There are some situations in the mundane minutiae of everyday life that can make you want to scream: enough! From packing yourself onto a rush hour tube like a slithery sardine to those seemingly awful people that play their music way too loud on public transport. Everyone’s been in the situation where you’ve just missed the bus, weighed down like a donkey with shopping bags. Stop-motion animator Anna Malin Mantzaris, who has worked on projects including Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, has felt similar.
Sparked by Anna’s move to London to study at the RCA, these feelings of ‘enough’ became part of her everyday routine. Rising out of the mundanity of just fantasising about throwing your hands in the air and screaming, she started to think: what if we just went with what we really wanted to do? It was this which inspired the delightfully fed up yet freeing narrative of her award-winning stop-motion animation, aptly titled Enough.
Anna’s process with animation – specifically stop-motion in which she specialises – is naturally meticulous.“The project took about five to six months to make,” she tells It’s Nice That. “It started with the idea, and then I just brainstormed ideas for the different ‘moments’, wrote them down on post-it notes and tried to arrange them in different ways,” she explains of Enough’s beginnings. “I didn’t have any proper script for this particular project. After that, I did a storyboard that I also edited into a timeline, to know the length of each shot. I then reworked this a bit because I didn’t want the film to feel like it was cut off, I think it easily could. So, I tried to do a bit more of a soft beginning, then escalated it, and then in the last scene make it feel a bit more like its being brought back down.”
Following all this careful planning, Anna then began to make the puppets and sets. However, due to the time limiation, each puppet was made simply, “where only the eyebrows, eyes, and replacement moths could be animated.” she explains. “But I think this minimalistic style fits the story.” To enable continuity, Anna also had to reuse most of the puppets, buildings and cards, “in order o manage to have that many characters and environment,” she explains. “I switched around the buildings, and I changed clothes and hair on the puppets to make them look like new characters. If you look closely you can probably recognize some of the faces. The animation is quite time consuming as well, I tried to make between five to six seconds per day (125-150 pictures) but it varied a bit.”
Finding stop motion so satisfying due to its slow nature and the chance to work with her hands and different materials, Anna favours this labour-intensive technique over “sitting in front of a computer” all day. The need for practical solutions and problem solving also lend an ever-evolving process to work. No time for boredom there. As for which scenario in the animation Anna relates to the most? “Personally, I’ve always wanted to lie on the pavement and give up,” she laughs. Which makes two of us. Not that we’d recommend it IRL.