Fried Ham

Allow me to introduce you to one of the films I made while I was a student at UCLA: Fried Ham.

I originally made this film for UCLA’s Falling Lizard animation party in 2007.  Falling Lizard is a weekend-long event where everyone makes a complete animation based on a common theme.  It’s a fun, intense weekend of socializing and creating with very little sleep.

I went into Falling Lizard that year thinking: “I’m gonna make a film that can go in Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation.”  I was also thinking of perhaps doing something based on a rhyme or song from my childhood.  I was basically coming up with some parameters to help guide my thoughts down a productive path.  It totally worked.

The theme that year was “The Thing in the Back of the Fridge” and I called on a memory of a playground rhyme I used to do with a friend:

Fried ham, fried ham, cheese and baloney

After the macaroni we’ll have some pickles and onions

And then we’ll have some more fried ham, fried ham, fried ham.

We would recite it once in a normal voice and then say “second verse, same as the first, Swedish style” or whatever we style we could think of.  I think over the course of about three recesses we got up to around 120 different styles.

Anyway, for Falling Lizard I took that rhyme, set a tempo, measured out how long each verse was, and started animating.  I came up with a few styles beyond the plain first one, culminating in a masterful and gross final act.  I animated the whole thing in pencil, inked with a brush pen, scanned it into a computer, vectorized and colored it in Toon Boom Studio, and finally put it all together in Flash.  I wrote music for in four parts for recorder – starting with tenor and adding in alto, soprano and sopranino on subsequent verses.  I used Weird Metronome to produce a simple drumbeat for it.

The film I produced that weekend was a less thoroughly animated version than the one you see here.  This is the one that I fleshed out and made more complete to use as my official UCLA computer film.  I had planed on doing Don’t Fear the Sitter as my computer film but it had become clear that I wouldn’t be able to finish it by the end of the school year.

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