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Sarah & Sarah

Stop-motion filmmakers

95

5

A Stop-Motion Short

TREATMENT

Primary Theme: Childlike Simplicity

We have chosen childlike simplicity as the main theme in our film. We love the way everything appears new and magical through a child’s eyes and their very active imaginations can lead them into their own make believe worlds. Young children have no real sense of danger and we would like to play with this idea, maybe their innocent curiosity could lead them into a dangerous situation. The picture shown below really sparked this idea for us. The fearless child is being unknowingly lured into a monster’s lair with her curiosity and playfulness getting the better of her.

References: Labyrinth, Where the Wild Things are, Bridge to Terabithia, The Neverending Story, The Faraway Tree

Secondary Themes:

The Paranormal

We have a fascination with the paranormal, not just ghosts and ghouls but things that create an eerie unsettling atmosphere. The idea of being out in the open and still being creeped out by noises or the dark and having nowhere to hide from something you are unable to explain. Whilst researching the paranormal we came across a Malaysian myth, the pole ghost. It is a very tall and thin ghost found amongst trees and bamboo and the only way to make it disappear is to snap a twig. We found this imagery of snapping a twig to make the ghost vanish really intriguing and could be an idea to incorporate into our story.

References: Slender Man, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Others

Life & Death

Being stop-motion animators we are constantly giving life to our puppets, things that on their own have no soul or character until we breathe life into them. Life and death has always been an enticing topic for us and has played a strong part in many of our previous films, particularly The Cave. This ties in with our love of the paranormal and particularly ghosts. It is so captivating for us since nobody knows what actually happens when you die which leaves it open to such much creativity and imagination. One film in particular that we both love is ‘The Fountain’. The way it plays with life and death in three different time zones is amazing and a pleasure to watch over and over again.

References: The Fountain, The Tree of Life, Melancholia, Sleepy Hollow

Setting

We are thinking about having our film set in a wintery forest. Forests and trees have always been a love of ours, they are so beautiful and natural that it’s hard for them not to have a certain draw. Forests are places that are easy to get lost in and they can feel like they are never ending. We have chosen a wintery forest in particular as snow has such a magical aura, especially for children, and the fresh white snow draws parallels with children’s pure innocence. On the other hand snow is cold and at times unwelcoming. It can be unnerving not knowing what the snow is covering and can be very disorientating.

Sound

We would like this film to have no dialogue and instead use the animation to tell the story. Sometimes words are unnecessary to get the message across.

Aesthetics

We plan to make this film using stop-motion puppet animation. We would like it to have a more stylistic design aspect to it than in our previous films. Below are some reference images for the visual style and colours of this film.

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Together we create stop-motion animations however, we always have difficulty in the beginning at coming up with a narrative. We felt this course would be a perfect opportunity to help our creative juices flow and end up with a story full of depth and all the things we love.

INITIAL BRAINSTORM

We both brainstormed separately and joined them together at a later stage. Quite a lot of the ideas were very similar to each other, this is probably why we work so well together :) Here are a few of our favourite ideas, images and films…

  • Stop-motion and it’s imperfection
  • Surrounded by trees
  • Forests, Moss & lichen, Intertwining branches
  • Trees with personalities
  • Anthropomorphised animals, Majestic & mystical beasts
  • Childlike simplicity
  • Silly creatures that make you smile
  • Strange and unusual stories, Things not quite as they seem
  • Life & Death
  • Female Heroines

Our Pinterest ideas board

Here are some stop-motion short films which really inspire us...

Cat with Hands

Cat With Hands - Robert Morgan

Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf - Suzie Templeton

The Maker

The Maker - Christopher Kezelos

Madame Tutli-Putli

Madame Tutli-Putli - Clyde Henry Productions

Rung

Rung - Chuck Duke & Jesse Brodkey

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