Fred's Night Out is my 2nd Year Animated (2D/Live action) Film which was completed in late 2019 to create a connectable character whilst reflecting on the impact we have to our urban wildlife. This story is about Fred, a vagabond suicidal fox who decides to crash an urban party where he meets the Vixen of his dreams.
Fred's journey started out as a small idea in my notebook based on a personal run in with a dead fox on my way to University. The whole purpose of the film is to create a connection between the audience and this peculiar character who is depressed with his life and has only one final shot at love.
It was the first time I was creating animation with live action backgrounds, using a mix of 2D elements and photo collage to make the 2D animated characters blend into their new world, enough for it to seem believable.
The Design of Fred is far from practical, but his shape and colour made him seem rough around the edges and a bit beaten down compared to Vicci who is clean and smooth with a bit of a spark in her step. Fred's goofy demeanour makes him lovable and also quite an interesting character to animate, especially once you get past the logic of his odd hat. The other characters in his world also have some quirky personalities to them.
Above were some of the first tests and designs that ended up in both the Pitch and Production Bible as I first started to test out the colours and level of anthropomorphism that would be applied to these characters. Would they stand like humans or keep more animal qualities in movement and expression. This early development also focused on how much of the background needed lighting and shading for the characters to fit into their monochrome landscape.
Roughly through the stages of the Animatic to the Final Film majority of the shots lined up to the initial plan of production. There were retakes and changes in photography and editing to get the backgrounds to work best for the flow of the story, but eventually after a few photo shoots in London's cold winds the live action shots started to pay off. One of the most difficult scenes to record was the garden as there were so many characters that had to be tracked and the background was composed of photos stills (and not any footage). It became a task to make the camera movements look believable enough as seen in the final film.
Fred's Night Out has been screened in over 11 Events/Festivals around the world in the first few months of release, featured in both comedy and about changing perspectives categories. Hopefully Fred will continue his journey to inspire and bring some change to the way people treat their noisy neighbours of the night and be more aware on how they drive in their local areas.