The Story Comes to Life…

It’s been an exciting start to the year on the Our Man in the Moone project as we’ve now seen some of the ideas of BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation students, from Hereford College of Arts (HCA), brought to life in a draft animation of the story.

Students came along to some of the wonderful story sessions that international teller of tales Ben Haggarty did for community groups in Leominster and Bosbury before Christmas. It was lovely to meet people at Bosbury School, ECHO, a fun group for people with learning disabilities; Leominster Meeting Centre, where elders, people with dementia and their carers come together and the Marches Family Network, a group for young people with learning difficulties.

The HCA students were inspired by Ben’s performances of The Man in the Moone, complete with dramatic sound effects from a gong, Swanee whistle and conch shell – it’s amazing to hear his masterly way of bringing the almost 400-year-old story to life. After each session, audience members were given a chance to draw or write their responses onto feedback postcards and HCA students are incorporating some of these into the animation, giving the imagery a unique local flavour.

One of the interesting things we’ve learned about how animation comes together is how the story and narration need to be adapted for this medium. The original book, The Man in the Moone by Bishop Francis Godwin, is quite a complex adventure tale that takes place over many years and across the globe and galaxy. Animation takes a long time to make and involves multiple pictures per second of finished film: the key moments of story need to be joined smoothly so that the animation makes sense. We’ve found that clever use of visuals can replace spoken words in a different way to the live performances we have already done, for example using quickly-turning hands on a clock-face can illustrate the passing of time.

Locally based musician Anthony Murphy is on board too, to provide a soundtrack that works with the story, animation and narration. We will share more as the project progresses.

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