MEMBER MONDAYS | Amari Pavati
is an 13 yr old animator who studies at Austin School of Film, he creates incredibly smooth, high quality stop-motion animated shorts with LEGOs. At just thirteen years old -- he is our youngest member and with his work both professional and beautifully executed, we couldn't wait to dive into this highlight! On this week's Member Mondays, we sat down with Amari to chat about how he create such amazing, fun films, and what he hopes to achieve as an artist moving forward into the bright future!
What software do you use to animate? For your films, how long do you find it takes to animate and edit everything together to get your final product? (Essentially, walk me through your process of creating a film from start to finish)
Amari Pavati: I start by writing my animation. I often have the idea several weeks before I even start filming. Then I use my Canon Rebel T6i connected with my computer to animate it. I use a software called Dragonframe to make make the film. When I’m done shooting my story, I edit with Adobe After Effects and (when I’m feeling lazy) iMovie. My 8x8x8 entry took my about 10 hours to animate the minute and a half long short. It takes so long because I have to take every frame, 15 frames per second.
When did you seriously get into making animated films? What is it about making them that gets you excited as an artist?
AP: I made my first animation when I was six. I took a long break until about two years ago. Ever since then, I’ve been animating every chance I get on my YouTube channel, Amari Studios. I like stop motion for a couple reasons. First, I can write, produce, animate, star in, and edit an entire short all by myself. Second, it's real. Everything in an animation is actually there, so it’s really satisfying to see it come to life.
Do you draw from any other films or media content for inspiration?
AP: My first animation was inspired by some short computer animation ads from the LEGO group. I wanted to make that myself. There was one of a police motorcycle jumping over a wall that I still remember. I also take inspiration from Aardman Animation’s Wallace and Gromit.
What are some of your biggest production challenges when you make your films?
AP: Light flicker. Light flicker is caused by inconsistent lighting. When it's played back, the light is constantly changing and ugly. I have to fix it by using lights and stuff. I actually got so annoyed with it, I made a tutorial on how to fix it.
You showed us one of your more recent films The Only Stormtrooper The Could Shoot Straight. Other than the animation being incredibly impressive, we were really taken with the wittiness of the writing. How did you come up with the idea for that film, and I guess in a broader sense, where do you find a lot of your ideas for projects coming from?
AP: The dramatic shot in the dark was inspired by a Star Wars: the Clone Wars episode were there is a super cool shootout in the dark (The Battle of Umbra) where the main light source is blaster bolts. I thought it looked awesome. The accurate stormtrooper idea came from the frequently parodied inaccurate stormtroopers in Star @ars. Eventually, I arrived on this final idea.
What’s your favorite film of yours that you made?
AP: I always hope for my newest to be the best. My newest is an entry into a competition called 8x8x8. To be eligible, your entry must take place within an 8 studs by 8 studs by 8 bricks of height. The competition is hosted by brick-a-brack.com, one of the largest communities of brickfilmers. My entry is about a lego guy on a segway being chased by a chicken to yakety sax.
There is a long history of Brickfilms being a popular medium, before and after The LEGO Movie came out. Why are you drawn to making your stories with LEGOs specifically?
AP: I have always been a huge fan of LEGO. I love the creativity involved. I also love to tell stories. Put the two together and you have a brickfilm
Talk about your experience taking animation classes at Austin School of Film. What skills did you learn that you hadn’t known before?
AP: I learned about using Adobe Animate, which I was not familiar with before taking that class. I also got to learn a lot about the different types of animation. It was also great to meet other people who were interested in animation.
You made your first live action short called Robo Johnny in a class of ours. What did you like/not like about making a live action film versus an animated film?
AP: I like that one take for a shot takes maybe a minute as opposed to an hour and a half to finish. I didn’t like my lack of control over the small details. In animation, I have more control over my set, characters, and camera.
Where do you see yourself as an artist in the future? What are some of your ambitions for yourself and for your work?
AP: I would love to work at Aardman or Lika when I grow up. They are really the only big studios that make large scale stop motion animations. Aardman just released a new film called Early Man, and Laika did Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline. If not, perhaps private advertisements. Until then, I intend to make parodies and other stuff for my YouTube channel.
Be sure to check out Amari's YouTube channel and follow his work HERE!
MEMBER MONDAYS is a weekly interview series highlighting current members & alumni of the Austin School of Film + Austin Cinemaker Space community! Each week, we’ll be featuring one of our incredibly eclectic community members and take a deep dive into their work. Gaining an insight into what makes them, them.