“Hello there, I’m a wizard, but I only do dumb spells about ducks.” So begins “The Silly Duck Wizard,” a student summer film and our latest pick for the blog.

Engrossed in stop motion since high school, second year animation student at Sheridan College, Terry Ibele got to use the college’s stop motion studio space to make whatever he could dream up. Before this point he’d only gotten to work with clay. “I had never worked with rigs, armatures, lights, or stop motion software before, so I started by doing some tests (pipecleaner cat, pipecleaner robot, dancing dude, and axolotl jump) to see how everything worked…After doing all those tests, I wanted to make a short animation with the intent of making something that looks professional to potentially add to my portfolio.”

Long on creativity of materials, the silly wizard was made from a chicken nugget box shaped into a dome with tin foil wrapped around it. He then stretched felt overtop and made the arms and legs from simple wires with felt wrapped around them. His face is plasticine and his eyes are beads.

We asked him about the hilarious voice of the wizard and Ibele told us, “Previously I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite animators, Davey Swatpaz for my podcast, Animation Industry Podcast. I reached out to him again and asked if he’d be interested in voice acting for me. He said yes! So, that afternoon I created the idea for the wizard animation. He sent me back the audio and I got right to work.”

Reportedly, his biggest challenge was moving a character around the set where he wanted it to go–we’re glad to hear Dragonframe helped him out: “The opening shot shows the wizard bouncing into the screen. I must’ve redone this shot at least 5 times. Every time I had him land, he ended up either overshooting or undershooting where I wanted him to go. It wasn’t until I discovered the arch feature in Dragonframe, that I was actually able to plan out where he would jump from, how long he’d stay in the air, and where he would land. I used that tool for all the duck jumps and they turned out much better.”

His other hurdle was one known to animators round the globe. “The second biggest challenge was maintaining my health while animating. I would animate for a full 8 hours (sometimes more) straight without any breaks. I just get so in the zone, I lose all track of time. However, I strained my shoulder become of this and I’m still reaping the consequences of that. I learned midway through to take frequent breaks, stretch, drink water, etc.”

This student also learned a lot about time management. “I wanted everything to be perfect, but I also had to realize moving on was important. I redid ever shot at least once, and there are still things I wish I could go back and redo, but I realized a finished product is much better than a few perfect shots in an incomplete project. Also, no one has pointed out any of the flaws I can see, so I guess I’m also being ridiculous, ha!”

Back in school now, Ibeles continues to field requests for a sequel as he works away at his studies. In addition to that, he dreams big: “A dream of mine is to produce a show, so I’m going to wrap up this animation into a pitch and see if I can get in touch with some producers and networks and pitch it to them. I learned a lot about what it takes to produce a short animation from an equipment, time, budget, etc. point of view, so I have an idea of what it would take to make this into a 20 segment show.”