I found this short film last night. It have very interesting narrative style. The story is talking about a girl who is destroyed by rumors through social network, such as web-board and Facebook.
Beside showing the film alone, the filmmaker uses interesting strategies to communicate with audiences, such as putting some videos, which were created as private videos from the characters' mobile phone, into YouTube as hints. This may lead to the feeling of semi-reality, and encourages audiences to further understand the background.
Pop-up book inspired animated films are an attempt to combine pop-up bookʼs features and animation devices to create a contemporary style which is unique and can stand out from present ordinary films. Tools for communication have always been developed throughout the history of humankind in order to create new media which are more effective and more attractive. Although interactive books, such as moveable books and pop-up books, have been successful media since the thirteenth century, they have some limited properties leading to difficulties of access, such as high production-cost, limited dissemination and short life span. (Harrington and Zaghini, 2002)
Coles (2007) holds the view that the era of printed learning material for new generations has passed. Modern audiences tend to be more interested in electronic media. He also believed that young audiences do not directly learn anything from books on their first read, but they are initially attracted by its visual inventiveness. Once attracted, they will gradually learn through repeatedly receiving the media. By transforming pop-up books into animation device, audiences will benefit by being able to access resources more easily, cheaply and more frequently.
The visual of the film was presented in the interesting style which is so unique and contemporary. Although the whole of visual elements, such as characters and environments, was designed based on western design principles which emphasise recognisable silhouette, the artist attempted to put oriental elements into the workpiece. Costumes, props and graphic patterns could be seen clearly that they were affected by oriental culture. In consequence, audiences could sense the combination between two parts of the world.
The Happy Duckling is an achieved short animation film which be created through pop-up styles. It could provide great achievement in attracting both children and adult, and be widely appreciated around worldwide. Many awards, such as the best animation films of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award, could guaranty the successful of this film. Gili Dolev, the director, got an initial idea from an illustration, then develop the idea with association of university-students. Beside the unique visualisation and style, the music is an important factor on impressing audiences effectively too. (The Scottish Animation Group, 2009)
Old Man and the Sea, 1999 (Alexander Petrov)
I watched this film at IMAX Cinema long time ago when I was in Thailand.
"Another way to talk about the richness and complexity of picture books is to notice how they differ from illustrated books. In the illustrated book, an image on the opposite page shows, more or less, what is happening in the text; the illustration is an aid to imagining but not necessary. But in the very best picture book, image and text are essential to each other and interact."
"Neither the words alone, nor the picture alone, is sufficient. Separately, each tells a different story. Together, they mean something more."
The Lovefield, 2008 (Mathieu Ratthe)
The Lovefield was satisfaction in using visual elements in rhetoric although there were a small number of scripts and dialogues. It showed the power of visual in narrative because it did not narrate directly, but gave many hints to encourage audiences forward imagine stories in their own idea. This initially oppressed audience's emotions then relieved them. Audiences do not just play the perceive role of messages, but the film encourage them to do critical thinking.
This is what I'm interested to work on my project. It's a short animated film which is presented in pop-up book inspired style. I think that it has good narrative in impressive style.
Ford Pop-up, 2010 (The Mill New York)
Pop-up animation style could be used in television commercial. The Ford Focus (2009) is created by using the pop-up animation style to represent the car’s contemporary design beside fuel economy and interactive driver ability. (The Inspiration Room, 2009)
However, because the target group is adult. The production team have to concern on the way which commercial would be presented. The UK Screen Association (2009) cites on Francois Roisin’s interview, who is one of the directors, that the challenge of creating this project is making it is playful, but not childish. The commercial presents the car revolve around the pop-up book, which is created in 3-dimension technique as the real one should be, in a single continuous camera shot. This leads to the semi-realistic feeling which is matched to the intention. In addition, the most significant thing of producing commercials is responding to client’s requirement. The UK Screen Association mentions Angus Kneale’s words about the Ford Focus that “It's fresh, design'y, stylish and playful - which is everything the client wanted to convey about the new 2010 model.” (Kneale, 2009)
The Settler 7 Cinematic, 2010 (Ubisoft)
Unfortunately, I could not find the English version. However, the first 45 seconds of the film are presented in pop-up animated style which my project is interested.
In the term of visual, the images and arts are created based on children's picture book style. Everything, such as characters, props and environments, is designed by using obvious silhouette. This could attract audiences, and play a significant role in helping them to recognise. Strong stroke-painting style and smooth colours also help audiences to think of children's books which they read when they were young, and may encourage their good feeling. Due to the style, the film is successful in creating the feeling of 'bed-time story' or 'Aesop's fables' which matchs to imagined world.
In the term of narrative, the film use turning over pages as its main narrative beside using narrator's voice. The good interaction between verbal (script) and visual make the film could fast narrate complicate messages to audiences effectively. Moreover, turing over pages bring surprising feeling to audiences when many things appear from pages. This encourage audiences to follow up what is going next. Thus It has good narrative in impressive style.
I read an interesting book about the methodology of narrative, and found that it is very useful for my project since the project attempts to use pop-up book's abilities in animation's devices.
Styles and Bearne (2003) cited Nikolajevaʼs work that the methodology of conveyance in picture books and films are similar. Both of them are synthetic media which encourage audienceʼs perception by using the interaction between verbal and visual.
There are 3 types of interaction. Firstly, the symmetrical interaction is repeating same information in different devices. Secondly, the enhancement interaction is extending the meaning of verbal by using visual, or vice versa. Finally, the counterpoint interaction is the cooperation of verbal and visual in order to convey messages beyond using solely one of them.
In short animated films, I believe that filmmakers should be concerned on using the interaction between verbal and visual cause of limited time in conveyance messages.
Styles, M. ed. and Bearne, E. ed., (2003). Art, narrative and childhood: edited by morag styles and eve bearne. n.p., Trentham Books Limited