Why I'm doing an animation (and what I've learned so far)

I wanted to make a short version of my script Love is an open claw, but it requires some movie magic CGI stuff that seems ridiculous for a two minute movie - I thought the best option would be animation. Having zero skills in this area I'm cheating immensely and basically tracing over stuff I've found on google images and making it move. Despite my lack of ability in one of the most impressive art forms it's actually really rewarding - at this early stage (I have 6 completed shots of around 24) the process of tracing over images in photoshop and moving them a tiny amount at a time in after effects is just the right amount of challenging and enjoyable. 

Still I feel a bit weird about doing this - I have enormous respect for animators. I think it's one of the hardest things in the world and taken for granted by most people, and I almost feel guilty for having such a slap dash approach to publishing animated stuff when real animators will spend months or years on something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkARp7dqSBk

Nevertheless I'm having a blast doing it anyway, I feel like I'm learning a lot about animation and film making generally. One thing I've found is that in opposition to shooting live action where you can create depth from the natural world - say placing the camera behind a door frame or through a window - you have to put it there yourself when working from scratch, and it's really easy to forget to do, a lot of shots can look really flat. 

The same goes for movement - there's a scene in Love is an open claw where a characters sits in a parked car and texts someone, which looked terrible before I added a van driving by (I'm thinking of adding a squirrel too). I'm trying to think of a completely still shot in a movie and am drawing a blank - even in films which are known to have slow moments like Kubrick or Ghibli films there can't be more than a second where images don't move.

Part of the reason I think animated stuff is so pretty is that everything is designed from the bottom up - no shots are 'found' like in live action where on location, a lazier director or photographer might set the camera up wherever is convenient (I've seen this first hand on a terrible independent feature where the director told me to 'just stand over there' and film, and it's a mistake so many amateur directors make). Working with a blank screen forces you to put intent behind every pixel - everything is there for a reason which is why films don't get much prettier and emotionally manipulative than high-budget animation.

I have to keep reminding myself to put this intent in every shot, and it's so tempting to be lazy and just trace the first appropriate image I find on google. Still, I'm finding more and more appreciation for animation. Here's some stills...