If— (2021)


So, this animation came to be as a project for one of my classes. The prompt was to take a preexisting poem, and make some concepts for a visual version of it. As animators, we had seen such a film in another class, so I was intrigued by the idea intriguing in the first place. Then my partner for the (group) project said he had a poem in mind, and showed me this:

Original Poem

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Linked at Poetry Foundation

So Then...

I hadn't read the poem before, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I made some concept drawings:

Some Ideas
Some Ideas (which we decided to run with)

The scope of the project was two weeks, and we were not expected to create the whole animatic. But by this point I felt like I couldn't live if I didn't visualize the images swimming in my head. So Karson recorded the audio and I made the animatic.

The itch has been relieved, but I do wonder sometimes, if this could someday become something more...


Adobe Photoshop 2021 - Concept Art
ToomBoom Storyboard Pro - Animatic


Voice - Karson LaForce
Original Poem - Rudyard Kipling
Music Score - Lane King

Special Thanks

Karson LaForce - for the poem
Kevin Bauer - advisor
Graduate Seminar class, Fall 2021 - the (first) audience
Parents - for sharing the excitement