Why animate that? This question was posed to us animation students during our first week in graduate school. When one considers the amount of time, energy and money it takes to create an animated piece it is a good question to ask before starting. In the spring of 2009 I found myself asking this very question as I considered the story that I wanted to use for my thesis film. "A Bed of Butterflies" is a personal family story about my father's brother Keith, who died at the age of twenty-two of kidney failure. A real story about real people so why animate it? My original answer was a flippant "It's a powerful story and I want to try something with it." Later it evolved into the more profound goal of wanting to take something so tightly woven into the fabric of my family and make it emotionally accessible to a wide audience while still maintaining its essential truth. This paper will recount the two and a half year I spent making my thesis film "A Bed of Butterflies." I will touch on topics such as creating a script from recorded interviews, the evolution of story, designing characters that are related to you, using silence as sound, and the pros and cons of digital 2D software. The documents and images I have included will serve to both illustrate my story and provide further clarification on certain points.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Grief--Drama; Family--Drama
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CIAS)
Hardy, Erica, "A Bed of butterflies" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus