The theory of improv hinges on the idea of creating quickly and without judgment. Minnesota motion designer Peter Steineck took that idea and brought it to the world of animation.
Steineck is the founder and facilitator of Hellavision Television Animation Show. Hellavision is a series of short animations that animators create the idea of working quickly and not judging themselves. The shorts vary in animation style and subject matter.
“It’s useful in that sense where people can make quickly,” said Steineck. “And they don’t have to think about how their work is going to be perceived because they’re watching it with friends.”
Animators in the Twin Cities and beyond submit one to two-minute shorts that are prompted by the idea of creating quickly. Steineck takes all the shorts and puts them together into one longer video. Musicians provide songs for the credits and some of the shorts.
Dan Forke performs under the name Wealthy Relative, and he provided the song for the credits of the third episode of Hellavision. Forke found Hellavision as an animator first.
“I really appreciated the prompt that he presented,” Forke said. “The idea behind Hellavision is make something fast with a spirit of abandon. That’s been a great motivator to just make more stuff and to new directions, I wouldn’t normally.”
The lack of self-judgment was something Forke took with him into music as well. The song “Beta Test (Time to Paint!),” which was used in the credits of the third episode, was created in the spirit of improv.
“The lyrics on that song were just sort of me reading out of a journal of notes and improvising on the spot,” Forke said.
Presenting music or animations that you’ve created quickly could be an intimidating prospect, but Hellavision provides a community that applauds the unpolished.
“If the community was different it would be scary,” Forke said. “It doesn’t feel like there’s any sense of competition. I think that’s what Peter is trying to build is just an open and welcoming environment where no is going to judge you if they don’t like your art.”
Hellavision is having its fourth quarterly free screening tomorrow, Thursday, June 21, at the Trylon.