Animation from development to production


17th May 2017

Animation from development to production

In this series of blogs I’m going to bring you through the thought process and practicalities of developing and creating our short ‘The Totally Normal, Everyday Adventures of Slaps and Sandbags’ that we created for the RTE Animated Shorts Scheme 2016
● Week 01 Idea
● Week 02 Development/Script
● Week 03 Pre- Production
● Week 04 Production/Post

Week 01 The Idea
It was that time of year when every street light and shop window in Dublin had a flyer for a different circus attached to it and I decided to bring my daughter to see one for the first time.
Whilst she enjoyed the show while eating an enormous candy floss, I couldn't help but think, if I had run away as a kid would I have joined the circus? The answer was a resounding, ‘NO!’ Just looking at the acrobats, dancers and clowns performing non stop was too much for me and that
got me thinking,

‘What kind of person joins the circus?

’ Which led to ‘What if you had no choice?

What if you were born into the circus?

And what if you were born into the circus, that meant you had circus features, a clown was born with a red nose and big feet?’
I kept that thought mulling around in my head and decided to do some sketches of circus characters to try formalize something in my head. Three characters started to take shape; a clown, a strongman and his living moustache.

Ideation, Character Design

Any time someone in Treehouse has an idea for a short or a series, the process is to ask them to flesh out that idea to at least a written paragraph and submit it to the 'Treehouse Vault’; a place where we keep all our ideas for when we feel the urge to create something new and

I wanted to submit this idea, but It needed to be fleshed out if I wanted a buy in from the team. So I cleaned up my concept images, gave the characters names and started to flesh out ideas for motivation and bios for them.

Character Design, Clowns

I started to lean towards the idea that these guys are born into the circus life, but wanted to be part of the normal world. They went through many names but in the end I settled on Slaps, Sandbag and Tash. Theses are the original premise and bios that I submitted to the vault.

The grass was always greener in the ‘norms’ world to best friends Slaps, Sandbag and Tash. Yearning for a normal life, they said goodbye to the circus and rented an apartment in Beetsville to try and fit in.

Slaps – Slaps has had enough with people laughing at him and wants to make it in the normsworld. He perceives himself as a graceful mix of Shakespeare and Baryshnikov, but he was born a clown, and as clowns are, he is naturally clumsy and idiotic. This doesn’t help as he also believes that he understands the norms, but nothing could be further from the truth. Always opting for the obscure 'long way round' to get something done, he usually ends up messing up even the simplest of tasks. He tries to fit in by wearing ‘norm’ clothes but it’s hard to blend when
you’re born with a honking red nose and giant feet.

Sandbag - As the circus animal trainer, Sandbag, has huge respect and love for all of the earth’s wondrous creatures, and likes to keep his furry friends close to hand. It wouldn’t be surprising to find a lion in the cereal cupboard, a monkey in the laundry or even a giraffe in your bed. As a child his father left him in charge of the family moustache and Sandbag treats it like one of his beloved animals, bringing it with him everywhere he goes. When Slaps declares a madcap scheme, he will happily follow along with the caper.
Tash – Tash comes from a long family line of prestigious moustaches. From Teddy Roosevelt’s famous face-fur all the way down to Hulk Hogan's bleached lip rug. Tash wants to live up to his lineage and become a famous moustache in his own right, always trying to be the centre of attention, he will push Sandbag to the extremes when it comes to being in the spotlight.

The premise for the original story was just a short paragraph- 'Slaps, Sandbag and Tash decide to bring their friends to the local cinema to see ''The Fifth Elephant'' - the latest action sci-fi blockbuster to hit Beetsvile. After Slaps sneaks 20 clowns inside in his tiny car and Sandbag feeds popcorn to a horse till it becomes violently sick they get thrown out. Now they have to get back in before the coveted after credits scene rolls! So there my idea sat in the vault, under the working name - ''Cirque Du Chumps''. At the next meeting, (to decide what was getting developed) I would present it to the room and see if it was worth taking further and putting Treehouse resources into it's development. Once it got the goahead from the team, we began development stage, which I’ll go through next week.