Talent on Tap – Noah Brown Introduces The Wireman to Pendance

Stop Motion has been around since the age of cameras. Tim Burton re-popularized it in The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Corpse Bride. It’s very time consuming and once you start, you’re committed till the end. I actually haven’t seen a stop-motion film in years, so I was stoked when I found out that there was an entry into the Pendance Film Festival recently. The film is entitled The Wireman and it is a brilliant 11-minute piece. It was written and directed by Noah Brown, who attended film at Tufts University in Boston.  He is back in Toronto, Canada and I was very fortunate to ask him all about his experience in making ‘The Wireman’.  


HNMAG “What spawned the idea for this short film?”

NOAH “It started a while ago when I was in high school. We had to make a short film about love. I knew I wanted to make a stop motion animation and I thought I was going to make the classic character covered in clay. When you create a character, you start with a wire armature and then cover it with clay so it has structure. When I started building the Wireman, my intention was to cover him in clay but once I finished building it, I thought it looked nice without it  – so I just used that wire frame. The original story came from that project. After using the short film as my senior thesis for college, over the next 4 years the idea of the story was still in my mind and I felt like there was more to tell from the original story. I also really liked the connection between the 2 characters – which is how I ended up with the film.” 


HNMAG “I know that stop-motion requires incredible patients and takes a very long time. How long did it take for this 11-minute film?”

NOAH “When I introduced the idea to my advisor, he said to go ahead but get started immediately. I knew it would take a long time, so I started at the end of September and wrapped everything in the middle of April. I think I was in production for 6 months and post for a couple more.”


HNMAG “When you’re making the stop motion, what type of camera would you have used?”

NOAH “I was just using my Rebel T-3I. I had it plugged into my computer program, Drag and Print – which is an image compiler. It only grabs one frame at a time, which makes it so much faster than doing it manually.”   


HNMAG “What type of film education do you have?”

NOAH “I went to Tufts University in Boston. While I was there, I earned a degree in Film and Media studies and also Political Science. I also worked on a number of short films, student films, my professor’s films and worked a summer on JoBro Productions in Toronto.”


HNMAG “Do you think you would make another stop motion film?”

NOAH “I don’t know (laughing). It’s a crazy amount of work.”


HNMAG “Would you have written a script for this film?”

NOAH “For this film, I had a script but it was really all done on storyboards because there’s no dialogue. I found it easier creating a storyboard for an animated film and I stuck to it pretty closely, but there were some shots in the film that I felt needed to be in there as I was shooting. There’s this scene where Wireman’s face is looking up and it’s being engulfed with wires from behind his head. It wasn’t in the storyboard but I felt I needed a close-up there.”


HNMAG “You must’ve gotten pretty good with a pair of needle nose pliers?”    

NOAH “Exactly. I had to get good with the needle nose pliers, the glue gun and other tools. Fortunately, the space I was able to use had just been converted – so I was able to utilize this great open space. I ended up with quite a few blisters too (laughing).” 


HNMAG “How big is the Wireman character?”

NOAH “I’ll go get him. (Noah returned with a sitting Wireman – approx. 7” tall) I have to be careful standing him up, his legs are a little shot. (He extends 1 leg to resemble a Captain Morgan stance) A little behind the scene fun fact – his neck actually snapped off in the middle of production. It was on a really long shot, the longest in the film… and then suddenly at the end, his neck snaps off. (We both took a moment) I was like – what the hell do we do now? I fixed it by making a holder for his neck and if you look closely, you can notice it. I stuck the neck in, added some crazy glue… and it was fine. (Wireman nods in agreement )”     

HNMAG “Wireman has a companion in the film/story. Is that a wire dog?”

NOAH “It’s whatever you think it to be. I think of it as a parent and child because he creates it, but I’ve had other people tell me it’s a penguin or a ghost. Once I release it, it’s out into the world.”   


HNMAG “What’s next for you?”

NOAH “I’m going to be returning back to work with JoBro Productions in a couple of weeks to do some production work. In terms of my own work, I’d like to get a feature film made. If not next, then I’d like to do a short live action film. Hopefully down the road I’ll be making a feature film but I take it day by day and I love telling stories.”


HNMAG “Do you have a favourite genre?”

NOAH “I really love fantasy. There’s a lot of Tim Burton in The Wireman. I love Pan’s Labyrinth and The Nightmare Before Christmas.”


HNMAG “Has Wireman screened anywhere else?” 

NOAH “It also screened at the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival and the Big Apple Film Festival in New York. The audience reaction was good because I had won the Best Experimental Film at the TSIFF. It also won 3rd place for Best Canadian Short at the Pendance Film Festival ” 


HNMAG “Why don’t we switch things up a bit and ask you a few fun questions. What’s the most extreme food you’ve ever eaten?”

NOAH “Ok… I’ve eaten snails before… they were very good.”  


HNMAG “You’ve got three choices of transportation to travel 50 miles. A hot-air balloon, a horse or a boat. What is your choice?”

NOAH “A hot-air balloon, 100 percent! I do have a fear of heights but I feel like a hot-air balloon would be really cool.”


HNMAG “Last question. You’re stuck on an island, you can only call one person to save you, who do you call?”

NOAH “That’s a good question… I don’t want to offend anyone. I call so many people during the day. I’d probably call one of my friends from university. I’m going to say my friend Mark from Boston.”

Noah Brown’s, The Wireman was a terrific and very creative film. Noah has shown great tenacity, ambition, patience and stop-motion gold. He’s just getting started and I know we will talk again.


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