Drinkaware is a new client who approached me to make a film for Alcohol Awareness Week highlighting the mental health impact of excessive drinking. Intended to be short and direct with the aim of driving viewers to the Drinkaware website for advice on how to cut down and more information about the links between alcohol, depression and anxiety.
The film had a very short turnaround time, so I drew heavily on their existing brand design. Fortunately, their bold colours and clear pictograms lent themselves perfectly to my style of film making, so even with just a few days to make the film, I believe we were able to create an impactful short animation. As usual, it was created in Adobe Animate, and the film can be viewed both on the Drinkaware website and on YouTube.
Made during the early months of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, the release of my latest TED-Ed film fortuitously coincided with a flurry of news about the possible efficacy of steroids for treating COVID-19. It explains how corticosteroids enter our cells and can help fight allergic reactions, rashes, asthma, and harmful immune responses.
Anees Bahji is the educator behind the script supplied by TED-Ed, from which I designed and animated the film. As is often the case with films for TED-Ed, the challenge is to make often quite abstract ideas easy to grasp (what do steroids look like? How do you show the ways in which they interact with the human body?) Often I also face my own steep learning curve, when trying to depict activity at a molecular level.
Another new work for the School of Life YouTube channel, this time tackling anger. Specifically, it considers those who are slow to anger, and whether timidity might not be a hindrance. Is it possible that we can learn to be angry in a constructive way, rather than raging blindly, or just bottling it up until we explode? This is a short film which teaches us to speak up when we need to.
The film is developed from Alain de Botton's script and narration, and is the latest in a long series of films I have made for the educational organisation. Most of the films consider aspects of personal growth, and the ways in which we interact with one another. Having tackled depression in my last film for them, anger was another compelling topic with which to grapple. It was animated mostly using Adobe Animate and, to a lesser extent, Adobe After Effects.
Starting from an amusing script provided by the client, this animation was an opportunity to create a cast of anthropomorphic plants, some of whom I'd be delighted to take on further adventures! The light-hearted tone is further helped by voiceover from talented performer Louis Jones.
Working with marine ecologist Luka Seamus Wright, my latest animation for TED-Ed explores the origins of life on Earth, and more specifically, where it might have happened. The film takes us to the ocean floor where fissures in the Earth's crust cause hydrothermal vents to spew vast quantities of hot seawater; the probable cradle of life.
The TED-Ed process is to pair educators with animators to combine deep specialised knowledge with a talent for visualisation and thereby produce unique films that make complex subjects easier to understand without ever dumbing down the core lessons. In a sense, TED-Ed is the fissure in ocean floor, animators are the boiling water they spew, and the educators are the rich soup of minerals that bring forth life. I receive the script and voiceover from TED, from which I design and animate the film. I was also responsible for the sound design on this film, which was a lot of fun to make, comprised as it is of deep gurgling and aquatic percolation.
This is my tenth film for TED-Ed, many of which are collected here in my portfolio. Most recently I have taken on particle physics and the impossibility of dividing by zero, so as you will see, the subject matter is seldom light. My aim is also to make it fun.
My newest film for Alain de Botton's School of Life considers ways of coping with depression by examining the crucial differences between that state and sadness. Understanding the nature of this difference is, according to the film's argument, the first step towards reaching self-understanding, and through this, to find a way of dealing with it.
Script and voiceover are provided by The School of Life, for whom I have made several other films, mostly dealing with aspects of psychology. Based on this, I conceive the design and animation in a way intended to compliment the narration. This film was made in Adobe Animate, with some additional texture work applied in Adobe After Effects. There is also a lot of scribbling. I enjoyed that.
Working together with Bristol-based creative agency Modular Digital, my first film for CABI was recently released. CABI (The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) are a non-profit development organisation focussing specifically on agriculture and the environment. The film itself concerns CABI's Action on Invasives campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the impact invasive species have on the rural poor in developing countries.
The animation was based on the illustrations created for CABI's brochure on Invasive Species so that we could focus the viewers' attention on the people most effected by the threat of Invasive Species. Created primarily using Adobe Animate, based on a script and voiceover supplied by CABI and Modular.
My newest film for Alain de Botton's School of Life YouTube channel is not solely about gherkins, but I confess, I did take a throwaway remark about pickles and run with it. It's really about when partners in a relationship can stifle the other's opportunities for growth. In a way, it works as a companion to my earlier film for them entitled "How Can We Grow Emotionally", released earlier last year.
As with previous films for the School of Life, I am given both the script, and Alain de Botton's voiceover to work from. Design and animation is then up to me. The film follows three couples, one of whom is struggling with a threatening new found love of pickles.
Apparently people think that if you multiply zero by a sufficiently large number, eventually it suddenly becomes something.
This was Douglas Adams' famous quote regarding the first dotcom bubble. Almost two decades later it turns out that dividing by zero can yield similarly large amounts. With over 2.7 million views, my film "Why Can't You Divide by Zero?" was one of 2018's top 10 most watched films on the educational animation channel, TED-Ed. The channel released well over 100 films last year, clocking up a staggering 20 million hours of viewing time.
According to an article released on the TED-Ed blog, myths and riddles have proven their most popular topics, with 4 and 2 films on these subjects in the top 10 respectively. Other films concerned Roman history, cannibalism and the stickiness of glue and tape. But at number 7 in the over all viewing figures for the year stands my examination of dividing by zero.
As we begin 2019 my 11th film for TED-Ed is in production, and my 14th film for the School of Life is awaiting release. News of these and work for my other clients will be announced here on my website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Here's to more big numbers over the next 12 months.
The title might suggest you're in for a film on social etiquette, and good behaviour, but in a way my latest work for The School of Life is quite the opposite. Similarly to my last film for them, concerned with not worrying so much whether people like you, this film also urges you not to merely laugh along politely with your host for fear of hurting their feelings. Rather, you should show the candour of a child mixed with the social empathy of a mature adult, and BINGO! You're a lovable eccentric. That or they'll never invite you back, but at least you had some fun, eh?
Script and voiceover are provided by the school's founder, author and philosopher Alain de Botton.
This is the starting point for my designs and conceptualisation, which I then carry through to the final animation. This is my 14th film for the school, and so from now on I have decided, as a little Easter Egg, to add the number of the film in one of the shots.
A general overview of my work for the school, together with links to several previous works can be found here. Themes range from troubled childhoods to the conflict between emotional and emotional growth.