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Your Shot: This Beast of a Leftfield Promo Spans Three Decades via Animation



Riff Raff’s Ewan and Casey on their all-eating monster for new Leftfield / Sleaford Mods music video

Your Shot: This Beast of a Leftfield Promo Spans Three Decades via Animation

This new Leftfield promo features an all-encompassing, decapitating, greedy, gross, Pac-Man-style head that eats pretty much everything in its wake. Developed by Riff Raff directors Ewan and Casey, the film spans three wildly different animatic styles that evolve from ‘80s paper style, to stop motion and ending in a cosmic digital world. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with Ewan and Casey to find out how they pulled it off. 

LBB> It’s a pretty eclectic, out-there tune. How did you go about deciphering it to begin building a concept for the promo? How are the lyrics and film linked?

Ewan & Casey> It was exiting to hear some new music from Leftfield, especially as it was so out-there, a driving throb of bleeps and noises, accompanied by Jason from Sleaford Mods ranting about the detritus of modernity. It was pretty clear from the start a degree of subtlety wasn’t what was called for. The brief as far as I can remember was something about Finger Mouse saying "Fuck off”. With that as our benchmark, it went from there...

LBB> Tell us about this Pac Man style creature. What inspired him? What is he gobbling up?

E&C> It went through a few different stages, at one point being Jason’s disembodied head, then being William H Macy’s disembodied head (as Frank from the US version of Shameless), a few different computerised monster looks, but it finally came together during the model making of the stop motion puppet. The idea of the monster eating seemed to absolutely work with Jason's lyrics - or they do in hindsight. He's talking about consumerism amongst other things and eating is a clear way of depicting that. Gannet gannet gannet, gobble gobble gobble.

LBB> I love how the animation styles evolve along with the actual promo. Why did you decide to produce it that way and how do the differing styles compliment the final film?

E&C> We like a journey that transcends mediums, it feels all-encompassing and satisfying somehow. We've always been eclectic in our style, and as you pointed out earlier, the track is pretty eclectic so it felt like the right way to go.

LBB> Can you tell us about the three styles you’ve used and why you decided to work with them? It seems as though they evolve with the ages… old school paper animation, to stop motion, finishing with a more modern, digital style…

E&C> Yeah it's definitely an evolution through animations styles that we're fans off, especially all that great inventive ‘90s stuff such as MTV’s Liquid television, John Kricfalusi, Round the Bend etc. Thu Tran  was somebody we decided to use because Casey's a huge fan and her style is absolutely perfect. Originally we were thinking more hand puppet for the middle section but our two animating friends Leo and Natasha persuaded us otherwise. Thanks to their blind optimism and hard work we managed the stop-motion section. Luckily Nic and Nic from Smoke & Mirrors were huge Leftfield fans and if it wasn't for their love of the project I don't think we could have pulled off such a great climax to the video.

LBB> The transitions between styles are super slick. How tricky was it merging the different styles? How did you pull it off?

E&C> Thanks for saying they're super slick, I'm still not sure about that morph. They were kind of the last things decided upon as the story was edited down a few times. We just looked at where the different styles changed and then decided on a transition which fitted with the music at that point. It also felt right to get a morph in there as we're fond of a bit of morphing and it fitted the retro feel of the different animation styles.

LBB> How long was the project from start to finish?

E&C> Hard to say, about five weeks? But none of the animators were actually animating for that long and the different sections were slightly staggered. It probably would have been a bit healthier for everyone if it took a bit longer.

LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?

E&C> I don't know if any of it was tricky, not for the directors anyway. It was a lot of hard work for the animators who all put in a lot of hours and effort. Stop motion on a budget and short time scale is always tricky, and involved late nights in a sweaty DIY studio.

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Categories: Short films, Music video

Riff Raff Films, Wed, 12 Aug 2015 15:54:01 GMT