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Work / Animation

Animator Frances Haszard’s gender neutral breakup story

For Julien Dyne’s track Hours, animator Frances Haszard has created a music video that takes place in the incoherent mind of somebody post-breakup. “Like when you lose someone you love and get stuck in memories on loop and every mundane object seems to be a trigger for some memory,” explains Frances. The video began as a series of illustration she created while listening to the song. “I wanted to push some of the lyrics to be really literal in some parts and in others I drifted away,” says New Zealand-born Frances.

Using everyday objects and moments interspersed with less abstract imagery, Frances morphs one scene into the next in a rhythmic flurry of melty colour. The video’s hazy aesthetic has been achieved using TVPaint, a software that allowed Frances to layer blocks of colour until it made an image she liked. The process was then repeated, playing around with different shapes to make interesting compositions. “I feel like my style is always changing, even within videos and within shots. Maybe thats it, when a simple picture or illustration becomes so many versions of itself that it looks like many things at once,” says Frances.

The biggest challenge for the animator was trying to tell a “classic breakup story without adding a lot of crazy gender bias”. Sticking to the obvious, antiquated tropes didn’t sit well with Frances: “With this version, I ended up making the characters deliberately gender neutral and it’s strange – people don’t seem to even notice that the element of gender is missing. Although I guess it helps that there are heaps of other things going on,” she says.

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Frances Haszard: Hours, Julien Dyne (still)

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Frances Haszard: Hours, Julien Dyne (still)

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Frances Haszard: Hours, Julien Dyne (still)

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Frances Haszard: Hours, Julien Dyne (still)