Imagine if your darkest secrets, long-harboured confessions or poignant childhood tales were played out in front of you, like a short film. What if you could call a number, spill your thoughts and relinquish them to someone else, who painstakingly visualises them for the world to see? Well, that’s the exact premise of Animation Hotline, a charming Brooklyn-born project from animation production house Dusty Studio.
Everyone and anyone is invited to call with their “new stories, poems, insights, questions, visions, quests, drunkalogues, lists, memories, passions, current events, opinions, secrets, truths, lies, or anything else you want to talk about in one minute or less,” says Dusty Studio.
Three stories are chosen each week from the submissions to be animated, and take the form usually of a moody monochrome etched style,though there’s some live action and collage in the mix, too. Leave your name, and you’ll be credited; if not, your missive will remain utterly anonymous. The content of the messages dictates the animation style, which is often a new or experimental technique for the creative behind it. “When we listen to the messages, there are no constraints in the initial brainstorming process – if we feel like the story is best delivered in pastel, or stop motion, or pixilation, or some new combination of different animation techniques, we go for it and see if it works. Working this way is great because it allows us to discover new techniques to use on future projects,” says Dusty Studio’s Melissa Ferrari.
Melissa reckons the strangest message they received was one in which “a woman was talking about how she was having an affair, but then the affair ended so she started hanging out with his wife. Now she’s become really close with the wife and thinks she’s falling in love with the wife.” Blimey.
Dusty Studio says: “Every message is listened to and then our small team decide which messages they were inspired by, which messages conjure specific imagery or possibly it is a current event that needs to be communicated. It’s really impossible to tell what works.”
You can see a few of our favourite films below.
About the Author
Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.