Have you ever seen these zany characters named Michelle, Moss and Major?
CITV in the UK hired Westley Wood, creator of the ArmatureFX armature kits in our store to produce 24 animated stop motion shorts. Each one follows three snails in a variety of silly situations. The good news is that they may be expanding into longer and bigger films in the very near future.
The puppets are expertly made by MacKinnon and Saunders, a team who seems to make every puppet across the big pond in the UK. We hope to learn more about the project from Wes soon and if we do we'll update our news article here. But for now let's watch a few shorts and then you can visit the projects web site and Facebook page below.
To visit the official site (you can only watch the videos in the UK) go here. Or to "Like" their Facebook page go here. It includes videos as well as many images.
Westley answered our questions about Compost Corner today, below are our questions and his answers. Thanks Wes!
- Who came up with the idea for Compost Corner?
Compost Corner was developed by Wes Wood and Tim Dann - we stumbled upon the idea whilst laughing about things you would never hear snails say to each other like "sorry I'm late'. This quickly developed into the two characters we now know as Major and Moss, but have been recently joined by a whole bunch of other bug friends.
- What audience do the short films set out to attract?
The show is written for a children's audience (4 - 8 years) but there is plenty of humor in their to make Mum and Dad laugh too. We write the show based on the theory that if it makes us laugh then it will other people laugh - the idea that Snails can pass wind is endlessly humorous, a detail we like to play on!
- What is the over-all theme of the stories the project sets out to tell?
The over all theme concentrates on the plights of Snails around the garden - normally the theme will be set by CITV (the children channel). We have recently completed 8 new episodes with the Olympic games as the theme - although our sports are called 'Garden Games'. We completed others that focus on winter/valentines etc.
- Why did you choose stop motion as the means to tell your stories?
As an ex employee of Cosgrove Hall and Mackinnon and Saunders it would be rude not to do it in Stop Motion - after all it is my passion! Seriously speaking - stop motion has a real quality about it and people identify with that - especially kids. Plus, having worked for Mackinnon and Saunders on various projects I was looking for an excuse to go back as a client and let them make their magic on my ideas - which was an absolute dream come true.
- What was the biggest hurdle getting the project off the ground?
Money. There's no hiding the fact that the UK market for kids production is tight and big budgets are hard to come by. I'm lucky as I'm staff at ITV and I managed to persuade my channel executive to invest a small amount in Compost Corner. I spoke to the guys at Mackinnon and Saunders and they done me a great deal on producing Major and Moss which left me enough change to buy a camera (cannon 450d), software (Dragonframe) and pay an animator for 4 weeks (Tim Collings) to bring it to life. Everything else I begged stole and borrowed (big thanks to Chris Bowden at Mackinnon and Saunders for endlessly allowing me to borrow bits and pieces from their studios and let me raid their skip).
- What are the future plans for Compost Corner and can people outside the UK view it any time soon on TV?
The dream is to make Compost Corner into a global property and sell to different territories around the world. ITV and CITV have been pleased with what we have produced so far and together we are looking at ways to make the show bigger - so watch this space!