Moving Words Keeps Moving

By Shane Wagner


Moving Words is an international projects that brings together writers, voice actors and animators to create short films. The project made possible by a generous grant from The Santiago Abut Foundation, in loving memory of Santi Abut.

The Moving Words 2018 project has just passed an important milestone: The voice recording are now in the hands of the animators!

I’d like to describe the process and all the work that goes into a project like Moving Words, but first – for those of you who are not familiar with Moving Words – I encourage you to view some of the finished works from Moving Words 2017.

For the 2018 project, my involvement started when I saw the open call for submissions last spring and submitted my piece – then titled, “A Different Pair of Opposites.” I did not write this piece with Moving Words in mind, but selected it because of the length (the requirement was that it could be read comfortably in two to three minutes) and the visuals I tried to evoke in the writing.

In August, I received word that it had been accepted.

In September and October, I participated in several workshops run by poet David Crews ( The workshop brought together several other writers in person – including Priscilla Orr, Paul Genega and Caroline Abut – and several more from around the country that participated via Skype. We focused on ways to make our written pieces more visual. We read several poems and discussed how they might and might not lend themselves to an animated piece.

Then the hard work began.

To be honest, this rewrite was one the hardest things I have ever done as a writer. The piece is largely about my relationship with my son. I wrote the original piece because I was trying to describe some difficult feelings, to plumb the depths and come up with something that felt real. I was satisfied with that work, glad to have done that work. But done. Finished.

Then I had to go back in.

With the guidance and support of David Crews and the other writers, I did go back in and I think it was worth it. The piece changed and was eventually renamed, “Father and Son.”

Once final, the written pieces were then recorded (see David Olimpio’s blog post on the Recording Session). Some of the pieces were read by the author and some by a voice actor. I decided to read my own piece, so I met with the crew in the ad hoc recording studio to get the piece on tape (tape being an obsolete term, but I’m an old man, so forgive me).

And then the recordings were on their way to Israel!

Now, the animators get involved. Students from two schools in Israel, Holon Institute of Technology (will animate 8) and SHENKAR(will animate 4) are currently listening to the recordings and being assigned the piece they will animate. Over the next few weeks, they will work on concepts. We will have an opportunity to start a dialogue between writers and animators to ask and answer questions next month.

In the end, the animators will have freedom to interpret the piece and create a finished animation using their creativity to bring these stories to life.

I can’t wait to “meet” the animator that is working on my piece, and am even more excited to see the finished animation late this summer.

Our plan is to have a US premier where all twelve movies will be shows sometime in September. And after the US premier, the movies will have a life of their own.

Movies from Moving Words 2017 have been (or soon will be) shown at the following festivals:

– The Animix International Festival, Tel Aviv

– Flippin, Moving Words, Nominated for Best Animation Project

– Epos Art Film Festival

– Animax International Film Festival, Catalonia, Spain

– New York Film Critics Series

– CreateArts, Brooklyn, NY

  This has been an exciting and rewarding project so far, and we still have a lot to do.

  Keep a look out for announcements about Moving Words 2018.