Topic: Brickfilm of the Week: Writer's Block (May 1, 2015)

This week’s Brickfilm of the Week is Writer's Block by Kevin Horowitz and Jacob Schwartz.

Writer’s Block follows the story of a writer who is transported to a surreal world after he gets writer's block. It was made in 2007 by Kevin Horowitz and Jacob Schwartz for their school’s film festival, where it won Best Animated Film. It also was nominated for many Brick Award for the Film Arts awards (a precursor to the Bricks in Motion Awards) and won Best Director. Kevin Horowitz (Quigibo) and Jacob Schwartz (Fractalman) were two members of and also made films such as Flight of the Penguin and People Come In, Pizzas Come Out.

Watch Writer's Block on YouTube


On the surface, Writer’s Block is a very simple story: writer can’t think of anything to write, sleeps on it, then decides to write about his difficulties coming up with something to write. What makes Writer’s Block stand out is its surreal approach to the crucial part of the story: how the writer comes to the idea of writing about writer’s block.  Through a series of bizarre and otherworldly images, Kevin Horowitz and Jacob Schwartz animation strange, morphing shapes that only stop-motion really can pull off. The use of bright, solid LEGO pieces for certain shapes reflects a very deliberate choice and use of color and shape. Ultimately the conclusion to the film is pedestrian, but the journey to the end is the real draw of this film.

What are your thoughts on Writer’s Block? What did you like about it? What do you think of the surreal imagery? Did you have a favorite moment?

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Writer's Block (May 1, 2015)

Quite a unique brickfilm with a great story. It was quite predictable in the middle of the film, but I still enjoyed the ending and the irony it used. Most of the sets were very simplistic, one even consisting of just plates, but they were still well done, and the simplicity didn't draw away from the film at all. I really like this film, and I think every writer can relate to it in some way.

"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31b

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Writer's Block (May 1, 2015)

Horowitz and Schwartz are true geniuses. This especially shows true in Writer's Block. From the simple story that quickly becomes engaging, to the otherworldly sets, it's easy to see these two were a shoe in for the Brick Awards. With so many positive, intriguing, and innovative elements to this brickfilm, it's hard to even begin to start on the things I love about it!

However, if I did have to pick out Writer's Block's strongest point, it's probably its animation. Small and easily overlooked movements such as tapping fingers or little struts just before breaking into running really stand out. Not only do they make the characters appear more realistic, but, also give them more personality! As for the grandfather clock, I could hardly even tell it was animated! The movements are so smooth and flowing, I nearly assumed it was actual video pasted on-top of the still frames. Such an effect seems almost impossible for 12, 15, or even 30 fps, yet, these two brickfilmers pull it off nicely.

Another really strong point of Writer's Block is its cinematography and presentation - specifically the lighting. The film is lit spectacularly. Nothing looks overly dark to the point of standing out, and, the lighting isn't too flat either.

Overall, I think Writer's Block is a bit Tim Burton-esque in presentation. And, while that's not specifically a bad thing, it's just not exactly to my tastes as a film maker. I usually much prefer lighter and more fantastical pieces over ones filled with suspense from the whole "un-known" aspect of a dream world.

However, it's easy to see that what Horowitz and Schwartz did wasn't just accident. The lighting, mood, and atmosphere is perfectly crafted to portray a sort of world where nightmares aren't quite frightening, and dreams aren't cheerful flashbacks. Writer's Block is a perfect film to watch late at night, especially as a fellow brickfilmer and writer, as it perfectly captures that feeling of just falling asleep, without fully giving in. - Something I've all but fallen victim to on several occasions being a night owl. mini/tongue

Though some visuals aren't exactly to my liking - the overall film is. Writer's Block is sure to be a brickfilm I'll come back to again and again.
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Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Writer's Block (May 1, 2015)

That was quite an interesting film.
While the story is a bit simple, the execution gives it a nice depth.

As has been said, the film is full of sweet animation moments like the clock, the water fountain, and the shifty thing at 4:15.
The latter two were especially impressive, and did much to increase the visual complexity of the respective scenes.
Often, it's small things like those that can launch a film from being good, to being great.

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Writer's Block (May 1, 2015)

I remember seeing this brickfilm in the past.  I truly enjoyed it and am so happy to see it as a featured animation!

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