I decided to do some research to inform the look of my animation which has led to mixed results…
I believe my connection of the music playing in the clip to the idea of a circus bear has a lot to do with the stereotypical image of that creature, one that would have a strong visual identity and would immediately be associated with the music, overall giving the piece a stronger narrative. The reality of the situation however, as happens far too often, is that I was just remembering something from ‘The Simpsons‘ as fact.
I had in my head an image of a brown bear, wearing a fez and a red & gold waistcoat. As it turns out, I can’t find any representations of circus bears in this “uniform” that I was so certain they all wore. What I did find (or perhaps rediscovered) however, is how abysmally circus and dancing bears are treated. Image after image of malnourished and abused creatures and it genuinely upset me, putting me off the idea of including them in my submission because of the association that some people might bring to it. Even though my animation will be lighthearted, I wouldn’t want to offend by introducing a potentially upsetting topic into the subtext of my animation. I would also feel strange about glossing over such cruelty just for aesthetic value.
I said this research brought mixed results because after seeing the way these poor animals are treated, I can no longer bring myself to use them in my animation. The only consolation is that, where I thought I’d be losing an interesting visual connection to the audio, I won’t be, as that “connection” was misinformed.
I now have to decide if I can adapt my story concept or if I want to change it completely.