We All Need Help Sometimes
This animation was my first experience creating a longer form frame by frame animation - it is a response to a brief set by YCN and Childline. The brief asked for an animation depicting a negative situation being resolved, for use on Childline's social media channels and website. Childline suggested the animation could focus on the issues searched most frequently on their site e.g. bullying, depression, abuse, etc. and appeal to 13-18 year olds.
I decided to create a more general animation in order to resonate with a wider group at once, as the struggles of being lost and trying to hang on as well as the claustrophobic feeling created by the black letterboxing could be a metaphor for any of the issues above. I really wanted to convey the journey of accepting help and how this is truly the best way to deal with a situation rather than try to tackle it alone. This is the final animation:
And a styleframe of what I intended the final animation to look like:
During the ideation stages, I spent a long time developing the character design of the main protagonist as I wanted to ensure the character felt relatable to varying ages and genders. At first, I wanted to give the character a young urban feel, but I then realised that this character may look too physically strong for the role. In my later iterations of character designs, I maintained the bright skin colour and triangular nose, but created a character who felt more relatable and not as young, to appeal to the whole target age group.
This simpler character could still provide a range of emotions but would be less complex for me to animate alone.
At the same time, I developed the storyline of the animation. As it couldn't be too complex due to the 60 second limit, I decided to create the story around the character becoming trapped in an unknown environment - I thought this would create a healthy amount of tension while not triggering the audience with depictions of abuse or self harm.
I developed the concept of using the black letterboxing often found above and below videos as a way of creating claustrophobia and slowly increasing tension throughout the animation.
These are the animatics produced for my initial ideas:
From the animatics, I decided that the final concept should involve a forest as the location and maintain the blue character who successfully helps the protagonist just as they are about to be crushed from the pressure of the darkness.
After that, I created a developed storyboard; I used it to create a more detailed animatic which allowed me to properly test pacing and nail down the angles for specific scenes. Both are below: