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Charlie Beggs Interview

Dec 16, 2009

Charlie Beggs is the awesome kid who caught the attention of The Looking Glass Wars author, Frank Beddor, with his claymation trailer for the graphic novel series, Hatter M. Find out what inspired Charlie and how he made his creation!

Sindy: Hi Charlie! Where did you get the idea to do a claymation book trailer for "Looking Glass Wars?"

Charlie: I did it as a project for English class in eighth grade. We were supposed to make a slide show advertising our book of choice, but my parents encouraged me to do it at home, with claymation. Videos on YouTube introduced me to claymation.

Sindy: How did you make the video?

Charlie: I would take a single picture of the scene, then move the characters a tiny bit, and take another picture. I'd repeat this process till all of the scenes were finished. I loaded them onto a computer, edited the framerate (the amount of time for which a picture stays on screen) of the pictures, and added sound effects. Some things needed a different framerate than others. For example, walking slowly would require a low framerate, and throwing something would take a high one.

Sindy: Did anyone help you with the video? If so, what did they do?

Charlie: With the first video, my dad helped with some of the scenes. He took pictures while I moved the characters sometimes. He taught me how to use the video-editing software too.

Sindy: In the credits you say “Any similarity to the voices of Alec, Danny, Haydon or Jacques is purely coincidental.” Who are Danny, Haydon and Jacques?

Charlie: Originally, Mr. Beddor asked me to do the voiceovers for the Hatter M trailer with my friends. I asked my friends if they wanted to do it. Alec, Haydon, Jacques, and Danny played the parts of the characters originally.

Sindy: Who is Nick Young?

Charlie: He is a musician friend of Mr. Beddor who did the music for the trailer. (from Frank Beddor) Nick Young is an accomplished composer of music for movies and trailers. He did the score for the first Looking Glass Wars trailer produced in 2005. He is also the co-founder of the band AI, a 3 pieces electro-rock clash band.

Sindy: What did you think when Frank Beddor first contacted you?

Charlie: At first, when Nate Barlow sent me an email asking me to contact Mr. Beddor, I wondered whether it was real or what. I told my parents, and they said he would probably make me take down the video, because of copyright issues. When I got around to telling my English teacher, Mrs. Hepner, she told me to make sure she got half of all my money when I would get rich.

Sindy: Were you compensated or rewarded for all the hard work you put into the second claymation video for the Hatter M graphic novel which you collaborated with Frank on?”

Charlie: Yes. I received the two graphic novels and part of the second, Mad with Wonder, before it came out. I also received a check.

Sindy: Will you do anything different with this second video than you did with the first?

Charlie: I don't think so. I'll probably show it to my relatives at the next family party and get sort of embarrassed because of their congratulations.

Sindy: What kinds of books do you like to read? What are some of your favorite titles/authors?

Charlie: Well, mostly I read the books that other kids my age read, like the Lightning Thief series, by Rick Riordan, Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, the Looking Glass Wars series, of course, and other books similar to those. I like the Ender books, by Orson Scott Card, too. I don't like reading generic fantasy books that seem to be copies of the Lord of the Rings books; I think they're unoriginal.

Sindy: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Charlie: I'm not really sure. Music and science are my two favorite things in school. I like creative things, like art and music, but I also really like to learn new things; I like thinking and pondering things.

Sindy: Do you have any advice for someone who might want to create a video?

Charlie: I learned that you shouldn't expect to only make one of each scene in a movie. In the first version of the Civil War scene in my trailer, I accidentally left some things in the foreground of multiple shots. I didn't want to redo the scene, because I was lazy, and I thought it looked too good in the other areas to redo. My parents told me I should definitely redo the scene, so I did. Throughout the project, I redid multiple scenes. The first time is never good enough, even if it seems that way.

Sindy: Thanks Charlie!

Charlie Beggs Hatter M. Claymation Trailer