Filmmaker: Matthew McGuigan

Poster for Matthew’s new film The Forlorn Piscator.

Matthew McGuigan is an aspiring filmmaker from Draperstown. Matthew specialises in stop-motion animation. He told the Jumble Magazine all about his film-making process, Star Wars, bass guitar, and his new short film The Forlorn Piscator.

My filmmaking style, in terms of animation, is quite erratic. I  go for a blend between overly cartoonish, kind of like Robot Chicken (seen in one of my short films, Dodge),  and something very smooth and operatic like The Little Prince. I use an abundance of close-up shots to showcase a character’s emotion (or lack of), I love how they allow me to showcase a character’s expression. I think my animating style is quite muddy and messy; there are a lot of visual issues with how characters move in my animations, almost like it’s imperfect. However, it’s something that I feel looks cool and gives the shorts an endearing feel.

One of the reasons I got into creating short films over ten years ago was Star Wars, I owe a lot to George Lucas. As a child, I was always interested in the stories that he created within the Star Wars film series, but also those set outside the films through the comic books and video games. I thought it was so cool that his universe had a life of possibilities. When I first started I would actually just recreate scenes from Star Wars films in Lego (which were pretty bad!)

YouTube was my go to for seeing what other people could create. Channels such as “MICHAELHICKOXFilms”, “blobstudios” and “forrestfire101” were always in circulation when I was making animations, as I would try and replicate what they were doing, but try to add my own twist to it.

The lock down has given me extra time to work on things. I completed my university final project, which is a nearly nine-minute long stop-motion animation. It’s also given me time to think over new ideas and revisit some older ones,  which were put on the back burner before I began to shoot my final project. Now that that project is completed, I’ve restarted work on a silly meme animation that should probably be done in less than two weeks. It comes from a really obscure Star Wars reference, but when it’s done I think people will get a laugh or two out of it.

I came up with a weekly challenge during the lock down, (but put it on hold due to the university project) where I would write, animate and edit a completely new stop-motion short. The objective was to have each short differ from the last, but also to test myself to see what sort of ideas I could come up with and have by the weekend. This is something I’ll most likely do in August or September, once I get a few other projects out of the way. It should be fun to see if I succeed.

The lock down has allowed me to put more time into practising bass guitar, which is something I tried picking up before Christmas but put down due to having too much work to do (and being lazy). I’ve been just trying to read online tablature and and trying to play some of my favourite basslines from bands like Faith No More, Duran Duran, and Black Sabbath.

My latest stop-motion animation, The Forlorn Piscator, is my university final year project and a film that I am very proud of. It follows a fisherman who was once the talk of the town, now on hard times, trying to recapture his youth by setting out on a mission to catch the elusive Golden Tigerfish.

The reason I made this short film as my final university project is that I wanted to show my filmmaking strengths, which I feel lie more with stop-motion animation than the likes of live-action. It’s also been a while since I’ve fully dedicated myself towards an animated project, and having a deadline actually really helped with seeing it come to fruition.

You can find more of Matthew’s work on his YouTube Channel, Vimeo, and  Instagram. Matthew also set up a blog for The Forlorn Piscator, that documents the short films production.


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