I started following this new blog for the movie ParaNorman. It’s by the company Laika who did Coraline back in 2009. But there’s just something about the way they’re advertising it that really kind of touches me. The blog is called #WeirdWins and while it focusses on advertising this quirky new film it also incorporates its viewers and fans in the videos. It’s kind of like they’re calling out to the weird kids and I think it goes beyond just this movie.
The movie is made by weird kids basically. All those kids that never “fit in.” And like the quote they posted, “We are the kids who got shoved into our gym lockers.” - Travis Knight, CEO of Laika.
Thought I’ve never been literally shoved into a locker (they were too small at my school), I know exactly what it is to be that kid. To lay it out I was one of the biggest weirdos at my school, if not the weirdest. I didn’t fit with any group, even with the kids that were considered weird. To make matters worse my name was Damian and I just happened to be attracted to things that were dark and creepy and other stuff kids my age just had no interest in. Heck, I didn’t even realize I was that weird at the time until I looked back on it and now I’ve just grown to accept it.
I was the kid in the back of the class who said nothing. Literally. I didn’t speak to anyone and if anyone talked to me I nodded or pantomimed or wrote it out on paper. I carried a sketchbook everywhere and wrote stories all day and studied the others from all the way across the room. I knew kids made fun of me but the truth was that I didn’t care all that much. I found my own niche in my own world. What makes me especially attracted to this ParaNorman calling is that it’s all based around art and my favorite form of animation, stop-motion. I fell in love with stop-motion as a kid because it unnerved me and attracted me. It started with those old Christmas cartoons, Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town, Jack Frost, etc then come and toss in Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride, and Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox. There’s just something so captivating about bringing objects to life. These things were created and now they’re springing them into action. Every move, every touch and they’re just so detailed it’s amazing. I could watch them a hundred times over and still be amazed every time.
I think that’s why I started dabbling with it myself. The pictures above are from my stop-motion experiments, mostly from high school. I was experimenting with puppet making and different styles and ways to go about it and I’d give myself rules like “Do this with under ten dollars in one month,” or, “Create this from only things around the house.” I don’t know exactly why I added the challenge but I loved it. Later years in high school as I made friends I was still the weird kid. People would be like, “Oh, cool could I see one of your puppets sometime?” and I’d just whip one out. They always seemed to be with me.
It paid off eventually. I won a national award from the Boston Globe Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for my ten minute animation. It made me feel important and noticed and people really did start to notice me. They would pop out and ask questions because I guess they played it for every art class. It was something truly amazing. I know I’m a little weird but I accept it now. Weird is different. Weird is great. Weird is absolutely amazing and to quote James from that giant peach, “Marvelous things will happen.”
With #weirdwins I feel like there are a bunch of people out there that are just like me and I can’t wait to get through school and learn as much as I can so I can be a part of it.