We spoke to Trevor Hardy, from PigBird about making The Happy Song video, his love of animation and a bit more about the process of taking on a project like this…
I first discovered my passion for animation way back in 1989 when I saw the first Wallace & Gromit adventure on TV. I loved it so much I knew this was something I wanted to do. My Dad is an artist and I guess I get my creative side from him. I have always drawn and love drawing!
We asked what he thought about how parents can help children to be creative…
I think creativity is innate, it’s a desire inside you, parents can facilitate creative activities, but some people are more drawn to it than others. It’s like playing an instrument, you need to want to learn to play it for yourself.
Personally, I am a bit of an old dinosaur! I animate using stop-motion. I could probably do some animation, 2-D by hand, but as far as CGI goes, no hope! I created and made a series of very short children’s animation that ran on Nick Jr. called Watermill Far. I have also made a stop-motion feature film called ‘STRIKE’.
How did you get involved with The Happy Song and what is your favourite bit?
Imogen Heap had written ‘The Happy Song’ and was looking for someone to put visuals to it. I approached her with my style of characters, design and set designs etc. and she loved it, so we went into production! I used animal characters because they’re universal and inclusive – and who doesn’t want to see a rabbit flying a helicopter? I like the ending where it pans out and the camera tracks back from the hills and reveals all the animals at the end, then I love the bit where the rabbit rides through the frame and dings his bell. I had to work out all of the timings for that so it ended perfectly in time with the ‘ding’ Imogen had used at the end of the song. I love the rabbit with his blue nose and buck teeth.
Tell us more about the process of making a video like The Happy Song
I could talk for a long time on this subject, because making something like this is very involved. But in a nutshell, the basic process always starts the same: An idea, this then moves into concept drawings and characters, environments etc. Then onto storyboards, from there into production: making puppets, sets, animation etc. Then finally into post production, editing, laying the music over the visuals then delivering the final finished video to Imogen and her team for approval. Three of us worked on the project, I built the puppets and the sets, and did all of the animation. Then Mark and his brother Frank did the editing and compositing it all together. The whole project took about two months.
What do you love about animation, and do you have any favourites or recommendations for families…
I love bringing characters, stories and world to love. It’s fantastic to watch something that starts as a germ of an idea, over months start to become a fleshed out character, loving in a world interacting with other characters. The never gets boring.
But working in a creative industry can be challenging, it’s uncertain work. I am very grateful to my brilliant wife Denise who is so supportive of me, which allows me me to do this job.
There are so many great animations, my favourites are…
- Iron Giant. It has such a lovely story and the relationship between the young boy and the robot is so charming.
- Disney’s 1962 Jungle Book is great, fantastic songs, great characters, really fun and stunning animation
- Pixar’s ‘UP’ is delightful, again the relationship between the old boy and young lad is a joy to watch.
- Fantastic Mr Fox
- Triplets of Belleville
There are so many. And of course, my feature film, ‘STRIKE’ a family belter from start to finish.
Thank you so much to Trevor for sharing his knowledge and time to give us a better idea about how this all works, and our family have had such enjoyment from the song and video.