Batman’s Identity Crisis

by Megan -

Playing make-believe can be difficult at times, but it’s especially hard when you’re not familiar with the character you’re trying to portray. This is exactly what happens to David when he and his Batman fanatic friend act out a scene with their LEGO® Super Hero Minifigures. David can’t seem to get it right while playing Batman, and his friend, who’s read all of the graphic novels, doesn’t let him forget it.

Batman Out of Character, animated and edited by Kris Theorin (Bionicle28 on YouTube) and written and voiced by his brother Kurtis Theorin, is a hilarious take on the “art” of playing make believe. Throughout the film, Kris bounces back and forth between Batman scene and playroom scene. The two friends make a bit of progress in their reenactment when the friend (unnamed) scolds David for getting Batman’s persona all wrong. The film continues in this fashion, until David finally (almost) gets it right.

“Batman Out of Character was made for a LEGO Super Heroes contest. We had to use DC Super Hero figures in the movie,” said Kris. “My brother Kurtis came up with the idea because he thought the best way to show off LEGOs in a positive light was to have kids playing with them in a creative way. He also thought it would be interesting to actually see the adventure the kids were coming up with while playing with them.

Indeed, Kurtis was right. The brother’s collaboration earned them first place in the LEGO Super Heroes Challenge and a screening of Batman Out of Character at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). But this isn’t the first award Kris and his brother have won for the animations. The 14-year-old has been animating with iStopMotion since he was just 10, and his brother (now 18), has been working alongside him to write and voice the films. Together, they’ve won awards and contests for films including Spark of Life, The Brain Gobblers From Saturn and Legando.

In addition to using iStopMotion to put together the stop motion animations, Kris uses a Canon VIXIA HV30 video camera, Final Cut Express, After Effects, Pro Scores, Action Essentials Pack, Cinema 4D and a MacBook Pro. Not to mention lots and lots of LEGOs! To date, Kris has animated around 45 films using iStopMotion.

As for Kris's serious work ethic and dedication to his craft, Kris’s mother, Amy says, “I am constantly amazed at how focused Kris is in his creation of his stop motion animated movies. I don't think many 14 year olds can spend five to six hours at a time day after day painstakingly moving characters and the camera around. I know I would go nuts! He always surprises me too with the wonderful camera moves and angles he uses – they are very cinematic!

Batman Out of Character is a job well done by Kris and Kurtis Theorin. We’re glad to see they work together much better than the characters in the film!

Check out this time lapse of Kris taking down the Batman Out of Character set for an idea of what goes into creating a LEGO stop motion animation - time lapse made using iStopMotion!