Spin

Mid April I received an email from Katie at Whirlygig Cinema. Their 3rd birthday was fast approaching, and they were sending out a call for short films to be screened at a celebratory event at the Hackney Picturehouse. CycleCities was nearing completion, so I had a crazy thought. Perhaps after months of continuous animating, I could make another animation straight afterwards! Most normal people would have probably put down their pencil and headed off to the pub. Yet, I managed to push past the temptation and saw this as a great opportunity to refresh the mind and loosen up the hand. Not to mention that Hackney Picturehouse is my beloved local cinema, making it nothing short of a pleasure to have my film screened there to a cinema-loving audience. So our desires aligned and I set out to start making the film as soon as I had finished CycleCities.

The brief was loose. We were open to create a film inspired by the 'Whirlygig' and the concept of 'spinning'. The only two rules were; that the title had to be Spin, and limited to 5 minutes long - being animation, I was sticking to the minute mark and not much longer! Having little to no restrictions always sounds fantastic at first, but it's also potentially daunting. Especially in animation as you can make anything happen, opening up an unlimited array of possibilities - enough to make your head spin.

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I self-imposed some guidance to avoid creating a nonsensical mess. I decided to restrict myself to one theme only, which was 'a day at the beach'. My decision behind this theme was mostly down to the fact that Whirlygigs are synonomous with summer time and the beach certainly conjures spinning objects - often unwelcome by the serious sun-bathers. So I started drawing and remembering times long past that I spent sunning myself and body surfing in the waves of Western Australia. I decided I would make the whole film one continuous shot, so it would be as though the camera was spinning along with the objects.

I started to piece together the action with a series of thumbnails, later arranging these into a rough animatic. A few transitions were altered during production and some parts were cut altogether. In this instance I didn't follow the storyboard as closely as I usually would, partly because I was impatient to get started, but also because I wanted to explore and experiment as I went along. In the end this worked out well for me, finding some of my most interesting transitions during the animating process.

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In the spirit of freedom, I decided to try a new colouring medium and bought myself a selection of Letraset markers. Although I later found that they easily seeped through the paper and became a little 'toxic' when I was laying down large portions of colour. They also kept running out of ink! Despite the wonderful array of colours and tips that come with these pens, they aren't ideal to use for animation.

After a couple of weeks of drawing, I looked up from my lightbox to find the film submission deadline staring straight back at me. Thankfully the film was finished, but I still needed to find a soundtrack. Luck would look down on me when I started searching on Vimeo's new sound enhancer feature. To my complete surprise, I found a track that fit perfectly with the film, almost within the second. The composer Waylon Thornton, whose work can be found at the following website: waylonthornton.tumblr.com, had allowed his music to be used under a free non-commercial licensing agreement. The music had been sorted and film was ready to upload!

One week later my boyfriend, myself and a friend made our way across to Hackney Picturehouse to enjoy the Whirlygig birthday party. The Hackney Attic was packed with Whirlygig supporters keen to celebrate the night away with a broad selection of film and music. Halfway through the evening the 'Spin' films one-by-one lit up the screen. I was happy to see my film up on the big screen and really glad that I had contributed to such a great evening.