This is my first attempt at an animated video. I storyboarded it in my head, painted the backdrops and drew the action figures, Jessie learned how to operate the camera, helped me with the framing, printed out the various head shots, did the editing and of course played the demanding role of the girlfriend in the story despite her reservations about wardrobe. I used two different types of animation. One is the use of jointed figures moved one frame at a time, much like the television work of Oliver Postgate whose charming stories (Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine) kept my entire generation quiet for five minutes at a time during the 60s. The other is separate drawings changing position for each frame. This second method was time consuming as I would have to cut out as many as 60 figures with a scalpel for a sequence lasting five seconds. This entailed a lot of swearing and one visit to A&E (aka emergency room).
At times, in the interests of perspective I combined the two techniques into one movement for instance when a character has to move deeper into the background. It's not hard to spot the transition. To keep the lighting as consistent as possible we could only shoot at night, so we would be up until 4am each morning.
The story was inspired by a real life incident in November when Jessie's twin brother came to visit. The three of us plus a friend of ours went on the ghost train on Palace Pier and it got stuck halfway through the ride, something I've always wanted to experience. Disappointingly, the lights came on immediately and we weren't there ten minutes before a grumbling technician led us to safety by a side door, but the fictional potential of the situation was so stimulating that I was almost reluctant to collect my refund. I've always been drawn to ghost trains and the like and have invariably found them a let-down. The video is partly a depiction of what the experience should be like (give or take the odd violent assault of course). The homages include "Nosferatu", "Son of Kong" and Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" and the pathetic stuffed spider (it was Jessie's idea to have it frighten the gorilla) is my concession to real-life ghost trains.