Starting a new project is a bit like falling in love. There’s the fascination, and the rush, and the excitement. You learn new things about one another. You can’t wait for them to meet your family and friends. Every second you’re with them is charged, blessed. And you miss them when they’re not there.
Inevitably, these feelings evolve over time, and what you’re left with is dedication, commitment, and a mutual appreciation of one another, (I’m told.) The good days are good and the bad days are bad. You can no longer apply the rose-tinted filter. Yet you’re constantly reminded of why you fell in love in the first place.
Please excuse the slightly pretentious analogy, but it’s genuinely how I feel about this latest venture. In April, I splashed cold water in my face, shut myself in my bedroom, stayed in my pyjamas, watched Dad’s Army, and vowed to sort my life out and not be sucked into anymore absurd projects.
Then I saw an episode of The Magic Roundabout, and my heart fluttered. “They just don’t make stuff like this anymore,” I said to myself, a nostalgic glint in my eye. “I wonder if it’s possible to do in Adobe After Effects…?”
I hauled my weary bones over to my desk, fired up my computer, (she’s called River), and began tinkering. My initial idea was to create a world set at the bottom of a waste paper basket, with old pens, pencils and scraps of paper as my main characters. There were also trees that dropped pencil shavings, and a floor made out of crumpled envelopes.
There was only one problem with this idea. It looked pants! So I had a re-think, and decided to input some photos of the boxes that my Lady Don’t Fall Backwards books came in. I used these as my ‘base’ for everything else – the trees, the sky, the clouds, and then, finally, my characters, who walked fully-formed into my head. (Although one of them is a tartan Scottish mug called Hamish, so perhaps I was just being shamelessly stereotypical…!)
How to sum up this trippy world I’ve created? It’s kind of The Magic Roundabout meets Button Moon meets Mr Benn meets The Woodentops. It’s been crafted in the style of an old children’s show from the late 1950s, so it has all the film dirt and the hiss and the crackle, with the ‘puppet strings’ unashamedly on show.
But why did it remind me of falling in love? I guess because when I ‘discovered’ the idea, I felt an excitement and a passion that totally possessed me. And now, a couple of months in, yes, the feelings have changed somewhat; I’m very aware of the bad days, when River just isn’t playing ball, and will render 2 minute-long sequences WITHOUT the audio, and like it that way! But I’m committed now. I will take a bullet for this project!
So – expect 10 x 5 minute episodes with you no time soon, but definitely in the distant future.
More info to come!