Digital Story Critique #10: FOOD

*I am currently working my way through my fourth semester of the Information and Learning Technologies master’s program at University of Colorado, Denver.  This is the tenth post within a series of critiques on digital stories that I’ve been assigned to write for a course titled Digital Storytelling.

This week’s critique is on a stop-motion animation video titled, FOOD.  It was the 2015 Real Food Media Contest Winner for Best Animation and brings interviews with real eaters from around the world to life as ‘edible characters’.  The video was directed by Siqi Song, an incredibly talented animator and filmmaker, and voiced by people from seven different interviews.  I chose to critique this specific piece because of how it relates to my chosen theme for this semester.  My theme has evolved into a self-reflection through food and this video includes audio clips of people discussing the impacts of their own food choices.  It’s a wonderful short film and I highly recommend taking some time to watch it!

To critique this piece, I used the following traits from Jason Ohler’s “Assessing digital stories, new media narrative“:  1.) project planning, 2.) originality, voice, and creativity, and 3.) media grammar – use of audio.

  • Project planning – It’s obvious that film like this would require extensive project planning, especially since it involves actual interviews, stop-motion animation, and a great amount of audio compilation and editing.  But it’s hard to keep that in mind when you’re watching something so creative and entertaining!  You tend to forget about what had to happen behind-the-scenes to make such a wonderful film come to life.  I couldn’t find any additional information on this film, but I have no doubt that the team spent an exorbitant amount of time planning and story-boarding.Chicken
  • Originality, voice, and creativity – The OVC behind this video is absolutely phenomenal.  Even just the idea to have the object of an interview, become the thing being interviewed, is so incredibly creative!  The film combines different voices from various interviews and creates a story about a group of people talking about their food choices…but the people are the food.  Using stop-motion animation really brings the visual content to a whole other level and showcases the director’s talent and dedication to the craft.  The film is very entertaining to watch and very interesting to hear as well!Hot Dogs
  • Media grammar – use of audio
    1. Clear audio – Of course the audio is crispy clear…the whole film is very well done.
    2. Well-mixed audio – As you listen to the interviewees talking, you can hear interesting background noise as well.  This plays into the creativity of the film.  For example, there are knife cuts and various other noises when the Cornish game hen is “speaking” in the kitchen.  There are various other people moving and talking when the hamburger is “speaking” in what appears to be a cafeteria.  And there are other people walking around and clinking dishes while the strawberry face is “speaking” on the white plate.
    3. Voice pacing and inflection – The pacing and inflection of the inserted interview pieces are spot on.  The flow of the dialogue works really well and tells a well-rounded story of different viewpoints on food choices.


*Header image taken with my own camera.  Visit Charlito’s Cocina here.  They have incredible cured meats where they utilize the rich gastronomic traditions used to preserve food prior to the days of refrigeration and freezers.  They strive to create delicious, shelf stable foods using the cleanest, most well raised ingredients possible.  (Yes, this might be a strangely placed plug…but I genuinely love this shop and order from here regularly!)