and mood can also be suggested.


  1. Nice to see this again!

    I think it's really important that you commit to your whole story idea via storyboarding and get to the music + images stage as soon as possible. Because your idea is dreamlike and surreal, it would be easy for us to 'kill' it a little, because we simply cannot share your vision 'in the abstract'. In many ways you're making a 'feeling' - and ideas about narrative logic etc. need not apply in a traditional sense. This story idea is never going to communicate itself adequately until you're using the music as a 'logic'. I'd suggest not 'over-thinking' your idea at this stage - or losing courage - but you DO need to find a way to give YOUR experience of this story and its potential to others. Complete the boards (even though they'll probably change) and use the music itself to 'explain' why things happen the way they do. This is animation remember, and many animations are simply 'experiences' and do not conform to obvious story grammar. That said, it has to 'feel' right, of course - so let's see your vision complete. (and let us hear it too).

  2. Definitely. I'm really in to all what's necesary to make it happen as you said.
    You can find the test animatc with the original soundtrack (only to help establish time intervals)
    I haven't uploaded it to the blog, because I'm working on some serious changing atm.


    I think you'll confirm what.. I think is there:
    not yet engaging.. still not clear at sll :/
    but hopefully in next few days Its gonna change...