STOPPED-TIME ANIMATION: ‘Idle’ Longyearbyen Library staff raises paper-napkin curtain on video storytimes and announcements adjusted for local ‘cast’ members

libraryanimation
0 0
Read Time:2 Minute, 51 Second

The polar bear playing the star role as a taxi driver probably isn’t getting union scale since the “curtain” on the production is a black paper napkin from the adjacent cafe that’s one of the few remaining places still open to gather during the day. Then again, his stunt car is a paper cutout and he’s being filmed by an iPad where the role of “key grip” is being performed by scotch tape.

tapecamera
Marie Mæland and Elin Anita Olsrud secure an iPad to the desk at the entrance of Longyearbyen Library, which is closed to the public due to the coronavirus crisis. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

But neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor the threat of the coronavirus prevents the polar performer from the swift completion of his appointed rounds in the Longyearbyen Library’s “book taxi” being used to bring material to locals unable to borrow them normally due to the virus crisis. The seven-minute feature of his literary heroics debuted on Wednesday on the library’s Facebook page, the sequel to the first stop-animaton short filmed by the library’s two staff in the latest of several projects intended to keep themselves and their “customers” busy during the weeks most local  public facilities are closed.

Among the activities is a virtual children’s storytime, but a problem arose because copyright restrictions means the actual book and illustrations often can’t be used, said Marie Mæland, the assistant librarian.

“I thought this is a good time to learn animation,” she said. “I learned how to draw the Svalbard animals by doing the good ol’ Google ‘how to draw.'”

They grabbed a quick app for the iPad – “splurging” on the deluxe version for 60 kroner to get extra sound effects and such – and with the aid of a few handy items within arm’s reach at the reception desk had a full-fledged (or at least fledgling) studio.

beartaxi
Longyearbyen Library’s “book taxi” becomes a “bear taxi” in a stop-time animated video released Wednesday. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

The first animation is a classic old fairy tale about a pancake trying to escape a variety of animals trying to eat it. But instead of farm animals common elsewhere such as chickens and ducks, a variety of land and sea creatures native to Svalbard are hoping to feed on the flapjack.

“In the original its eaten by a pig who says ‘You’re trying to get across the river? Climb onto my snout – that’s safe,'” Mæland said. “Here it’s a seal because it also ends up floating on all of its fat.”

Oh, and instead of a river, it’s trying to get across the channel to the mountains on the opposite side of Longyearbyen.

Mæland and head librarian Elin Anita Olsrud are thinking about doing “The Three Billygoats Gruff” as their next animated tale (substituting reindeer for billygoats), but that depends on how long the library remains closed. Olsrud said about 800 books are checked out, about half via the book taxi (it makes deliveries from 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, with requests due by 2 p.m. the day of delivery), which may mean quite a backlog of books whenever the lockdown ends.

“There will be a lot of people and a lot of books to clear away,” Mæland said.

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%