Behind the scenes on the type-based stop motion film Txt Island

"Txt Island wasn't all finished 'in camera' however. I have used After Effects a lot to enhance the footage I shot. The camera I used was a monochrome machine vision industrial camera, so all colour has been added in post, also the scenes requiring multiple duplications and really large scenery were digitally assembled.

"For the soundtrack I called on the help of musician and sound designer Russell Pay. From our initial discussions, he worked on the music and audio track, pretty much full-time for about a month in total.

DA: What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

CG: "The biggest challenge in making any short film is the age old balance of time, money and other commitments. I was working full-time while I was making this film, so had to do most of this in the wee small hours.

"Working on a self-funded project like this means you can't employ lots of helpers, so -- apart from the soundtrack -- I took on all of the technical and creative aspects of the piece. I suppose I just learnt to function on less sleep than before..."

DA: Why does stop-motion have such an ongoing appeal?

CG: "Although Txt Island was a personal project, I'm lucky enough to work professionally in an animation studio Tandem where we make all kinds of animation using both traditional and digital techniques. Many of our jobs combine the best of both worlds, and I find this 'mixed-media' approach very rewarding.

"With pure CG there can be an indefinable sense of something missing or lacking, whilst when shooting some real objects, playful experimentation and chance effects also come in to play. I probably learnt more about these letters by moving them around than I might have done working purely in CG.

"Finally I suppose there's the issue of symbolism here, some digital letters moving around would probably be easier to do, but just not so much fun to watch. There's a mental trick at work here, seeing one familiar thing and using it to represent something else.

"I'd like people to enjoy the way the scope of the film seems to grow over time. As TXT Island plays, it seems to be continually trying to outreach its own limitations and I hope audiences enjoy the mini journey it takes them on."

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