Monday, April 20, 2009

IVP3-Greg Johnston

"Check Your Answers"
I created a three minute film about checkers, of which I have posted a 30 second outtake. The inspiration behind my game began with a consideration of the question "What is a game?" I thought about the headlines about a year ago when scientists and game theorists used computers to solve the perfect game equilibrium of checkers. In other words, if two people (or computers) play perfect games of checkers, it has been proven that it will end in a draw. It is a pretty amazing accomplishment, but one that almost strips checkers of its status as a game. It now seems like more of an algorithm--one which we have solved.
But what if there was more to the little black and red pieces than we realized? My film attempts to answer that question in a humorous way. It tells the story of my magical checkers set that, while I am away, manages to finish my math homework for me.
To animate the checkers, I used stop motion animation. This raised a couple of questions about execution: how many checkers should I use and how should they move and act? While I would have liked to make the pieces move "kitty-corner" style, this proved to be incompatible with the setting and goal of my animation. I decided to scrap that idea. I used a couple other film strategies to make the short a little more interesting. I tried to compose every shot carefully, taking light, entrance, and background into account. I also used a slight speed up effect in some of my shots, a tribute to the Benny Hill show, from which I also used the song. If you don't know it, have a look:
While the film is meant to be funny, it is also intended to make you think about the role that games such as checkers play in contemporary society. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

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