The Creature from the Backyard
What's the difference between Mickey Mouse and Mufasa? They're both cartoon animals. They both talk. But there's something about Mufasa. . . . That's because The Lion King filmmakers studied lions carefully so they could make Mufasa as real as possible. Scientists call this field study. For your next film, The Creature from the Backyard, you will be studying roly-poly bugs! If you'd prefer worm or spiders, that's okay, too. After all, you're the director.
Curious for an answer? Look Behind the Scenes.
- You will need: an animal you would like to observe, a notebook, a pencil, and lots of patience.
- Try to find an outdoor animal so that you can see it in its natural habitat. If not, a pet is okay, too. Sit quietly and observe your animal for ten minutes. Write in your notebook as many details about your animal as you can observe.
- Pay careful attention to how your animal moves. Draw the animal in several stages of motion. Note the time of day and weather conditions for this first observation. Describe and draw the animal's habitat.
- Repeat this observation a second time at a different time of day and/or with different weather. Don't worry if you can't find the exact same worm - a friend or relative will do. How do changes in the environment affect the way your animal moves?
- Based on what you now know about your animal, give him or her a name and a face. Draw a "storyboard" showing your animal character moving. A storyboard is a group of sketches in the order they will appear as scenes in the movie. It looks sort of like a comic book.
- How did your animal research affect the character you developed?
- How did you alter the animal's real characteristics in developing your cartoon animal? What did you keep the same? Why?
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