24 Frames: “Frankenstein in Training” by Marisol Penry

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When I first started working on this project, I was terrified. I had never really executed something that was entirely my own vision. I’ve almost always been just a writer or a script supervisor. The one time I did direct, I mainly stuck with just the acting and scripting side of things and let my DP take care of the camerawork and editing. Doing an entire project on my own would be a challenge, and I tried to rise to it as well as I could.

I went through several ideas before settling on the one portrayed in this project. My original idea involved a girl dying and falling in love with death. I bought a skeleton for the idea and really enjoyed playing with it and using it to take funny pictures. After a little time, I realized that what I really wanted to do was something with a darkly comedic edge that would allow me to play around with anthropomorphic beings. I remembered that I had some old dolls that I hadn’t played with in a while, and I put them to work in making my tale.

My goal with this was to make a grungy version of the last few scenes of Toy Story, in which a kid named Sid “tortures” his toys and faces the consequences. I mixed in some blood and actual torture to make the story a little more like a modern version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was another major influence.

While I thoroughly enjoyed coming up with the idea, the creation process was quite grueling at times. It was difficult getting the dolls to stay in the position I wanted them in while I messed with my camera. There were several moments where I would get the camera in focus only to have the dolls completely topple over, and I would have to start over. Keeping the bandages on the dolls was also a challenge. The tape and tacky used to secure them kept lifting, making the process even more difficult.

Despite all of these setbacks, I believe I still put out a fairly good project. It’s not perfect, but it’s something I’m proud of. It’s a fun, home video gothic piece that I enjoyed making.

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