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LBB Film Club: Ladder To You

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In a time where isolation is present more than ever, the team at Eyebolls have created a tear-jerking clip following one octogenarian’s quest to never forget his true love

LBB Film Club: Ladder To You

The theme of loneliness is often touched upon in advertisements and short clips and in a world where being alone is vital to ensure your own safety, it has never been discussed more. Perhaps pre-empting this, the team at Eyebolls have created a heartwarming and uplifting short film, ‘Ladder to You’, following octogenarian Eric. The stop motion animated character is tired of life without his wife Elsie and when he misplaces his beloved picture of her, a journey begins.

This story is one about love and hope that will stay with viewers long after they finish – it will even bring a tear or two to some eyes! We spoke to Eyebolls’ executive creative producer, Victoria Watson, to hear all from creating the clip to the inspiration behind it.

LBB> What is the message you're trying to send out through this piece?

Victoria> We wanted to make people think about isolation and the way older people are treated in our society. In Leith where we live and work you see a lot of old people wandering about and people just ignore them. They don't think of their stories and their history and the isolation a lot of them face day to day. We wanted to make people realise that a lot of elderly people have had loves and lives and we shouldn't forget them in our busy lives. We made our film before Coronavirus, but we guess a lot of people are now getting a little taste of what isolation can feel like. It's taken a massive crisis to make people take a step back and think more of those around us. We also wanted to create a romantic story. The idea of people being with each other for life, the idea of love still being there and that believing in it can lead to hope. 

 

LBB> What went into designing the character of Eric? Did he take a long time?

Victoria> We went through a lot of sketching to get the right feel for his character. We wanted the audience to really empathise with him and feel his isolation. We had a clear picture in our head, of a warm old man, a mixture of our grandparents rolled into a little 3D printed man with paper eyes. We modelled his head and hands in CGI then 3D printed them (and variations), these were then sanded and painted. We wanted to create a very textural piece so we used paper for the eyes, eyebrows and mouths. We enlisted a local fashion designer Holly Mitchell (Totty Rocks - they make suits for Nicola Sturgeon) to create his tiny suit and pyjamas. In total it took a few months from initial design to final finished model.

 

LBB> What was the stop motion animation process like in this piece? How long did it last and what were the interesting technical challenges?

Victoria> The stop motion animation itself took three weeks in total. Our lead animator Micheal Hughes is extremely talented and has worked on the likes of Isle of Dogs, Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankenweenie. I also helped out with some shots in order to get it all finished on time. We were working to a tight budget and deadline, we managed to pull in a lot of favours but there were a few technical challenges. Firstly our 'studio' was in the basement of our office and wasn't really a proper studio, and so we had an extra member of crew - the studio rat. This meant we had to move whilst we were in the middle of filming. We managed to turn our own office into a new studio and finished the rest of the shots. We had a lot to do in post afterwards but thankfully we had Thomas Selway in our studio who worked solidly for six weeks cleaning up rigs, adding in skies, comping in shots, giving the film the finishing touches.

 

LBB> It's a really warm, human story - why was stop motion the right medium to tell it?

Victoria> There were some bits of magical realism in the script that suited the idea of stop motion, we also wanted a kind of innocence to the story that we felt stop motion was perfect for. We also wanted to show that an animated character could still fill the audience with emotion. It felt like by doing it this way we got to the real emotional heart of the story. It becomes more universal.

  

LBB > On a personal note, what was the inspiration behind this piece?

Victoria> The inspiration was from characters we have seen in Leith and from my grandmother (Chris). Her husband was killed when my mum was just three and she never met anyone else. All her life she said my grandfather was her only love. I just wanted to write a piece that captured the loneliness she must have felt, but also the power of a love that was so strong.


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EYEBOLLS, Tue, 07 Apr 2020 11:33:10 GMT