The world of non-commercial film and A-V
|The Film and Video Institute||Join us on Facebook|
Hugo and the Runaway Stories by Norman Lilley got a 4-star award at BIAFF 2009.
|It was very gratifying, firstly to get the Animation shield at the Surrey
Film Video Festival, and then to get a four-star rating at the BIAFF for
Hugo and the Runaway Stories, because it was only started as
a bit of fun to keep myself and my son, Chris, ticking along following the
heavy animation work on The Messenger, the last of our
Above & Beyond trilogy. (See Norman's account of making that
Hugo is our grandson and when my wife, Sandra, and I were in Cyprus with him we tended to make up stories on the hoof, as it were. Walking among fallen olives, I kicked one along the ground and started a story about an olive who got fed up with just hanging around with all the others, and set off on his own but he got so far that he was too exhausted to either go on or go back. Then I realised that Hugo was waiting to see what happened next and I had (untypically) gone blank, so I said to Sandra What happened then, grandma?
|Quick as a medium-paced flash, Sandra said Er
well, the tree
snuggled into the ground and later grew up to be a big tree himself and made
plenty of olives for everybody. Musing on this as a way to amuse Hugo
on film, the idea came to me that they would go and seek a story because
they had lost some from a book
and that was that.
A sort of rotoscoping
The technique was the one I always use now, a sort of rotoscoping I suppose. Backgrounds usually start off with a photograph, but I artwork them into what I want, usually putting a black line round the edge to give it a more drawn look. Faces and moving bodies are usually sequenced, but not from moving footage but a series of poses by a helpful model. In Hugos case the pictures nearly all came first; the ones where he was being silly and pulling faces often led to bending the story to fit the expressions. In the Hugo story in particular, I just used the photo heads of him, me and Sandra without treatment, as large heads on cartoon bodies slapdash, really.
I do the story and the artwork and Chris sticks them all together and makes them do what I want, and researches, creates and applies narration and sound effects, using Adobe Premiere. I have now sat for hours watching him do this, and I still have hardly a clue as to how he does it. I wrote the song, he played it and we both sang it. I should add that I lifted the 'runaway' characters from one of Hugo's storybooks so that he would recognise them - I adapted them but I did not create them myself.
When finished, I regarded it as a family and friends thing sort of animated version of baby on the lawn - of no interest to anyone who did not know Hugo and/or me. I was pleasantly surprised otherwise.
- Norman Lilley