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Richard Branson Balloons Across the Atlantic in Latest Virgin Animation

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Next instalment in Paper Sky Films series asks “What do you do when there’s an exciting plan? See if you can help then do what you can…”

Richard Branson Balloons Across the Atlantic in Latest Virgin Animation

The second short film in Richard Branson’s ‘Adventure Series’, produced by Paper Sky Films, went live this Monday, which takes audiences back to 1987 when the Virgin founder - along with ballooning expert Per Lindstrand - completed the first transatlantic flight in a hot air balloon at the record-breaking distance of 3,702 miles.   

Paper Sky Films teamed up with Virgin in 2021 to create twelve animated short films, each telling individual stories following Richard Branson’s adventures.

This week’s release, aptly titled: ‘Ballooning Across the Atlantic,’ is a bright, vibrant and colourful animation that showcases Branson’s appetite for adventure despite having no real training, experience or knowledge for what’s required of him.

“I’ve always lived by the idea that when you’re given a great opportunity in life, say yes and figure out how to do it later!”, Branson writes in his blog, where all of the animations will be presented throughout the weeks to come. 

The story is told through a sequence of animated techniques, such as introducing Branson and Lindstrand in a ‘briefing room’ standing in front of a chalkboard, which the camera will zoom into and show audiences animated chalk sketches, taped up newspaper articles, plans and designs. 

“When this project first came to us, all we had were the poems themselves and Richard’s voice-over recordings, Virgin gave us all the creative freedom we needed to tell that story,” says producer and director Adam Young. 

 “Immediately we zoned in on the word ‘plan’ in the opening line, so we figured to put Richard and Per in an environment that looks as though they’re preparing for the adventure ahead. We then populated the space around them with key designs and artwork, which we can apply whenever we need to visually tell the story for the wordier descriptions.” 

“It then freed things up for when Richard talks about the speed, the distance and all the rest, it doesn’t really lend itself well to a more literal form of animation, but it can be shown with an animated chalk sketch.” 

“Then he explains how balloonists had attempted the transatlantic crossing themselves, so the camera cranes down the chalkboard and reveals newspaper clippings of those guys before zooming back out to the wide shot. It’s also the first paramount thirty-something seconds, which reminds viewers of how we’re planning to tell this story and allows them to go with the flow whenever those techniques return later in the film.”

With younger audiences in mind, the Paper Sky Films team knew the important of creating an animated story that is constantly moving, colourful, aesthetically pleasing and fun to look at, with thrilling and energising music, as well as how the story is put on screen shot-by-shot. 

“I’ve always adhered to that classic storytelling advice, which is whether the audience can still follow a story without sound and captions; would the visuals on screen still get the information across to you and keep you interested?” Young continues. 

“Likewise if you were to hear this story just as an audio piece, would the voice-over, sound effects and music convey everything you need to know?”

Whilst those familiar with the story will know that Branson’s adventure wasn’t exactly a smooth flight, the hope is that the story will inspire audiences to not shy away from a wonderful and life-changing opportunity if it means simply learning along the way.  

“I hope it inspires you to say yes more often, and worry about the details later!” ~ Richard Branson. 

The next Paper Sky Films-produced animated short film for Richard Branson will be released on Monday, 14th of February. 

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DIRECTOR: Adam Young

PRODUCER: Adam Young




COMPOSER & SFX: John Curran

Genres: Animation, Storytelling

Categories: Travel, Airlines

Paper Sky Films, Tue, 08 Feb 2022 16:39:11 GMT