In the Frames
Lawrence Becker’s special talent––Stop-motion animation
Stop-motion animator Lawrence Becker has created one-of-a-kind short films and commercial spots for ESPN, Microsoft, Sony, Coca-Cola, and many others.
A Ridgefield native currently living in Portland, Oregon, Becker works in a variety of mediums including clay, felt, cardboard, ink, and, occasionally, himself.
“It’s the same concept as film,” says Becker of his chosen art form. “Individual frames are strung together to form a moving picture. What you choose to do with each frame, however, is where the magic happens. I treat the lens of the camera as if it’s my viewer’s eyeball and really enjoy finding ways to fool it. I basically play arts and crafts for a living now.”
Becker’s foray into stop motion animation began freshman year in high school (RHS ’99). He and childhood buddy Greg Condon produced animated films for Tiger TV and amused teachers along the way. “Mrs. Gabbay allowed us to dedicate our entire senior project to making a clay-mation short film,” Becker says of his English teacher. “That project helped us both get into college.”
Becker studied at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, but left to work with a New York-based audio-video production house. “In 2013, a six-second video app called Vine came out that completely changed my life,” he says. “Some people started getting jobs making stop-motion videos and, frankly, they were about as good as what I was making in high school, so I knew I had a good chance of being noticed.”
Soon, digital-media company Mashable asked Becker to host a Vine contest. This resulted in ESPN calling on Becker. He’s also done work with Steve Martin.
His work has gone on to win awards in TriBeCa Film Festival, #6SecFilms, Virgin Mobile, and Disney contests. “One thing kept leading to another,” he says. “It’s been non-stop work ever since.”
Becker's Take: A still from a BBC America show "Doctor Who," (left) from his animated short "More," (above left) and two from the music video "Caroline," by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (right.)