Making Mall Mania

Mall Mania, filmed during 1989-1990. CLICK TO PLAY!


Since the late 70's, one of my favorite creative pastimes has been making time-lapse movies. While the technique is used to accelerate the movement of all sorts of things, my main fascination was with filming people and viewing the sped-up patterns of interaction that occur in crowded situations. Choosing the right sort of location to film time-lapse was key, and it occurred to me that shopping malls, with the social behavior that took place there, would make fantastic subject matter. Accordingly, in 1989, I started to shoot my mall movie using basically no budget, a condition that came with my status as a "starving artist". Out of necessity, the project required guerrilla filmmaking tactics.

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Walking a Different Path

Click to play THE WANDERER!


Sometimes the right conditions occur to bring something extraordinary into being. This was the case with my avant-garde short film The Wanderer, a 1981 collaboration with the amazing athlete Mark Daniel. Both outliers, and driven toward unusual goals, Mark and I teamed up on a project that resulted in some remarkable cinematic achievements. The creation of our film, however, was the outcome of several years of previous efforts.

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Lucid Dream

A movie of the animation. Click to play!


I have been exploring the possibilities of creating a painting brought to life. With that goal in mind I produced an unusual fusion, Lucid Dream, being both one of my latest experimental films and one of my earliest. The movie was given a painterly impressionistic look by digitally post processing an "animated dance" originally shot on Super 8 film circa 1980!

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Starting at the Bottom

Scene from the horror movie Vamp filmed in a sewer set
Running from vampires in the sewer. Note the pink and green eighties lighting.

Having moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming a professional stop-motion animator, I initially found it very difficult to get my foot in the door of the movie business. I managed to get a few gigs making miniatures as a model maker, but even those jobs were hard to come by for a newcomer. Then the opportunity came to work on my first feature motion picture, starting at the very bottom... the sewer! Okay, in actuality I was hired to build a sewer, as part of the construction crew on the horror movie VAMP in 1986.

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A look behind the scenes of art-making and other musings by .

fractal picture

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Making ENCOUNTER

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nimslo camera
Anaglyph Technique

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St. Frog and the Dragon

Mother and father Umblebum
Meet the Umblebums

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Sculpting Cavemen

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The Red-Nosed Reindog

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Making Mickey's Parade

Freddy nightmare
Nightmares Made Real

tattooed lady
Tattoo Parlor Diorama

face of fire dancer
Painting RING OF FIRE

face of Night Scorp
Gigantic Scorpions

face of Night Scorp
Chroma Key Animation

bodybuilder Frank Zane posing
The Living Body as Sculpture

Man runs in a sewer movie set
Starting at the Bottom

Animated bottle cap character
Zippy the Cap

Stone Giant stop-motion puppet
The End of Dynamation

Candy on a boys face
Eye Candy

Dancing figures
Lucid Dream

Talking deer and moose hunting trophies
Wacky Trophy Heads

Handstanding figure over river valley
Making THE WANDERER

Portrait of man made of fruit
Creating a Fruit Man

Colorful mandala design
Mysterium Mandala

Portrait of Jack Skellington
Nightmare Still Photos

Spacecraft Wreckage
Spaceship Junkyard

Closeup of a robot
Making Models and Props pt. 1

Watch shaped like a mouse
Making Models and Props pt. 2

“Train
Making Models and Props pt. 3

“Face
Young Iguanodon

“ice
Lively Kisses

“shopping
Making Mall Mania

“powerful
Extreme Heroic Poses

“face
Earth Mother

“dog
Digital Dog Fight

© 2006-2018 Joel Fletcher
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