It’s pretty rare that a piece of work really makes you laugh out loud, however, our first (and every subsequent) viewing of illustrator and animator Laura Jayne Hodkin’s Haley and Joanna had us in stitches. Although depicting an essentially mundane conversation between friends, Laura’s ability to comedically spotlight moments creates a weird but altogether relatable short that pokes fun at and celebrates female friendship.
Currently working towards her master’s in animation at the Royal College Art – having completed her undergraduate studies at Edinburgh College of Art – the project was born from a two week lip sync workshop at the RCA. Laura decided to embody the voice of Haley Blais and Joanna Spicer who together produce Friday Night In, a podcast in which they talk about boy, dating, work and life. “I had a lot of fun making this, so I asked the girls if I could use more of their audio to make a much longer piece. These girls are hilarious and I just loved the way they talked to each other in such an open and comfortable way because it reminded me of my own friendships,” Laura recalls.
The short opens by throwing you in to the middle of a discussion between the pair. Starting with one night stands and their qualms regarding “dirty dirty boys” entering the “sanctuary” that is their apartments. From here, the conversation flows to how they approach boys, which beer they like and the magical moment when you take your bra off. Although ending on a somewhat surreal note, Haley and Joanna is an altogether honest representation of friendship: “I wanted to portray their friendship in a funny and unapologetically crude way,” Laura adds.
Despite her minimal use of lines, Laura translates subtle emotions through crops and timing. Focussing mainly on the two characters, Laura’s depiction of their setting complete with hairbrushes full of hair and potted cacti provides the finishing touches in creating a believable moment. “I collect a lot of vintage, kitschy ornaments and toys,” she explains, “so I think I’m generally attracted to anything bright and silly-looking.”
The illustration of women is something that crops up again and again in the animator’s portfolio. “I love to draw girls,” she remarks, “so working projects where funny female characters are at the forefront is something I want to keep doing. I’d love to focus my next film on female sexuality and girls loving girls and make it quite cute and silly and dreamy with 10 times the amount of boobs flying everywhere.”
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