This is the first exercise we were given in this unit and it was to find an animation that we like, upload a link to a clip and discuss what you enjoy about, whether it be through its style, narrative or ideas.
“I’m a monster”
This is a 2D animated piece developed by the studio ‘Headless Productions’ (sometimes known as ‘Headless’) as teaser to their project to give an idea of the mood and look they wanted for the film and its characters.
This short takes place in the living room of a tacky, yet cozy looking suburban home, we get our first look at the characters we can see the quirky and eccentric style choices they were going for, certain character parts are exaggerated to immediately familiarise us with the character, for example with the dog, it’s nose is almost the size of its head, this being a way to show that its more in tune with its animal instincts, although that would already be clear to some considering its a dog, but design choices and the attention to detail like in that example is one of the many reasons why I love this short.
When the mother character enters the attic, we hear and see the light bulb flickering, thanks to many popular tropes, we can tell this is building up to something happening in the attic, the character calls out to a ‘Sam’ that we are not yet aware of, and then mocks Sam by doing an impression of something they said outside of the clip, we get an understanding of what this character is like, she then continues to be focused on the light bulb, only for a shadowy figure with glowing eyes (for the audience to focus on as the light bulb is not working) to emerge and roar at her, causing the light to shake and her hair to blow about, we see that the mother character has remained unflinching, soon after the light flickers again and we get a look at this figure, revealing a Muppet-like character design, who looks appears much more friendly upon second glance. The mother character mutters “You dummy” and the monster, who we are to presume is Sam is unable to contain his giggles.
With the exchanges they give to one another, we can decipher that these two characters are close and that this isn’t the first time he has tried scaring her, giving a history to these characters making them feel more human, which is ironic, considering Sam’s form, we were led to believe that he was a monster, yet revealed himself to be a fun-loving, capable person, teaching us a small lesson in not to judge others based on their appearances.
When both characters leave for the kitchen, we see Sam hit his head on the door frame inflicting damage on both himself and the actual frame, as we see the effects of it, and in the same scene as the camera pans while he walks, we see another damaged door frame that this time he makes an effort to avoid after not paying attention the first time, this gives the house lots of character, as we can actually see how the characters have lived, like mentioned earlier, its the attention to detail that keeps me coming back to this short, I feel familiar with the characters.
More reasons why I love this short is the animation, its so expressive and fluid, everything looks so smooth in motion, and you can see the amount of love the animators for this have put into their craft, especially in the pencil tests we can find, and its a good example how far animation has come, we can see the characters interact with the backgrounds, like with Sam and the door frame mentioned above, and when he knocks his daughters cereal box over all while keeping to the style of the background, years back you could tell what in the background would be interacted with due to their different visual style.
This short was developed in 2009/10 and since then, not much else has been heard about it, and if its still being developed, it may have been silently cancelled, which is upsetting to hear, as I had a lot of hopes for this project, but its a nice thought that others can see his and take influence on it to develop their own future ideas. It has a good message, likeable characters, a beautiful art style and fluid animation, the one flaw you can consider would be the lip sync, especially on Sam, which is understandable, as his mouth is a lot more large and possibly more experimental, all of these factors are what makes it one of my favourite animated pieces.