Zombie bus drivers, alien abductions, Kraken rising from the depths and luring mere mortals to their deaths – no matter how bad the start to your week is going, it’s definitely not as catastrophic as for the inhabitants of Eric Power’s latest animation. Commissioned by musician Jeremy Messersmith for his track Monday, You’re Not So Bad, Eric’s paper stop-frame animation shows the Monday morning commute of a particularly upbeat citizen, who bounces along full of fuzzy feelings despite the chaos erupting all around him.
The animation took Eric a little over a month to create, with two of those weeks spent cutting out all of the paper pieces. Unlike when working on his own films or on full-length features, Eric started the animation process without a storyboard, making notes on shots rather than fleshing out full sequences. “This is also in part due to my fast turnaround requirements on gigs like these,” explains Eric. “Music video work for me generally doesn’t pay as well as other stuff (like ads), so I have to work fast and hard. Luckily, the song and Jeremy’s concept immediately gelled with my own sensibilities. It ended up being a real joy.”
Eric decided early on that he wanted the film to be the most colourful and fun apocalypse imaginable, drawing on a huge colour palette for the paper props. After shooting each frame via a mounted camera, Eric brought everything into the computer for editing and compositing. It’s a time-consuming process, but one where Eric’s efforts are overtly obvious to the viewer.
Earlier on in his career, Eric worked more on the digital side of animation but when he discovered paper stop motion everything changed for him. “I have always been remiss that I am not a skilful drawer – I love hand drawn animation so much, but I lack the skills,” says Eric. “With paper animation I found a medium that just seems to work with the way my brain functions. The way the characters are created is a layering process.” Eric never sketches character concepts ahead of time, instead he starts cutting straight away, with the different personalities emerging out of his snips. “It’s the tactile nature of the work that draws me the most. I like to feel the raw materials and to work with my hands. I also don’t like to stare at a computer too long.”
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