JAN 27: Jamie Caliri

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Jamie Caliri is a director whose recent animated films have garnered an Emmy and three Annie awards, among others. In 2015, Jamie directed the stop motion sequences of the soon-to-be-released The Little Prince. His short works include the sweeping end titles for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, the theatrically released spots for KCRW Los Angeles, and animated spots for United Airlines.Lemony Snicket Title Sequence

Jumping between animation to live action, Jamie took on music videos in the late ’90s including Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” and Morphine’s “Early to Bed”, which earned a Grammy nomination for best music video.

After 21 years of professionally directing commercials, music videos, and title sequences, Jamie is now concentrating his efforts on shooting broadcast and feature animation projects with Dragonframe software, for which he is creative director.

little prince 1littleprince-rosetunnelSHINS_04united 1lemony21

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20 thoughts on “JAN 27: Jamie Caliri

  1. Shang Song says:

    Very honored to see Jamie. As a matter of fact, I have seen “The Rifle’ s Spiral ” in China many years ago.,is one of the best stop motion animation I have ever seen.

    Very interesting ,I discuss Jamie’s work with Ning Xu in the evening, Ning is very fond of his works, especially the “dragon”. We can see that he is very fond of using paper, and Jamie’s work will have a very strong rhythm of the infection, the clever arrangement of the lens clips.
    About “The Rifle s Spiral”, I think it is a great work of art, rhythm and concept. Ning believes that this work is not the best technology, but the infinite imagination is an advantage.

    I am sorry that I can’t make a puppet, and I have almost never made a stop motion animation. But I’m lucky I can see more frames. I haven’t seen the “Little Prince”, and I look forward to seeing!

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  2. Joe Stucky says:

    Inspiring and phenomenal presentation by Jamie Caliri. A pleasure to see more of his work. A fantastic vision for design, and lighting. fun to hear about specific problem solving situations. A remarkable inventor and really helpful with those he collaborates with. Collaboration is important for animation generally, and I think this was made clear again through Jamie’s presentation. Thank you Jamie for this subtle reminder.

    I really found the use of paper for puppets to be a wonderful texture and medium. The imagery for The little Prince is so beautiful.

    He took the time to put on the Dragon Frame ‘Technician’ hat for us as well. Those tips and tricks are so useful. I know just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to Dragon Frame, but find it a pleasure to work with. There is a lot of useful things packed into this really great program.

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  3. Jane G. Kim says:

    Jamie Caliri’s lecture and explanation of all the behind the scenes of his works was thoroughly intriguing. Stop Motion is a beautiful medium that requires a lot of patience and wit. The examples for The Little Prince were all very aesthetically pleasing and knowing how they were all done made it more so. The whole team did an amazing job organizing how everything would look. Though I am a bit cautious of approaching stop motion myself (after having experience with it in class), I really respect people who still use the medium and hope that it will still stay in theaters!

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  4. David Nessl says:

    It was a big inspiration to see Jaimie’s work having been primarily grounded in paper cut out animation for the past year. His process and the way he pulls off using cut outs within the 3D, stop motion environment was radical. I now have more courage to continue using cut outs and not feel like I’m somehow lower on the totem pole of animation.

    When I first saw the Lemony Snicket title sequence I was oblivious to the fact that the animation was cut out style, using After Effects. During the seminar a light bulb went off, and I was taken back. My brain said, “Wow, his is exactly what we’ve been doing,” and I didn’t even notice. Partly because I’m usually off in my own world, and partly because Jaimie’s animation combined with one of my favorite composers must have hypnotized me.

    Can’t wait to see the Little Prince either. Maybe one day I’ll show up to an old shoe store and stumble in on the pre-production process of a masterpiece. If that ever happens, I’m really good at spraying cloth with paint, or molding tiny heads.

    I also loved the bird in the tumble-seed animation. Awesome use of light and even better that they shot it outside in that unique setting. I feel really inspired now so I’ll leave this comment by saying, “Bravo,” to Mr. Caliri.

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  5. HyeonJeong Cho says:

    First of all, thank you Jamie for Dragon frame. It really helps making animation way easier. Thank you!

    I got lots of inspiration from his presentation. Works itself were amazing, but I’m very inspired by his attitude towards the works. I could see his passion, perfectionism, and enjoyment from the way he talked and his work.

    I was so happy to see how he and his crews made the animations for United Airlines, because I really liked that pieces and wondered how it was made. The sizes of puppets are bit bigger then I thought, yet very beautiful!

    And, animating of the Little Prince, was just amazing! I was awed by the part the pilot carries the little prince and walks on a dessert. Slipping the steps on the sand was expressed, by puppets! It was just mind blowing. I can’t wait to see this film.

    Thank you for sharing your work, experience and thoughts. It was really good time, so happy that I was there!

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  6. Evan Tedlock says:

    I really enjoyed just sitting back and watching the show last week. Jamie prefaced his presentation well by stating his storytelling bent. Speaking about his storytelling goals was very insightful. Wanting the audience to ask questions, to have them wonder about what will happen next and then subverting their expectations are brilliant ways of captivating an audience. I personally have been captivated by Jamie’s work in the past. ‘Dragon’ was a widely shared and screened commercial amongst my animation clique a few years ago. To see how it was put together just adds to the mind boggling magic of it all. I myself am not much of a stopmotion animator but I can sure appreciate the time, dedication and crazy problem solving skills that it requires. Jamie is a master of his craft with a uniquely beautiful vision and I am more than thrilled that he continues to make influential work.

    The tinkerer side is something that I wish we would have gotten into a bit more. Animation as an artform requires a high level of technical prowes, more so than most other artforms. Jamie seems to have taken this to another level by becoming a technical developer and an integral part of current animation practices. By his need and ingenuity he has developed animation tools that are quickly becoming standards in education as well as the professional world. I wish he would have gone into more depth about how he arrived at this dual practice of animation director/ technical developer. I always find myself with the best questions about four hours after the lectures end.

    In all, it was a fun evening and I really enjoyed Jamie’s ability to share with such warmth and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see ‘Le Petit Prince’.

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  7. ZOEY says:

    Super fantastic! It took me several days to digest powerful magic explosion from Jamie Caliri. I was totally amazed and overwhelmed by his presentation and great talent! His enthusiastic spirit and determination in making animation with physical method demonstrates another possibility under the era of CG. Especially for the part he talked about physical solving during the process, I understood that the main factor to achieve goal is nothing about techniques but creative and innovative thinking process. So that’s also the reason why he can create DRAGONFRAME software with his brother. From the example of the commercial piece for united airlines, the piece dragonframe showed outstanding ideas of changing camera’s angle, fire’s movement, and transition between table and shield.
    Moreover, he shared some practical dimensions to deal with customers and producers which are really informative and neat. He mentioned that picking the first shot is the most important thing to get everything starts in a right way for convincing others with his “magic” so that he can make own final artistic judgement without too many obstacles from others. To some degree, it’s really the most significant part to create high quality and delicate commercial works- the alloy of experimental artistic scenes with commercial demands.

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  8. Katie Smith says:

    Boy what a great presentation and lecture by Jamie Caliri. His work is astounding, I think all of us left the theater that night feeling inspired and blown away. One of my favorite aspects of Jamie’s work is how he treats it like a puzzle to be solved, and does so in such an appealing and creative manner. One of my favorite aspects of stop motion is that problem solving portion of it, which is something I wish we had a little more time to do with our own projects. I really find it inspiring how he’ll take on a project and make sure it’s executed to his liking, even if it means redoing portions or taking on extra work to get it right. I was already excited to see the Little Prince when it comes out this spring, but now I’m looking forward to it even more.

    I also was so impressed with seeing his first rendition of Dragonframe (when he was working on the United commercials), and how it has become such an incredibly useful and amazing software. Thank you again, Jamie, for taking the time to come in and speak with us!

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  9. Erik Dumas says:

    Jamie’s work is truly inspiring stuff. His dedication to quality and achieving his vision is admirable, and I hope that everyone at the seminar was as inspired to do the same in their own work as I was.

    Although I’m not a stop motion animator, I really appreciate the beautiful designs and movement in his work. even more importantly though, I appreciate the level of creative problem solving that’s required with stop motion.

    I’m incredibly excited to see The Little Prince, and I hope I get to see more of Jamie Caliri’s work in the future!

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  10. Sagar Ramesh says:

    Really enjoyed Jamie Caliri’s presentation last week! For the past few years, I’ve been captivated by Google’s Material Design department, and its commitment to designing with physical materials before developing any assets in Photoshop or Illustrator. Jamie’s presentation and commitment to stop motion in an age of CG reminded me how valuable physical methods are in understanding authentic movement, weight, and other critical aspects of animation. I loved that he would show us a piece of his work so that we could appreciate it in its entirety, and then go back over each part and explain his thought process and method. It’s always a treat to hear the artist himself talk about the tricks, struggles, and vision associated with each piece.

    It was also inspiring to see Jamie present himself as an artist, designer, and inventor. His reasoning for creating Dragonframe reminded of Mark Zuckerberg’s reasoning for building the first version of Facebook; he identified a problem in his workflow that could be solved by combining two isolated developments in technology, and the only remedy was to build the solution.

    Thanks for coming in, Jamie! Looking forward to seeing ‘Le Petit Prince,’ and really understanding the work that went into it.

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  11. Kun Xia says:

    Jamie Caliri’s presentation was very inspiring. I really like the opening sequence of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Those paper texture are elegant and unique. In the animation, each puppet has limited joint, but in the animation they really seams alive, and the composition is another factor that attract me. I really admired that Jamie can merge art into the commercial that well. Stop motion animation is a really powerful medium that binging inanimate objects to life. I think there is some magical happens about physically touching the objects to immerse oneself into one’s work. Stop motion has its own charm that has led artists to choose it for stylistic reasons. As the object move in small increments between individual photographed frames, magic happens and give the stop motion animation a handcrafted feel, and I think that is valuable. Very excited about Jamie’s future work.

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  12. yuyustudio says:

    Jamie Caliri is one of my favorite stop motion directors. His works are very unique and the stories stand by themselves perfectly. I love all the paper texture in his films and the exquisite performance. Stop motion sometimes needs a lot of experiments to know what will be like in the result, and it takes time. Jamie Caliri did very well on that, too. He is a great leader and storyteller who let the team work on all the trying and built up many stunning films.

    In the lecture, he almost presented all the things I want to know about his films. Including how the perfect hands made and which film inspired him to make the Dragonframe. This software indeed helps a lot for us doing stop motion. He may not the only one who comes up with the idea to make a software for stop motion, but he is the one who actually did it. I enjoyed this seminar and just want to sit there quietly and listen. Thanks for the great speech. And it is also very nice that he can stay for our further questions and teach us some useful function in Dragonframe after the lecture.

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  13. Bryan Lee says:

    I was really blown away by the works done by Jamie Caliri. All of his works seem to be put together meticulously with heavy attention to detail. He stated the importance of composition and lighting in his works and each shot looked extremely well crafted and designed. I especially enjoyed the inside perspective of his work flow and how being a stop motion/ paper animator had as much to do as being an artist as it did an inventor. It was a inspiring experience to hear how Caliri used unique problem solving in order to create certain elements in his stop-motion films to create wonderful effects and animation.

    Thanks for coming to talk in class! It was a great opportunity to get a preview of life in the industry and also to see how years of work, knowledge, connections helped you produce the brilliant pieces you’ve made and will continue to make over the years!

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  14. Okike Franklin says:

    First off, it was amazing to be in front of the brain behind Dragon Frame. It was like standing side by side with Bill gates without bodyguards shoving their walkie talkies in your face!
    Although I’m not into stop motion, I have used the tool in Lisa’s class and it’s pretty nifty.
    It was minding blowing to also find out he was Lisa’s colleague! I was scheming up a clever question about them as individuals not artists in school but I had a Brain fart!! the whole seminar was trippy, especially when Lisa said “look around”, I did so and saw a couple of first years !! I remember saying to myself “Dam what if HyeonJeong or Katie or Eric or Joe made the next animation tool and we’re all in this same room years later giving a seminar ?” then I was like “pppss!! I’ll get that software package for free no doubt!'”.
    For me, it was really nice and unique to see how humble and easy going Jamie was!! I honestly thought he was bluffing about seeing our stop motion lab until I saw the crowd moving and I was dumbfounded!!
    I started paying attention to our industry last year and I keep finding out one interesting fact : its really really small.
    Jamie and I share a mutual friend who is simply extraordinary!!!

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  15. Yingzong Xin says:

    Jamie Caliri is really an amazing stop-motion artist . I enjoyed his presentation very much. He has been always one of my favourite director. The paper texture in are elegant and neat, also cheap. He really did a good job to create such an astounding world by only using paper. The tricks he gave us of how to make a sense more realistic were informative . And it’s also interesting to know that during the process of stop-motion shooting , the scale of the puppets can be different size.
    For me, the most thoughtful part of how he loves his work and his enthusiastic spirit in his animation effects the audiences really deeply . That makes his films so beautiful.
    And also, Dragon Frame is such a useful software, thank you Jamie Caliri!

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  16. Amir Arzanian says:

    I remember 9 years ago I was part of a team of stop motion and we were really confused about choosing a software to make stop motion animation. By that time there was no software for animating stop motion. It was surprising for me to see for one of the major animation technics there was no software. Now when I use Dragonframe I am really grateful of its creator because I experienced difficulties of making animation before Dragonframe. It was an honor to meet the Jamie Caliri the brain behind the Dragonframe. He was so humble about making this software. Actually beside his inspirational lecture his personality influenced me. Specifically when he was telling the story about receiving a huge money for a little task and devoting the same money for extra improving the project. He told other stories about his projects that to me reflected his manner of professionalism in his work. It was amazing to know how concern he was about every detail of his work in different projects.
    The Little Prince pictures looked fantastic I am looking forward to see the result of their efforts.

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  17. Jing Huang says:

    Jamie is an amazing stop-motion artist. His passion on stop-motion let me know the potential of stop-motion. His presentation has abundant details covered all fields I want to know about stop-motion. I have worked on stop-motion projects in last semester and in my undergraduate university, I know that it always takes time to do some experiments and test of the movement of characters. It’s hard to make the movement articulated as 2-D or 3-D animation. But in Jamie’s work, I can tell, it’s even more smooth than 2-D and 3-D. I remember the most is that music video, it surprised me that how smooth can stop-motion be. And I like the character design, they are impressed me a lot.

    I remember the small studio where they make the Little Prince, I’m surprised that it used to be a shoe store, it’s so funny. I always thought that the beautiful commercial films must be made in fancy studio house, but it was my mistake. Beautiful things always come from people’s mind but not fancy house.

    Thanks to Jamie for DragonFrame, it helps a lot when we make stop-motion. Jamie’s talent make artist’s work easier. I learned a lot from his presentation, looking forward his next work, thanks again!

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  18. Min Shi says:

    It was a really inspiring and stunning presentation by Jamie Caliri.

    He stated from inspiration to working process even to details and working atmosphere of his work. I really appreciate how specific he explained his working process, the process of solving lighting and physical movements obstacles. He keeps his work in a very natural an organic way which I like it so much, maintaining the paper texture and organic color. And the transition that he made in ‘Dragon’ is stunning, the way he move around camera and play around with composition and depth of field really makes his work three dimensional.

    The lighting of ‘Le Petit Prince’ is stunning. When I first saw the film footage, I was shocked and wondering how he can kept the lighting so natural and vivid.When he showed us the images of puppet testing and the lighting references, I was shocked again. I would say that it is not actually a complicated method, but from his method, i can feel how a real artist get involved into his work.

    Looking forward to see his future work!

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  19. Lucia Masuko says:

    I was very honored to meet Jamie Caliri.
    I remember when I was in high school, I was in Boston, I saw the movie Lemony …
    I was so into the movie, and went to theaters to see the movie again and again. One the favorite part of the movie was the animation of end credit.

    His works are just amazing. His animations are very delicate and beautiful.

    I personally loved the works he did in Calarts. I would be very happy if he directs a live action film.

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  20. Megan Simon says:

    Wow, what an incredible lecture. To meet the man who made dragon frame!! *holds back desire to squeel*. Ok, ok – I have to contain my excitement and talk like I’m a serious grad student making insightful comments.

    IT WAS AMAZING!

    Jaimie Caliri is a true pioneer in animation. From creating new tools for traditional animators, to his incredible work. I was blown away by Le Petit Prince. I CAN NOT wait to see this movie, and because I haven’t seen it yet I won’t talk about it too much.

    What I have seen, and read, is Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. What I found truly inspiring about this title screen was how Jamie Caliri discussed storytelling in animation. To hide and reveal surprises to keep your audiences interest. Yet it wasn’t just the surprises that kept the title screen interesting, but the lowering and raising of expectations in the audience, and the fluidity of the movements and camera angels. I think Jaimie Caliri has truly proven himself as an innovator and inventor. He has caused me to be aware of the invention side of art and animation. Art is about problem solving, and that comes in many forms. It was really inspiring to hear about the number of problems Caliri ran into when creating his works, and how he solved the problem with new techniques and ideas. It made me want to think about my projects less in the confines of what I have seen, and think more about how I myself would solve that problem to get the results I want. The largest problems many filmmakers face is how to keep the audience both interested in the film and able to understand it. I think the concept of hiding and revealing helps simplify how suspense and reveal works. I personally have been thinking about his wisdom a lot in my production 1 assignment, and I will look back and be inspired by this talk many years to come.

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