Updated: May 4, 2019
People often comment on my videos asking me for ideas for their next animation. Apparently, it’s common for people to struggle with inspiration. But that isn’t a problem that I have. In fact, I have the opposite problem – I have so many ideas for videos that I wonder how I’ll ever find the time to make them all. It’s a frustrating feeling, but I’m gradually getting quicker at producing brickfilms, and it feels great every time I see one of my ideas finally acted out with minifigures.
Although I find it really easy to come up with stop motion ideas, it wasn’t always this way. I have some simple methods that help me to come up with ideas, and they are methods that anyone can use. So I thought it would be helpful for me to share these in a video on my channel. Hopefully some of these tips will help other animators get inspired. If you ever get stuck with thinking what your next stop motion should be about, watch my video (below) to find out my 10 tips for coming up with stop motion ideas. In the rest of this blog post I explain a bit more about one of them – the ideas book.
The ideas book is just an ordinary notebook that I carry around with me in my bag. When I started it, I had no ideas at all for Lego animations. I spent hours doing YouTube searches on different word combinations, like “Lego lawn mower”, “Lego shark attack”, “Lego gym fail”, “Lego swimming”, and “Lego Olympics” to try to come up with unique and original ideas. But everything I typed into YouTube had already been made. It seemed there was nothing left to do!
Above: Lego Shark Attack has probably been done hundreds of times, but in the end I decided to do it again anyway!
When I started writing in my ideas book, I was trying to come up with original topics for brickfilms – topics on which no Lego animation had ever been made. “Lego birdwatching” is one of the very few original ones that I managed to think of, but I scribbled down lots of other ideas as well, and tried to think up ways that I could put a new twist on a topic that had already been done by someone else.
Looking back at the first couple of pages in my book, most of the early ideas that I wrote down were terrible. But once I started writing in this book, I found that more and more ideas came to me. The more I wrote, the more inspiration I got.
This might seem strange - surely I would run out of ideas, instead of finding that the more I wrote, the more I had left to write? Odd though it seems, there’s a good explanation for what happened. Before I had my ideas book, if I had a half-formed idea for an animation, I thought about it for a while, decided it was rubbish, and then forgot about it.
But when I started writing everything down, I started to look back over these half-formed ideas, and to realise that some of them weren’t as bad as they first seemed. Sure, I wrote down a lot of rubbish. But there were a few really interesting ideas as well, and with a little bit of extra work they could be turned into a script for a video or even a series.
My ideas book is now nearly full, and I estimate that I have around 200 ideas for animations. It feels overwhelming to have so many ideas and such little time, but I’m learning that with experience, making stop motion videos gets quicker. I’m also trying to be more selective about which ideas I use. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to make all the videos I want. But one I can be sure about is, with all of the ideas I’ve got, there will be brickfilms on Gold Puffin for many years to come.