animation history assignment
Part 1. Watch The Mad Scientist from 1941 and take notes on the following questions with short answers.
1) Compared to other Rotoscope characters you've seen, what do you think of these character designs and performances? Are they engaging? Are they sympathetic? Why or why not?
2) Cinematically, does this short remind you of other film genres? Other animated films? Or other directors? Give examples.
3) What are some cinematic elements used for the Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action? Consider camera angles and movement, character performance, music, color scheme, etc. Give examples for two or three of the listed plot points.
4) Why do you think Paramount studios thought Superman and this style of animation could be used for American propaganda?
You will be assigned into a group to discuss one or two of these questions. Choose a Speaker(s) and Note Taker. The Note Taker will write down the names of the members of the group, then jot down the general points made as you discuss the questions, then turn that in. The Speaker will report back to the class. As a group, be sure to come up with specific examples for each question, including time stamp!
Part 2. With this same group, you will watch Secret Agent (1934). At this point, Paramount had taken complete control of Fleischer Studios (even renaming it) and complete creative control over the Superman shorts. The shorts became more about propaganda than entertainment. With your group, discuss the following question. Choose a different Speaker to report back, again with specific examples (time stamp).
1. Compare and contrast the short cinematically to The Mad Scientist. What are some major differences in terms of cinematography and design? What are some similarities? Is it as strong in quality? Why or why not?
2. Compare and contrast the storytelling and content. Are the characters any different from The Mad Scientist? Where is the Propaganda? What is the agenda in the short? How do they carry out? What are some cinematic and artistic tools used specifically to sway the audience to this agenda?
the two cartoons: