This is the first project where the whole team has worked from different locations. Never at one point were any of us in a room together. At times, it was more time consuming working this way, mainly in the sense of relaying information back to each other. Instead of moseying over to an animator’s desk to discuss an action or tweak, we needed to schedule a Zoom call and talk through the movements in front of camera. It was an adjustment to our usual way of working and trickier for producer Sami Goddard to project manage, making sure animators kept track of their schedules and compositors saw all the most up-to-date notes on the shot list.
Usually we’re all in the Aardman studio together but overall, it worked fine and it makes me feel excited to think that the future might consist of collaborations from people all around the world. Proximity needn’t limit us!
sound and music
The music was written and performed by Dan Millidge who composed the tracks for all previous Cats Protection films. We wanted this animation to feel part of the set and even though the visuals took a different direction, this would help tie all four films together. I loved the music to all the other films so he was the obvious choice. Dan hit it out of the park first time! There was almost nothing to tweak or adjust after his first pass.
Tom Joyce, the sound effects artist, used an excellent piece of kit I’ve never come across before, frame.io which allowed me to make comments directly into the programme alongside the animation at specific places. This way it was very clear what sound effects I was referring to in my notes. He could comment back and it was almost like being in the same room together. (Just wish I could type as quickly as I can talk!)
Holly Willoughby played Anna, the mum in our film and Alex Graydon played Daniel. Holly did the voice record at the ITV studios after a This Morning session and Alex equally recorded his lines from a London studio, keeping everyone at a safe distance and following the COVID-19 restrictions. Both were incredibly lovely and easy to direct via a Zoom video call.
As I said before, this was a quick project and small team. We were very limited with the amount of time we had on each shot and how many times we could go back into shots to finesse because of needing to complete all sixty-five shots in the scheduled time. I’m incredibly proud of the team who all worked so very hard to make it all come together and produce a short film that includes everything I hoped it would.
It feels very poignant making a film about the relationship between pets and their owners at a time when everyone is spending more time at home and thus with their pets. There has been a lot of loneliness this year and for some, their pets have been their only companions. More than ever, the bond between pet and owner is invaluable. If this film can help the microchipping numbers increase and more missing pets become reunited with their families, we will have succeeded.
our thanks to
Our thanks to Rasoul Hudda and Debbie Holt at Cats Protection.
Dave Connolly, Jane Davies, Emma Lazenby, Charlie Miller
Dan Blore, Andy Hague, Fernando Lechuga, Bram Ttwheam
Tracklay & Soundmix
about lucy izzard
Aardman Director Lucy Izzard has a style full of warmth, character, comedy and sensitivity. She worked with multiple animation companies over the years, Slinky Pictures, 12foot6, and ArthurCox, before joining Aardman in 2014.
Follow Lucy on Instagram here.