“Molly” is a stop-motion animated graduate thesis short film completed at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation and screened in May of 2019.

The film tells a fictional story about a young boy named Elliott whose life has changed both very drastically and very quickly. In what seems like an instant, he loses both his mother and his childhood home and finds himself standing, overwhelmed, in the street in front of his new residence as his life is seemingly being unpacked from the back of a moving truck. He is shell-shocked and feels profoundly alone but soon he, quite literally, stumbles upon the strangest girl and unwillingly becomes a guest at her rather unusual social engagement. Events take a slightly devastating turn but, in the end, both children gain a companionship that they both so desperately needed.

In making this film, I sought to tell a story about acceptance, loneliness, and finding companionship in times of need. I also aimed to make a film that was visually compelling, exemplifying the breadth of my skill in prop, set, and puppet fabrication.

These assets were all made by hand. The film was shot utilizing only in-camera stop motion techniques with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera and Dragonframe software and was assembled in Adobe After Effects CC 2018. The film was screened before an audience of professors and peers.

This thesis paper covers the conceptualization and production of the film as well as the film’s receival upon screening and my final thoughts on the film and process.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Stop-motion animation--Themes, motives; Stop-motion animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Friendship--Drama

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Film and Animation (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CAD)


Peter Murphey

Advisor/Committee Member

Thomas Gasek

Advisor/Committee Member

John Vincent


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes