Without the pursuit of love and happiness, breath is simply the sand of an hourglass pouring away to our time of passing. Love is the reason we are alive. To spend even a moment in misery is a moment wasted. Love is the goal of humanity. Everyone has or will experience love in its many forms over the course of a lifetime. Many, out of ignorance, habit, or sheer desperation, will fall in love with the wrong person. Most of us have or will have that one failed relationship, the one we reflect on as the relationship that taught us the most about who we are, what makes us happy, and what we seek or try to avoid in a mate. Through failure we learn what we can improve about ourselves. We learn that there are no perfect people and to try to make them that way is a losing battle, a never-ending, fruitless effort. Regardless, we will always try. Our happiness is dependent upon our honesty in defining ourselves. That is, if you are not happy, you cannot make yourself so simply by ignoring your own needs and catering to the needs of others. Additionally, you cannot make others happy by projecting your happiness upon them. When we are happy, we are being honest, even if only with ourselves. Unhappiness is wanting. If our needs are not being met, we seek to fulfill them, regardless of the consequences and often at the expense of our relationships and those we care about. In Self Fish, the hero has all that he needs, all except someone to share his life with. He is in search of a companion that he can love and who will love him in return. He is wary, as anyone would be, of welcoming someone into his world. Eventually He finds what he thinks will be a loyal, low-maintenance companion: the fish. We all know that in real life, fish are not a pet that one would typically consider affectionate. You can't touch or pet a fish, and fish do not show loyalty or attachment. They can't coexist in our environment without a substantial investment in special equipment. And, although fish owners insist on naming and assigning personality traits to their beloved aquatic friends, fish have but one facial expression, and are not capable of even simulating emotion. We are nothing to fish but a potential predators or potential prey. The fish character in my film is a metaphor for just this sort of emotional detachment. My fish character does emote; it shows significant discomfort, but does not reciprocate the love the hero has for the fish. It only admires its own reflection. Try as he might to please the fish, the hero cannot convince the fish to love him in return. His love turns to frustration, then to desperation, to resentment, and eventually to hatred. In the end he is helplessly trapped in an unreciprocated relationship where all amenities favor the fish. I have played the role of the main character depicted in my film many times in my life, but, more often than not, I have played the role of the fish. To those for whom I have been a fish, I sincerely apologize for my self-fishness. Please consider this story as an acknowledgement of guilt and an attempt to convey my regret for having treated you so cruelly. It seems one needs to be a fish before he can become a man. One needs to be a man before he can realize he has been a fish.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Human-animal relationships--Drama; Selfishness--Drama

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Palyka, Duane

Advisor/Committee Member

Lester, Howard


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TR897.7 .R644 2010


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