DICKENS VS. T.REX


The Charles Dickens project was first described to me as "a simple animation of Dickens pointing to various historic images… a film projector, an old radio, some image of the industrial revolution, etc. Our budget is limited so the animation can be very simple and lips don't even need to move when Dickens is speaking."

I received the recorded narration from the museum, which contained lots of thumps and booms from the microphone being bumped.  The only way to disguise this distraction was to make the film appear as though it was as old as Dickens himself.  Record pops, lo-fi filters and some subtle sound effects were added to the audio (thank you cleaver studios!) and film grain, dust and scratches were added to the animation.  All the elements are drawn in a hatching pen and ink style, mimicking the illustration style of many of Dickens's books.


See the Dickens animations here

I always try to find ways to make a project as interesting and entertaining as possible without distracting from the message.  So rather than having Dickens simply point to things on the screen, I made a dynamic camera that moves up to the sky to show "man landing on the moon", into a factory during the industrial revolution or though a window and into a family's home during a Christmas scene.  I imaged Charles Dickens might frown upon some of the changes in culture like internet authoring and ebooks, so I tried to add a little bit of attitude and humor wherever possible.   



The Changing View of T.rex takes a documentary approach and combines animation with live action backgrounds to explain how new discoveries change the way scientists (and Hollywood) see this ancient creature.  The script was written to include some improvised, off the cuff moments to make the film less stiff than a typical presentation of facts and theories.  There are parts where the camera seems to be hand held to accentuate that feel.  The backgrounds were mostly flat photos of the museum, offices and labs that needed to cut apart into layers and distributed to different depths to give the feeling of the character being in real 3D space.  



See the Changing View of Trex animation here




Just like the Dickens project, I avoided having a talking head wherever possible.  For example, while the scientist Pete Makovicky is explaining that a T.rex could only run about 18 mph, the camera zooms into a nearby Jurassic Park poster which fills the screen and becomes a scene showing T.rex being outrun by a Jeep and even a bicycle.  In another scene, Pete's drawing of T.rex on the chalkboard comes to life and because its just been given feathers (a more recent theory about many dinosaurs), it tries to fly by violently flapping its tiny arms. When it doesn't catch air, it slumps down defeated.  It's these instances when we are taken out of reality that make the film really memorable.   And it's these moments that can only be done with animation.


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