ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Claymation kid

The Claymation Kid? That's probably as fair a moniker as any for Micah Newman. The 14-year-old is a genius at sculpted clay characterization and animation. In fact, he's so good that he won a national award this year -- the Grand Prize in the Fab...

The Claymation Kid?
That's probably as fair a moniker as any for Micah Newman.
The 14-year-old is a genius at sculpted clay characterization and animation. In fact, he's so good that he won a national award this year -- the Grand Prize in the FableVisionary North Star Dreaming Student Claymation Festival.
Judges from around the country unanimously selected Micah's one-minute claymation story, "Lucy Discovers Her True Self," said Mike Newman, Micah's father.
In the letter of congratulations to Micah, FableVision marketing director Jennifer Hart wrote, "We truly enjoyed your piece -- the excellently sculpted clay characters, the wonderful animation, the great story, but most of all we loved the way you carried out the North Star theme in your piece. It was truly inspirational to watch."
Micah's video will be played on the Noggin Network, a part of the Nickelodeon show, but "we don't know when," Newman said.
The competition required the young animation artists to craft a story around the theme in Peter Reynolds' book, "The North Star." The story centers around how to find one's true potential.
Micah solved that problem creatively when he had his main character, Lucy the Goose, discover that her talent was singing professionally, Newman said.
But writing the story is only the beginning of creating a claymation video. In Micah's case, it took hours of sculpting each character and crafting the sets as well as making a video of the play.
Claymation is a time-consuming process with each frame having to be created independently. In all, it took 720 different frames to make the one-minute video, Micah said. Synchronizing the sound to the video is also a complex process, he said.
{IMG2}
Newman has already been recognized regionally for his work. He and his sister, Christina, won blue ribbons for their clay creative arts entries at the Minnesota State Fair last year, and Micah had his own exhibit at the Duluth Children's Museum.
This young artist has no intention of resting on his laurels. He's already working on his next project, an 8- to 10-minute claymation mystery about who killed the baby chick on Farmer John's farm.
True to form, his characters are great. There's Detective West, a sheepdog that interviews every animal on the farm to find the culprit, and Pete the farm hand and his boss, Farmer John, as well as a host of farm animal characters.
The sneakiest character is Butch the Cat, who everybody thinks is good, but has a secret life. "He works on the farm, but also is part of a gang of bad cats," Micah said.
Is Butch the villain who killed Jill the Chicken's baby, then?
Ah, but that's a secret, Micah said, with a grin. We'll just have to wait to find out that.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.