While looking at some of the winners and shortlisted animations entered into festivals we came across an animation that had made the shortlist for depict last year, entitled, ‘Death in space’ by Thomas Lucas.
After reading a little more into the competition itself we decided as a team that this would be one of the film festivals we would aim to target.
Depict film festival is based in Bristol and challenges film makers to see what imaginative piece of film they can create in 90 seconds and hence began the ideation process…
As a group we were trying to decide what type of story we could convey in 90 seconds, what medium it would be, the genre… but what we couldn’t get away from was the simple and quick nature of the comedy in ‘Death in Space’ so as a group we discussed it and decided that we wanted to create something fun – a short that would make people laugh and one that we would enjoy making.
We started looking into other shorts similar to Death in Space:
Dead moon walking: Similar to ‘Death in Space’, this is a compilation of quick, funny gags surrounding the subject of space and expecting the unexpected, how something we wouldn’t think twice about doing on Earth can have dire consequences in a different environment eg. the die-ving board.
We enjoyed the quick nature of the gags, that it was a compilation/ series of events involving the same character each time. Another aspect that stood out and appealed to us, was the fact that there was no story, the artists didn’t have to spend time setting up each joke, it was snappy and straight to the point.
Fallout: A series of shorts based on surviving in a post apocalyptic world. Similar to the previous example in that it involves the same character but different as it resembles the style of a Public Safety Announcement, with the use of a narrator who interacts with the character and explains the situation, the narrator and character show the audience the consequences of not using your abilities properly and the outcomes of following the narrator’s advice. However the style is different to death in space as it has a slightly more developed storyline and backstory but still utilises the ‘expected the unexpected’ comedy aspect.
Simon’s cat: This differs slightly from the previous shorts as it is a youtube series of videos varying in length but all still surrounding the character of Simon and his cat – again revolving around the same set of characters.
Like the other examples there is no real story behind each episode however, the artists do spend more time covering the arc/topic of each episode but they aren’t as quick or a compilation of shorts.
Youtube channel: Simon’s cat
Cyanide and Happiness: A 2D youtube series, again as this is a series, each episode has a decent storyline but they really are just ridiculous – the story usually ends in a completely unexpected nature which in turn adds to the comedy of the series.
A tale of Momentum and Inertia: A 90 second short with more of a developed storyline than the previous examples. The artists spend a little more time establishing the story and conveying the character’s world to the audience, however it does still have that unexpected comedy element at the end of the short: people see a monster and start attacking… there is a great sense of timing within this short.
ASDF: Another set of quick, fast gags however these compilations have no real story to them and are all a little too random. Although we did like ‘I like trains’ and that the action comes completely out of nowhere, at times the audience are left in anticipation to see if and when the train is going to appear.
Action Bunnies: Similar to the ASDF compilations however I have to say that I personally, enjoyed Action Bunnies more. Some of the jokes follow ‘expect the unexpected’ eg.. Keep off the grass, which is an element we should keep in mind if we were to choose to create something of a similar nature. The re-using of the bomb inside different types of people is one of the jokes that I really did enjoy, as a viewer you knew it was coming but for some reason the other character just couldn’t catch on which was enjoyable to watch. Again the artists are using the same characters throughout each episode without following a fully developed storyline.
Dumb ways to die: Just a compilation of short, unexpected examples of dumb ways to die. We did like the seriousness of some of the clips juxtaposed with the style and song, completely removing them from the fact that they do and can happen.
Happy Tree Friends: A television series that looks like something children would watch but in fact is not suitable for children at all… it takes ‘expecting the unexpected’ to a whole new level.
Mac and Cheese: An animated short that really pulls off the element of surprise, the chase sequence ends with a completely different action than that which is anticipated by the audience. This short also has a painterly style which we really admire, along with the camera angles and cuts…
As a group we have decided that we prefer the shorts which are a series of quick gags to a short story. We feel that with many short stories they often take too long to get to the point which, turns out, the audience have already seen coming. Instead we have decided we want to create a compilation of quick and funny shorts – short episodes, examples being Death in Space and Dead moon walking, something that will be fun to create and more importantly get a laugh out of an audience.