'Trashed' talk with Rachel Clemente


"The raccoon's name is Rocko, and the guy's name is Guy," Rachel Clemente (B.F.A., animation) says of the adorable adversaries in her animated film "Trashed." A native of Rowlett, Texas, Clemente won't debut her completed short until next year — but what better time to discuss artistic process than the present?

SCAD: What is your film about?

Rachel Clemente: "Trashed" is the story of a hunter who lives in a secluded cabin and owns a rusty old truck. He has a problem with a raccoon who knocks over his trash and leaves it strewn across his yard, so he decides to hunt the raccoon. It's a Wile E. Coyote type pursuit, inspired by my love of Looney Tunes cartoons. The logline is "Man becomes beast, beast becomes man!"

SCAD: Which key classes led to the creation of "Trashed"?

RC: I took 3-D Quadruped Animation with Scott Wright, where we learned to animate animals and how walking looks different than jogging or trotting. After I took Quadruped, I wanted to create an animation with an animal who would go from two legs to four legs and back, and settled on a raccoon.

I'd originally conceived of "Trashed" as being two minutes long, but now, in my Senior Animation Project class, my professor Jan Carlee suggested it might run better as a fast-paced 30-second film. Cutting it down allows the gags to have a domino effect.

I should mention another class called Principles of Screen Design, where we looked through the Don Bluth Collection of Animation, an incredible archive here at SCAD that includes original animation cels, drawings and storyboards. My favorite Don Bluth film is "Anastasia." Seeing the concept art and process work was really helpful, realizing how the characters changed over time. The final product is amazing but it's cool to see how they got there. It takes time, and requires a team.

SCAD: How have you assembled your "Trashed" team?

RC: I found out that if you ask for a lot, students usually don't have time. But if you ask for help with individual tasks, like, "Hey, I need someone to rig my character" you'll find someone willing to help. I'm getting "Trashed" done piece by piece. I've had some incredible collaborators on the film, including my character designer Andy Arteaga (B.F.A., animation), my layout artist Jiazhen Shu (B.F.A., animation), and Caitlin Schrader (B.F.A., animation), who created beautiful production paintings.

There's also a SCAD alumna who I've never met who has inspired me. I watched a series of videos where Michelle Poler (B.F.A., advertising, 2011; B.A., graphic design, 2011) faced her fears for 100 days. I love her! I started my own list of fears I had to face. I cut my hair. I held some snakes. I got a job so I could address my fear of public speaking. I'm now a daytime tour guide at the Sorrel-Weed House here in Savannah. That experience with public speaking has inspired me to become an art teacher someday. Teaching high school students who want to pursue art careers is valuable. I can speak about my SCAD experience and let them know that creative careers are achievable. Who knows, I might even show them "Trashed"!

Camille Gbaguidi's baseline power


From the hallowed clay of Berlin's Rot-Weiss Tennis Club to the concrete courts of Savannah's Bacon Park, SCAD women's tennis #1 and German national Camille Gbaguidi (buh-GHEE-dee) puts power into play.

This weekend the defending NAIA national singles champion travels to Key Biscayne, Florida with co-captain Paige Murdock and the Lady Bees tennis team to compete for the Sun Conference Championship. On-court accolades are only part of her story, as the architecture major explains: "At SCAD I can pursue both a really high level of tennis and a really high level of academics."

"Whether in tennis or architecture, Camille is intrinsically motivated to achieve," remarks Scott R. Singeisen, SCAD professor of urban design and architecture. "Her work is always inventive, rigorous, and striving to move the disciplinary conversation forward."

She's also a fun conversationalist.

SCAD: How did you create your "arTchitecture" wearable headpiece?

CAMILLE GBAGUIDI: Two quarters ago, I had Architecture Design Studio with Professor Singeisen, who really wants to push conceptual boundaries. We had to create a "spectarium," a space where you gaze and are gazed upon. One project was based on the film "The Royal Tenenbaums." We drew characters out of a hat, and I selected Margot, and the platonic object I got was a sphere.

I thought, how do I make Margot's personality translate to a sphere? Margot is really isolated at the beginning of the film, but tries to open up and gives hints of her feelings. I had an idea about "isolated exposure." I designed a pavilion that would interact with the humans outside it, with floating rings that move to create opaqueness or transparency. After the quarter was over, I was with friends talking about the piece and one said: "Why don't you wear it on your head?"

SCAD: You made the "Margot" crown in your own time?

GBAGUIDI: Yes, the hat I just made for myself. I built the file in Rhino, made the sphere, the cut-outs and extrusions. I went online and found dreamcatchers that had rings the diameter I needed. I worked in the wood shop and laser cut the files, 72 plates. The red pieces are wood, the other acrylic glass. I painted and sanded and painted and sanded, then put it all together. What I tried to do in class as a pavilion design actually worked on a smaller scale on my head.

SCAD: What's it like to wear?

GBAGUIDI: You feel exposed because you know everybody sees you — it's fire truck red! Yet you felt isolated, only seeing through slots on the side. I made a friend wear it around her neck, that looked great.

SCAD: How do the joy and intensity of your tennis game correlate to your academic work?

GBAGUIDI: Not a lot of schools allow you to study architecture while being an athlete, because it's such a tough profession to learn. SCAD allows me to do that, so it made my decision to come here clear. I love Savannah, I love studying architecture at SCAD, and I love being part of the SCAD tennis program. The team is family, the girls are awesome. Our goal is to win the national championship. This is our year! But if we weren't having fun pursuing our goals I don't think we'd be as successful.

Body as concept: prosthetics to cosplay


For millennia, diverse cultures around the world have used elaborate costuming to explore the transformation of body and identity. This year, the SCAD Atlanta course "Body as Concept: Prosthetics to Cosplay" examined current trends surrounding this evolving phenomenon.

Cosplay, a portmanteau of the words "costume play," is a type of performance art where participants, called cosplayers, wear costumes and accessories to represent specific characters most often drawn from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. "Body as Concept," taught by SCAD chair of sculpture Susan Krause, is a new fine arts elective for SCAD Atlanta students who have taken the prerequisite sculpture course, "Ideas Taking Shape: Malleable Media and Multiples."

"In cosplay you are embodying something that already exists, not your own character per se," explained Krause. "For this course, students researched specific characters, and analyzed colors, textures and forms in order to aptly assess the right materials and processes needed to emulate something. It's very similar to figure modeling or observational drawing. However, here you're doing it with materials."

Students in the class researched and created costuming pieces, including props, garments, headdresses, prosthetics and facial elements, and analyzed the competitive aspects of the cosplay convention circuit. Additionally, students assessed career opportunities in related industries including gaming, animation and film and television.

Recently reimagined, SCAD's sculpture program prepares students for a variety of careers, including prosthetic artists, mold-making specialists, 3-D computer modelers, toy designers and curators. Sculpture students work in one of the finest sculpture studios in higher education, the 16,700-square-foot ACA Sculpture Studio at SCAD. Designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, the expansive space houses a comprehensive wood and metal shop, 3-D printing technology, a foundry for bronze and stainless steel, support equipment, and a studio and gallery.

The end result of this fantastical 300 level course, "Body as Concept: Prosthetics to Cosplay," can be experienced through these talented Bees' final presentations, seen below. "Game of Thrones," anyone?{[carousel]-[197826]}

Gayle Fichtinger illuminates Rome's great sculptor


"They say Rome was his city, and it really was," SCAD professor of foundation studies Gayle Fichtinger declared, referring to the preternaturally prolific 17th century Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680). "Around every corner there's another Bernini."

Fichtinger, herself an accomplished sculptor and ceramicist, delivered her lecture "Following Bernini's Terracotta Angels to Rome" in SCAD's Alexander Hall, detailing her recent trip to Italy's capital to investigate the Baroque master's work. Facilitated by a SCAD Presidential Fellowship for Faculty Development, Fichtinger's inquiry had its roots in her own academic experience.

"From Survey of Western Art, I remember Bernini's 'Ecstasy of Saint Teresa' the most," Fichtinger said. "It was very theatrical and didn't really appeal to me – I was more of a Renaissance person. But the more I looked at Bernini's work in recent years, I realized it was much more dynamic than Renaissance work, so much about light and narrative and the moment of something happening."

Having apprenticed in the workshop of his father, Mannerist sculptor Pietro Bernini, the prodigal Gian was operating his own workshop by the time he was 22. He earned commissions from religious patrons including Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who prized the dramatic naturalism of his sculptures. Bernini continued to create until completing his final commission at age 80, still driven by his desire to have his marble sculptures renderred "pliable as wax."

Fichtinger illustrated her insights with striking snapshots she and her husband Paul took during their trip. These included images of Ponte Sant'Angelo, the Tiber-spanning bridge adorned with sculptures of angels, as well as the travertine spiral staircase inside the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the distinctive water-supping bees of the Fontana delle Api.

"We discovered things every step of the way," Fichtinger recounted of their wayfaring week. "The travel guides, the research I'd done, the lists didn't include everything. We'd arrive at another location and it was, 'There's another Bernini in here!'"

Keen to impart the lessons from Bernini's career to SCAD students, Fichtinger delineated Bernini's process, from initial charcoal sketches, to bozzetti, modelli and modelli grande, emphasizing the versioning of work in pursuit of an ideal. She quoted Bernini himself from the book "Bernini: Sculpting in Clay" (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012):

"You need to draw from your eye, that is imprint everything in your mind and always make sketches and drawings from your different ideas. Judge them and consider their errors against ancient and modern works. Always preserve that idea even in the most elaborately worked things and contemplate the many prints in order to see the variation within the idea."

Fichtinger's lecture was a masterclass in maintaining a conversational tone when speaking from a fount of deep knowledge. Ottimo lavoro, professore!

Animal logic: SCADFILM takes a tour on the wild side


Shelby the Falcon. Titus the Rottweiler. Apollo the African Pied Crow. Mangum the European Eagle Owl.

These are just a few of the four-legged and two-winged screen stars that a group of industry professionals met during a recent SCADFILM tour of Welcome Lake Movie Ranch in Newnan, GA.

Over the years, birds, dogs, horses and other animals trained at Welcome Lake have amassed more than 300 screen credits, including appearances in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and the upcoming “Wolverine 3,” as well as on hit TV shows “True Detective,” “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead.”

The excursion to Welcome Lake is a prime example of the many unique educational opportunities afforded by SCADFILM. Participants learned how to ensure a professional-grade production environment for animal actors — while also having a hoot.

The Welcome Lake session covered best practices: Filmmakers must retain proper insurance, meet specific safety standards, and have professional trainers on set at all times. Two trainers are required for shots involving an animal moving from one point to another. Trainers require scripts and story boards well in advance, particularly when specialized preparation is required.

“We’ll break a script down,” said Sid Yost, tour guide and owner of Welcome Lake. “We’re not just animal trainers, we’re also coordinators. We can advise the director and the A.D. staff on a particular shot, how we would shoot it, how we’ll train to set it up.”

Through an ongoing series of sessions like the one at Welcome Lake, along with workshops, screenings, master classes and certification courses, SCADFILM educates creative professionals to become sought-after “above the line” crew members. SCAD students have the opportunity to participate in these high-end technical workshops and unrivaled networking opportunities for free or at a discounted rate.

SCADFILM is a sustainable, outcome-oriented initiative designed to educate and support entertainment professionals and advance the film world on an international scale. The need for skilled creative professionals outside traditional production hubs is increasing along with the rise in the number of film and TV productions taking place in states such as Georgia. In anticipation of this increased demand for talent, the university launched SCADFILM to offer students and professionals from around the world an unrivaled source of industry knowledge, fluency and career preparation. Ultimately, the program will expand the available pool of top-rate creative professionals available to production companies working in these burgeoning markets.

In August, SCADFILM hosted a five-day certification course in Avid Media Composer version 8.6. SCAD Professor Toby Yoshimura, a TV veteran whose credits include “Saturday Night Live” and “The Amazing Race,” led participants through the editing software, a platform used to edit every Oscar-winning film of the past three years.

All 11 participants passed the certification, immediately doubling the number of certified Avid editors available for hire in Atlanta. This sizable increase in Georgia’s pool of certified Avid editors will make it easier for local production companies to find and hire more locally-based workers, further strengthening the state’s $7 billion film industry.

And that’s a number that might even turn the head of Magnum the Owl.

Be on the lookout for several sessions SCADFILM is hosting this month, including:

  • The Secrets to a Strong First Draft (Sept. 16-19): An intensive screenwriting masterclass taught by Oscar-nominated writer Kim Krizan, whose credits include “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.” Participants will take their projects from concept to a first draft as they learn about story and character development, dialogue writing and scene construction. Sign up here.
  • Screening of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (Sept. 23): A screening at SCADshow of the 80s teen comedy classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," followed by a Q-and-A session with director Amy Heckerling. Purchase tickets here.
  • Scales, Slime and Suckers (Oct. 6): After the previous special effects makeup workshop sold out within two weeks, SCADFILM is planning a special encore for October. For this session, veteran makeup artist Ondie Daniel will offer filmmakers helpful tips to recognize professional SFX makeup artists. SCADFILM attendees will also have the opportunity to flex their creative muscles by attempting to replicate the makeup techniques. RSVP here.

Please visit SCADFILM.com or email scadfilm@scad.edu for more information.

Talkin’ dialogue: A Writers’ Studio workshop


“Consider what you want to say to whom, and how you can say that most effectively,” explained SCAD writing consultant Carrie Nelson. “When you’re writing dialogue, you don’t need to include every word of a conversation.”

On Friday, July 29, 2016, Nelson conducted her workshop "Writing Effective Dialogue" as part of the SCAD Writers’ Studio Summer Workshops series. Nestled in a corner of the award-winning Jen Library, the studio was quiet except for the low hum of the air conditioner as Nelson addressed the attendees directly: “The most valuable resource for learning how to write dialogue is listening to the way people talk. When Nabokov was writing ‘Lolita’ he used to sit behind girls on the bus to hear their conversations. As if the book wasn’t already creepy enough!” Everyone laughed.

"Writing Effective Dialogue" is an important skill for students in a variety of SCAD majors, including dramatic writing, cinema studies, film and television, writing, performing arts and sequential art. This workshop focused on the form and function of dialogue, while clarifying how the conventions of dialogue differ depending on genre. As Nelson said, dialogue in a screenplay has different requirements than dialogue in fiction or comic books, but all writers should consider each character’s distinct voice, as well as how the dialogue can move the plot forward. “You want dialogue to build,” she said, “but not be redundant.”

Without giving away all Nelson’s pointers, here are some basic guidelines for writing effective dialogue in any creative endeavor:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Ground your dialogue in the scene
  • Use dialogue tags (e.g., he said, she said) to avoid confusion
  • Instead of relying on adverbs or exclamation points, use word choice to convey emotion
  • Avoid writing phonetically in dialect or using long, grammatical sentences
  • Read your work aloud to check for pacing and flow

About the SCAD Writers’ Studio

The Writers’ Studio is located in Room 220, on the second floor of Jen Library at the corner of East Broughton and Abercorn streets. For more information on workshops geared toward SCAD students, faculty and staff, log in to MySCAD. Students seeking a one-on-one session with a writing consultant can make an appointment or stop in during drop-in hours daily until 5 p.m. Follow the Writers’ Studio on Facebook.

Taking queues from SCAD Themed Entertainment Design


Hey theme park fans: Ever bide time in a line that blew your mind?

While the idea may sound antithetical to the thrills of a corkscrew 'coaster, amusement parks are increasingly dedicated to making the waiting-to-board process a superlative experience. The Themed Entertainment Design (THED) program at SCAD is at the forefront of improved queue-line conceptualization, as illuminated in a brand new piece by industry-leading journalist Arthur Levine.

SCAD THED offers both a Master of Fine Arts degree and a minor concentration. Program alumni currently work across the industry, from show production to exhibit design, at companies including Walt Disney Imagineering, Herschend Entertainment (Dollywood, Silver Dollar City), and Universal Studios Theme Parks.

“Themed entertainment ultimately encompasses more than theme parks,” explains Gregory Beck, dean of the School of Entertainment Arts. “It includes resorts, hotels, museums, and visitor attractions, which can all involve lines. Our Queue Line Design class directly addresses the experience of waiting in line, and how it can ultimately enhance the guest experience.”

Next time you’re in line — whether at Disneyland or the DMV — think about how your time can become something sublime.  

Summer Swarm brings in the new Bees!


Summer Swarm is an optional orientation session for first-year incoming students enrolled for fall quarter in Savannah. The goals of Summer Swarm are simple: lower anxiety, introduce students to one another, and familiarize them with the SCAD facilities.

Over the course of two days, students rotate in small groups through orientation sessions. These sessions introduce them to SCAD’s resources and policies, including:

After checking in on a Thursday morning, incoming students and their families gather in Trustees Theater for a warm welcome to Savannah and SCAD.  Students then tour the facilities most commonly used by first-year students, and participate in a foundation studies demo class. One demo class introduces the basics of portrait-drawing with charcoal. While many students started by admitting doubts about their drawing skills, the demo class soon put them at ease.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Cassandra Emilianchik from Clermont, Florida. “The demo class helped relieve some of the stress over what classes will be like.”

New students’ biggest concern — besides math classes — is making friends. Summer Swarm’s answer is “First Night,” featuring games, snacks and live music at the Student Center. Afterwards, students spend their first night in a SCAD residence hall.

“I really enjoyed the night session,” Emilianchik said. “I got to meet people, hang out and make friends.”

So, how much of an advantage does attending Summer Swarm give first-year students?

“My freshman year, the people who did Summer Swarm seemed to have a leg up on everyone else,” said Elisabeth Pritchett (B.F.A. film and television), a current student and Summer Swarm orientation assistant. “They already knew people and were familiar with the campus.”

Other big benefits Pritchett sees students getting out of Summer Swarm are having their questions answered before starting classes and “being able to meet other people, and realizing that their anxieties aren’t only their own.”

The 2016 Summer Swarm season is over, but the new Bees are just getting started. They’ll buzz back for classes when Fall quarter starts September 12.

SCAD’s best and next shows at international furniture trade show


The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is the premiere trade show for fine interior design in the United States. Twenty furniture design students, along with program coordinator Fred Spector, represented SCAD at ICFF New York in May with a custom-built booth.

The SCAD exhibit at ICFF was designed by students in furniture design professor James Bazemore’s spring “Design Studio: Furniture for the Market” class. Their final design was a clean-cut combination of open and closed structures: a solid wall behind an angular, geometric wrapping platform fenced in by skeletal walls, the perfect pedestal to put SCAD student furniture design in the spotlight.

Some of the furniture on display came from collaborative projects created in the fall 2015 studio class taught by furniture design professor Sheila Edwards. The senior class worked with EcoMadera, a sustainable forestry company, to design products using sustainable woods.

ICFF features “What’s Best and What’s Next” in global contemporary design, luxury interiors and high-end furniture. Extraordinary styles by top international furniture brands and emerging new talent highlight unique furniture, accessories, lighting, outdoor furniture and more.

AT ICFF, the students gained feedback from industry professionals. They also received offers to buy or commission pieces on display, and networked with companies for internships and job opportunities. With the experience of how a trade show works from start to finish, these students are ready for the next step in their careers. They might even return to the exhibition as the next big names in interior design

5 Things I Learned at SCAD with Ariel Mael


It's no surprise students spend their whole time at SCAD learning and preparing for their creative careers, but learning goes beyond the classroom. We reached out to students across all disciplines and asked what they've learned during their time here. This week, our list comes from Ariel Mael (B.F.A., advertising).

  1. Volunteering at Career Fair as a freshman/sophomore will be tremendously helpful when it comes time for you to start applying for internships and jobs as a junior/senior.
  2. Being a student ambassador was one of the best decisions that I made as a freshman. I learned the campus better than most seniors and it really helped motivate me to maintain a high level of academic achievement. It also was a great experience in terms of networking, thanks to all of the events we had attended with many influential people.
  3. Apply for internships even if you don’t feel like your resumé or portfolio are strong enough. Sometimes companies see the potential that you may not see and are willing to help you grow.
  4. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to internship and job searching. Even though your dream may be to live in NYC, sometimes the most unlikely of places could end up exceeding your expectations.
  5. Don’t go into a group project thinking you can get away with doing nothing. In the real world, doing nothing gets you fired. In college, it gets you known as the person nobody wants to work with. Don’t blacklist yourself; do your part.