TAIS Animation ABC's Studio Spotlight Residency - William Allinson

"Electric Dream Chute" is a short film directed and animated by William Allinson, which was completed during the Toronto Animated Image Society's one week residency (Feb 14 - 20, 2016) called "Animation ABC's". In this residency, four animators were asked to create an animated piece to reflect on their process. J.R. Fountain did the sound design for the film. Colour correction was done by Nathaneal Chadwick

What inspired you to get into animation?
When I was growing up, “Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas” played every year on TV. It was my first exposure to stop-motion animation and the starting point for my love affair with the medium (more specifically, it was the California Raisins rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that hooked me…I’ve still got the figurines sitting around somewhere). In terms of actually practicing the craft, I dabbled and tinkered for years but put my focus on writing and directing live action films. I went to Ryerson’s Image Arts Program, had a great time, created a whole slew of short films and learned a lot about myself through the process. For whatever reason, a few years ago I was inspired to buy a mini tripod for my phone to start playing around more with stop-motion in the Vine app. That process gave me the electric-tingles that I had not felt in some time, so I turned my apartment into a makeshift animation studio and haven’t looked back since.

How did you hear about this residency?
I only heard about this particular residency upon being invited to attend. No idea how that happened. I joined TAIS last year and really got into what they were doing. They’re a great resource to such a niche community and everyone there really cares about creating an open-door environment for both emerging and established artists. That was totally refreshing for me so to get the news was a thrill – still no idea how that came about though.

How do you feel about making an autobiographical/fictional work about your animation practice? Did the experience of making a self-reflective work change/expand your perspective on the process?
As long as the weight rested more heavily upon the ‘fiction’ aspect of the autobiographical approach to a project like this, I’d be more than comfortable to proceed. I tend to shy away from anything too ‘me me me’. I find it more fun to slip secrets about yourself into the work and hide them in plain sight – however, as the piece that I created during the residency features a figure with a mirror-face dreaming and interacting with the ‘eye of Horus’ and UFO’s, if that adequately passes as autobiographical, I’d be up for that process any old time.

What was your biggest challenge during the residency? Your biggest discovery/breakthrough?
My biggest challenge was calming my mind enough to sleep, as I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to pull this off in one week. As anyone who experiences the odd bout of insomnia every now and then knows, putting too much weight on the idea of needing to get to sleep is not the best action-plan to achieving that sleep. Luckily there was only one sleepless night where I just puled myself out of bed at 4am and went back to the studio. My greatest breakthrough came about mid-week during my morning walk to the studio where I figured out what the ending would be, and in doing so figured out the themes of the piece. That was a good lightning bolt and I’m glad it struck me when it did.

Do you have any upcoming/other projects that you would like to mention?
I’m right in the middle of a music video for my friend and recording artist Stacey Kaniuk that is going to be pretty cool. Lot’s of larger armatures interacting with figures on glass, all sorts of day-dreamy imagery. Then after that I’m collaborating with my friend Liz Worth on a project. Totally talented, published poet who is letting me run wild in creating the images to accompany a recorded poem of hers titled "New Math". With that one we’ll go very dark and abstract, which certainly fuels my imagination. Then the road is long and winding with many projects I’d like to tackle. I missed the self-imposed deadline of ‘first feature film before 30’, which irks me some (having just turned 32), so that will be next years priority. I’d love to integrate my stop-motion work into a live action film. I always thought a detective story in the film noir style would be interesting…We shall see.

Where can people go to see more of your work?
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user4439524