In early January, Caleb Williams of Jacksonville submitted a two-and-a-half minute claymation film to the 2017 Ashland Independent Film Festival’s (AIFF) “Launch” competition: a program where young filmmakers from Southern Oregon and Northern California can submit their own films, less than 5 minutes long, which are “innovative, inventive, creative, original, inspiring, relevant, compelling, entertaining, thought-provoking, funny or unique.”
The short film, titled “Squeaky Guy Painting” stars three clay figures that Caleb and his best friend, Will Campbell, created nearly eight years ago, when the young filmmakers were 8 and 6-years-old, respectively. They have been making claymation and live action “shorts” ever since. Squeaky Guy Painting is a magical piece that has the three figures creating a painting, then discovering that they can enter right into the world depicted on the canvas. “Claymation” is a slow process. Individual photos of clay figures are taken with subtle changes in each successive shot—a slight lift of a hand, a blinking of an eye. When those images are linked together, it creates the illusion of motion, much like an old-fashioned “flip book.”
But unlike flip books, sound effects were carefully created and added, as was music that Caleb composed and/or performed himself. These elements were transferred to the visuals to create a complete film. Even some “green screen” technology was used, where Caleb filmed the figures on a green poster board so that later, a live video he had filmed earlier could be superimposed onto the green.
The result was a film that must have charmed the film committee at AIFF who accepted it into the Launch competition. Caleb, and his friend Will, will be present at two showings during the festival in early April. Otherwise, you can catch Squeaky Guy Painting and several other films on their Guy Studios Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/guystudios. Guy Studios consists of Caleb, Will, and Caleb’s sister Emma, who are committed to making better and better films as they and their company mature and gain experience.