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33. Follow

How we let an idea just do its thing. Video rumination for members; for all, lines for an exorcism.

Get an image. Follow an object. Follow the thing to see where it will take you—or follow the rhythm. But don’t try to wrest meaning from it. If you think too much, you’re f*cked.

Colm Tóibín


The best way I can describe how I go about things—in the street, with people, at work—is, intuitively. I spend a lot of time trying to hone and better understand my intuition, so that I can leverage it more effectively.

Still, I’m astounded at how easily and constantly I get in my own way, resisting instinct, fighting what looks like the truth because, e.g., one of my preconceived notions finds it inconvenient.

The past few weeks I dubiously followed a rhythm that has, despite everything, elbowed its way forward. I humored it, let surface a script and a storyboard, then stood back, surprised.

At any rate, it’s here. Every time instinctual insistence wins out over the part of me drawing breath to protest, it feels like another part of me gleefully closing a door on it: Too late!


News: festival flurry

Studio visit for members: storyboarding and emotions

A glimpse for everyone: lines for an exorcism

Provisions: notably watched and read

NYC gem: a spectacular view

Quick recap: I premiered an animated short this past May, after documenting its making in this newsletter for about a year. Now the process is starting all over again! You’re seeing my next film come to life; the topic I’m exploring is the Korean War and memory. This newsletter is above all about PROCESS; shining a light on the thankless period between the beginning and the end of making things. I hope you’ll be able to share a sense of accomplishment with me when the film is finished.


My last animated short Chamoe (trailer) has been accepted to its third festival (NYC again, in September). Programming is in progress, stay tuned.

The screening of Crossings (trailer) at AAIFF went well! Here’s another Forbes article about the film. Again: more about my experience in North Korea (article).

At a post-screening Q&A, center left.

Chamoe also just screened at BAM and it was wild seeing it on a big screen. I’ll share more in the next issue.

Studio visit

Members, enjoy a 5 min video (above) of what I’ve been up to in the Studio:

Recap of last visit 00:39

How I used a bird’s eye view 01:26

To iterate on a script 01:43

Break it out into scenes 01:50

Rough out a storyboard 02:20

Plus, peek over my shoulder at:

Photos from North Korea 03:10


A glimpse

Everyone, let’s zoom in on a specific thing from the past two weeks!

I’ve been regularly working on “vignettes,” or micro sequences. They allow me to keep animating while I gear up for the next film. They also spark ideas, and can be filed away for later.

Last week I explored stylized movements of the hand inspired by salpuri, a Korean tradition. A dancer performs an exorcism in a shamanic ritual to largely improvisational music with flute and a kind of Korean drum. It’s said to expel evil spirits but for me it’s an expression of collective sorrow, acceptance, and, if not quite resolution, sublimation.

I started out in Photoshop to play with color and texture. The result of these exercises will be a treat waiting for me after drawing lines.

A stylized posture:


A watercolor blend in the background and a single brush highlight/shadow add dimensionality. 

An overlay stroke as a visual echo:

Finally, I switched over to TV Paint to draw lines. I don’t have the greatest handle on anatomy or volume, and am clumsy at this kind of drawing—but I brute-forced it through cluelessness and it’s somehow getting somewhere. Process at mixed speed:

I refined keys and broke the sequence down some, the first 1.5 seconds (36 frames) is the most developed:

A lot has to happen before a project can even begin. So far, it’s been exciting to chase curiosity and see where it leads.

Until next time.

Looking for more?

Other issues you might find interesting from the archive:


Creating a “style primer

Fine art prints but make it practical

Introducing video for TLB (and how we hold terror with kindness)

Members, read on for Provisions—what I’ve been taking in to refuel creatively and otherwise—plus a NYC gem. The full 5 min header video is also for you, hope you enjoy ❤️

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Coleen Baik