Best of Stash 2020: Character Design
Pandemic or not, and no matter the genre or tone of the project – in 2020 characters remained the single most reliable way to ensure an audience’s emotional engagement with your work.
Including music videos, brand films, advertising, and short films, this selection of seven motion projects provides a wonderful glimpse into just how rich and diverse the state of character craft remained this year.
All films were published in The Stash Permanent Collection during 2020 and are listed here in chronological order by the date of publication.
ERSTE GROUP BANK “#HANNABUMBLEBEE”
After opening the holiday tear faucet last year with Henry Hedgehog’s “First Christmas” (Stash 133), Passion Animation directors Kyra & Constantin are back with another fuzzy and lovable CG cast for Erste Group Bank thru agency Jung von Matt/DONAU.
Kyra & Constantin: “What we like most about the story is that it’s about a girl who shows the world that you should never give up even if the way is sometimes not clear.”
“H O R S E”
Director/animator AJ Jefferies in Norwich, UK: “I had the idea a while ago of a horse struggling to actually be a horse.
“It’s extremely silly but it stuck in my head and kept making me laugh whenever I thought about it, so I figured I should make it into this film.”
YT “IZZO: FAST, AGILE, SHARP”
Director Wesley Louis at The Line in London: “YT Industries approached us to make an anime-style action sequence with a modern samurai facing off against three demons.
“The initial challenge was trying to fit our narrative inside a minute. Telling the story of a hero overcoming three demons with distinctive shapes and abilities while giving each character ample screen time, making sure we don’t get lost in the action or wear out the viewer. Just saying it is a mouthful!”
INNOSENT IN FORMAL “JUNKIE’S NEVER ENOUGH”
Director Kota Yamaji in Tokyo: “INNOSENT in FORMAL is a rock band from Tokyo. The unique point of this band is that they are represented as 2D cartoon characters like Gorillaz. I tried to convert them into 3D.
“The band also collaborate with FR2, a Tokyo fashion brand. The clothing they wear in this music video is designed by FR2.”
PLUS DEVICE “OUR PLEASURES”
Director/animator Richard Lord in Seattle: “This was a self Initiated project. I contacted Plus Device early on and showed them what I was thinking. They were into it.
“I experimented for a while on what the skin of the creatures should look like. Making it look right at all the different scales was a challenge.”
Thomas Schmid, group creative director at BUCK in Los Angeles: “The goal was to create a brand film for Mailchimp that celebrates all the small business owners who are going through a particularly difficult and distracting time because of the pandemic.
“The initial brief focused on the idea of portraiture as a method to showcase these amazing and unique people that make up the Mailchimp community. We strived to develop a style of portraiture that felt realistic and authentic but also absurd — and pulling that balancing act off was the real challenge.”
Since graduating from the UK’s National Film & Television School in 2019, Greek director/designer Fokion Xenos has watched his ambitious MA graduation film “Heatwave” selected for 137 film festivals, winning 20+ awards along the way.
Fokion Xenos: “[‘Heatwave’ is a] playful stop motion short film animated in a hybrid technique between cut out, claymation, and thousands of replacements pieces.”