The Locusts are coming…

Locust4

Yes, I know locusts hop. But I also want mine to march.

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The Seventh Plague: Hail (rough)

The Seventh Plague: Hail (rough) from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

“23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
“24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
“25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
“26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. –Exodus 9


Music: Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here by Nat Shilkret, which you can download for free here.


This has many little hailstones and cloud spirals and fiddly little things that get out of alignment easily and slow down Flash with their numerousity*. It’s under 30 seconds. It’s not perfect but I’m tired so I’m just putting it online now so I can move on. I may go back and fix some things before I put it in the final movie.


*I just made up the word “numerousity”. I prefer it to the more dictionarily** acceptable word “volume” because it’s more specific, and I prefer it to “numerousness” because it feels less awkward, in spite of not actually being a word. Update: it is a word, I was just misspelling it! Thanks commenter Joe.


** I just made up “dictionarily” too.

Run like an Egyptian

EgyptRuns24gif

Egyptians running from a plague. Finally got a song with beats every 12 frames, which makes the easiest and most versatile cycles. This animated GIF is only 12 frames long!

The Sixth Plague: Boils (rough)

This one’s only 10 seconds long! Shortest plague ever.

“10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.

11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” –Exodus 9, King James Version

Music by the Beatles.

The Fifth Plague: Murrain (rough)

“3 Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field….there shall be a very grievous murrain.” –Exodus 9, King James Version

The fabulous music here is “Dead Animals” by Mental Decay.  You should really hear the whole song. I have no idea why this band isn’t more famous.

A Very Grievous Murrain

Murrain02.1GIF

The Plague of Murrain comes after the Plague of Flies, which is good because I have animated flies on hand already.
I love making endless loops in Flash, especially when they involve “perspective.”

The Fourth Plague: Flies (rough)

Shofar, sho good:

“21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.” –Exodus 8, King James Version

Like Lice before it (and Locusts to follow) this Plague has Oingo Boingo’s “Insects” (1982) as a soundtrack. Lyrics:
Flying insects everywhere!
Flying insects buzzing, buzzing, buzzing through the air
Just like little diamonds in the sky
Insects buzzing in my eye!
Buzzing insects make me want to dance!
(Dance, dance, etc.)

This is still rough. Things will change before it goes into the final Seder-Masochism movie, not least by the addition of sound effects. Notice Aharon is in this scene, blowing a shofar with Moses. I might retroactively stick him in a few other scenes too, since he seems OK.

Fly

Fly_gif

There’s gonna be a whole plague of these.

The Second Plague (Frogs) – rough

Music is from “Frogs” by DJ Zeph featuring Azeem, from the album “Sunset Scavenger.” It’s from 2004, making it the most contemporary song in the film. I almost used Taylor Swift’s 2014 “Bad Blood” for Blood, but I ended up deciding Josh White’s 1933 “Blood Red River Blues” was simply a better song. It wasn’t due to fear of lawsuits; I decided long ago not to allow copyright to determine my artistic choices. If you don’t know my stance on Intellectual Disobedience, you can learn about it here:
youtube.com/watch?v=dfGWQnj6RNA
and here:
blog.ninapaley.com/2013/12/07/make-art-not-law-2/

I’m curious what frogs DJ Zeph and Azeem were originally referring to. Here, of course, the frogs are these:

“3 And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:

“4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.” -Exodus 8, King James Version

The closest I come to “storyboards”

Frogs-'storyboard'

The First Plague (Blood) – rough

“17 Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.

“18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

“19 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.” — Exodus 7, King James Version

Like many storytellers, I use Moses alone to represent both Moses and Aharon. When I deviate from the texts, it’s on purpose.

Music: “Blood Red River Blues” by Josh White (1933), severely edited by me. With great effort I bought a CD with this song, but the quality was terrible – it sounded like a tape player under a mattress – so I ended up copying audio from this YouTube video.

The second stanza depicts Anuket, goddess of the Nile.  I hope there are no Ancient Egyptian Religious fundamentalists out there, because they might not like the implication She’s menstruating. Then again, the whole Book of Exodus is anti-Ancient-Egypt propaganda. If there were an Ancient-Egyptian-Anti-Defamation League, Exodus would be banned.

The Third Plague (Lice) – rough

The Third Plague (Lice) – rough from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

“16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

“17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”
–Exodus 8, King James Version

Like many filmmakers, I use Moses to represent both Moses and Aharon.

The music is “Insects” by Oingo Boingo (1982). The lyrics, which are hard to understand here (but will get a bit easier when we get to flies and locusts) are:
Tiny insects in my hair
Tiny insects everywhere
Tiny insects in my pants
Watching insects make romance
Insects make you make me want to dance
Dance (dance)
They make me want to dance
Dance (dance)
Those insects make me want to dance!

Frogz

Frogs7gif

Having found suitable song snippets for all Ten Plagues, I am now animating them. This frog is adapted from one in Sita Sings the Blues, where it appeared in “Am I Blue.” In Seder-Masochism it stars in the Second Plague, “Frogs.” Above, a nice messy mass o’ frogs (on a beat of 13.5 frames – the song itself is 13.3 frames per beat, but close enough). Below: same frogs marching in a 27-frame lock-hop.

Frogs8gif

The Ninth Plague – ROUGH

This is a ROUGH. It will probably change before the final film. I’m just happy I found the perfect song for the Ninth Plague (Darkness): “Who Turned The Light Out In My Life” by Daniel Boone, from the early 1970’s. There aren’t a lot of songs about lice, flies, and locusts (other than Death Metal, which I can’t use because the words are indecipherable) but I managed to find one, plus songs for murrain, boils, and the rest. All will be used well out of their original context.

Moses is shown way bigger than Pharaoh here because he’s about to win. In an earlier scene (which I’m working on right now) Moses is much smaller than Pharaoh, a la planar Egyptian wall art which scales characters according to their power.

From Exodus 10:
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.

25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.

26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither.

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.

29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb

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“3 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
“2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
“3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
“4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
–Exodus 3 King James Version (KJV)

Written Designed Directed Animated Produced etc. by Nina Paley. ninapaley.com
Music: excerpted from “Moses Supposes” (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Comden and Green, vocals by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor) from the motion picture Singin’ In The Rain.
Many sound effects from the wonderful freesound.org:
wind: freesound.org/people/medialint/sounds/11863/
fire: freesound.org/people/kingsrow/sounds/181562/
stick: freesound.org/people/davilca/sounds/159494/
thumps: freesound.org/people/FlatHill/sounds/211450/

Director’s note:
Obviously I took a few liberties here.
This is a work-in-progress and may be modified for the final film, Seder-Masochism. Stay tuned for the immediate next scene, where the burning bush gives instructions to Moses!