The Silkworm Sabotage Trailer. The Magazine Interview with Animator Terry Hahin
The Silkworm Sabotage Trailer. The Magazine Interview with Animator Terry Hahin

The zoetrope is a device which creates the image of a moving picture. The earliest elementary zoetrope was created in China around 180 AD by the prolific inventor Ting Huan. Made from translucent paper or mica panels, Huan hung the device over a lamp. The rising air turned vanes at the top from which hung the pictures painted on the panels would appear to move if the device is spun at the right speed.

The modern zoetrope was produced in 1834 by William George Horner. The device is essentially a cylinder with vertical slits around the sides. Around the inside edge of the cylinder there are a series of pictures on the opposite side to the slits. As the cylinder is spun, the user then looks through the slits to view the illusion of motion. The zoetrope is still being used in animation courses to illustrate early concepts of animation.


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What are the production elements in your films? My guesses: sound, image, production technology, time
(length), and context (meaning).

Every project starts with an idea, then goes from there. A film about a man getting on a bus would be an idea. Usually what type of elements in the film (are there live action actors, animated characters, dialogue, just music?) gets decided after the initial idea.

But once in a while the people involved who are willing to collaborate end up dictating the style. Some of the work I've done with was less a central idea, and more about three guys getting together and jamming up our individual skills. The result is hopefully bigger than the sum of its pieces.

What is animation today? Who are some of the early cartoon animators that influenced your work?

Animation today is a complicated beast. Hollywood features today require an even larger team than in the old Disney days. The result is an even safer story, more financially stable product, which can still really yield great results.
But then conversely with the computer it can be easier than ever, depending on your end goal. It can be intimidating and liberating at the same time. With the convenience of technology can come a higher mounting pressure to razzle dazzle in the end product.

Since I'm not part of a huge 3d team of designers I try my best in my personal work to make my work subtle and simple in its animated style.

Some of the earliest animations that moved me were high level anime work. As a boy I remember seeing Akira for the first time and being blown away by the sheer enormity of it all. Nowadays I appreciate the simple stuff more. If you watch an early Warner brother cartoon you can see how sometimes just holding an expression of character can speak more volumes than a giant series of buildings exploding a zillion frames per second.

How and when do you use filters in your photos? Can they change the feeling of the image?

I use filters to adjust the light balances of my images. This spot a little brighter, this spot a little darker, the same techniques used by a classic photographer working with paper and an enlarger in a dark room. After the image is balanced I then often add some texture or other elements to give it a more natural, organic feel.

Digital is logistically convenient, so I like it in that sense; but I often miss that dirtier, more physical results I got when I worked with my hands in a dark room. I guess a lot of what I add to an image to is about keeping that feeling active in me.

Los_Crudos_2.html is my favorite still. Were you part of the audience or part of the band here?

I was part of the audience in this one. I had the opportunity to sit on stage at Los Crudos last show at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago. The crowd was packed and the anticipation for the band to start was electric in the air. This was looking over the bassist right before they ripped into one of favorite shows of my life.

Isn't everything you produce a "pitch?"

Everything is a pitch. Every image is an idea you're hustling to audience, whether honestly or not.

What are some of the stereotypes that you have tried to change in your work?

There's a stereotype in the film business that business is boring. But anything can be fun. When a client like the NRCA (National Roofer's Contractor's Association) comes to you wanting to make a safety video, it's very easy to treat it as a boring bread winner for the studio and just churn out the same old for them.

My goal has been to take those potentially mundane gigs and push yourself to do something you've never done before.

In Wheelchairs_for_Afghanistan.html, how did your create the animated logo of the three leafs?

This animation was made pretty simply in Adobe After Effects. The Center for International Rehabilitation had a nice simple logo that I thought would work well as a full frame opener. The light explosions come from a combination of flares and some video of a flash light I took years ago.

In design_examples/nrca.html, what video technique did you use to get the cartoon "3D" effect?

The NRCA animation I did with the design team at SoundVideoImpressions. The owner is a huge Monty Python fan, so the idea was to find a way to update Terry Gilliam's cut out style. So what you do is you take your cutup pieces, and place those 2d pieces in a large 3d plane. You then move a camera and in essence "shoot" the cutup pieces with a virtual camera in your graphics program. So the end result is an ever shifting perspective within a semi flat world.

Connections -

Terry Hahin
Online Resume
Terryhahin at